“The truth is, generally I look very sharp in jeans.” – Barack Obama, 2014.
While the statement wasn’t one of then-President Obama’s most important pronouncements during his time in office, it was one of the most questionable, from a truth perspective. Said to Ryan Seacrest during a radio interview in March of 2014, it was a response to Obama’s critics, those who mocked his denimwear, which, according to years of photographic evidence, leaned toward ill-fitting, stone-washed, and extremely “Dad”-like.
He again wore jeans on Tuesday, this time while on vacation with his family in Bali, Indonesia. The look was a definite upgrade, but the jury’s still out as to whether jeans are, or should be, his thing.
“There was one episode like four years ago, in which I was wearing some loose jeans, mainly because I was out on the pitcher’s mound and I didn’t want to feel confined while I was pitching,” Obama told Seacrest during that same conversation. The sartorial moment, which occurred in 2009, stuck with him. “I’ve paid my penance for that [look.] I got whacked pretty good. Since that time, my jeans fit very well.” But, do they? Here’s a look back; decide for yourself:
Here’s the pitch in July 2009 that earned him the title of Dad jeans king:
In May of that year, cheering on the sidelines of one of his daughter’s soccer games, things weren’t much better. The super-wide leg, the monotone wash, the awkward length…hi, Dad.
The following year, vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, the jeans were better in the wash department – more of a gray denim – but the pairing of them with mandals brought the overall score down. Way down.
But sometime around 2013, he turned a corner. With Malia in Hawaii in July of that year, here’s the then-president stepping up his demin game. The fit is tighter, the wash darker, the shoe far more acceptable.
He finished his presidency with no more headline-grabbing jeans debacles, and reemerged in March of this year a new (denim) man. Here he is in DC in March, after a visit to a museum with Michelle Obama. Leather jacket, T-shirt, button-down, good belt, tight jeans. Who is this guy, and what have you done with Barack Obama?
Which brings us to yesterday. The collared, short-sleeved shirt, tucked neatly into the waistband, the telltale sneakers – it all still says “Dad,” but in a far more stylish way. He’s embraced a dark wash and he’s acknowledged that legs have shape.