Flat White

Malcolm’s suit

24 September 2018

5:02 PM

24 September 2018

5:02 PM

The first thing I noticed was Malcolm’s suit.

Immaculately dressed at those daily pre-coup press conferences most days he seemed to be wearing a blue woollen suit with a thin dark blue check.

Like the man himself, the cut was contemporary and expensive and probably somewhere overseas. What could possibly go wrong with this leadership ballot?

Then he lost the job and went to New York and the media stalked him and pointed out the nanny shopping trolley as a symbol of diminished power and humiliation though he really looked like someone committed to the capitalist project.

When the new guy – Scott – did his tour of the Queensland drought regions to shore up that vote the first thing they noticed was the hat. Instead of the obviously never-worn-before brand new Akubra of Malcolm’s he wore an old baseball cap to signify his authenticity.

Then later they saw Scott in a yellow rugby jersey supporting Jersey Day and it felt like he was a man of the people and this was reassuring. Scott’s jersey shows that he gets it when it comes to political fashions.

A well-dressed media were right onto it – some praised Scott for his fashion nous while others pined for old Malcolm and the brown leather jacket that used to make personal appearances on Q&A.

When Peter Dutton ran for the leadership he got a new buzz cut – this was a mistake as it made him look more Terminator than family guy. If only he had asked a passing journalist.


On the Insiders a photo of dumped foreign minister Julie Bishop was highlighted as an example of the Boys Club that is diplomacy when Angela Merkel or Theresa May are accidentally out of shot. The men are all in dark suits and Julie is wearing bright red pumps like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

I’m not superficial but I once wrote an article about former Democrats leader senator Natasha Stott-Despoja and how I didn’t like many of her political views. But what I really didn’t like were the Doc Martens boots she used to wear in parliament as I thought they were pretentious.

Back in the nineties, I was once irritated by senator Mal Colston – not for being a Labor rat or corrupt but because of his ill-fitting Fletcher Jones suits that gave people the unfortunate impression he was fat.

In America, the land of the free they are currently led by a spray-tanned billionaire in an expensive blue Brioni suit. Based on current media KPIs, if he applies these same aesthetic principles to the car industry he loves then Detroit is doomed (unless Detroit is already dead) and it will all move to China.

Note to the US correspondent: Obama always rocked a presidential suit better than the current incumbent. Hillary was never going to win with a white pantsuit agenda. Some women are turned-on by Bernie Sanders’s dishevelled neo-socialist look because it reminds Madonna of Jeremy Corbyn.

In the UK potential future, prime minister Boris Johnson wears a crumpled Armani suit and his hair looks like a badly fitted blond Beatle mop top. Many people like him for these visual inadequacies, as he seems like one of us or at least not like one of them.

In Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks like a perfect Ken Doll with his impeccable grey suits, quirky woke socks and $15,000 IWC Regulateur watch and many of the media like him, as he seems like one of them and not one of us.

There’s a Boris sex dossier doing the rounds of Westminster at the moment which aims to destroy his leadership ambitions though based on the evidence to date all the named women seem extremely well-dressed.

The 2018 World Democracy Perception Index showed that politics is going out of fashion. Fifty-four per cent of those living in democracies feeling they have no voice. Sixty-four per cent don’t believe their government acts in their interest.

The other 40 per cent are just looking forward to the new summer range.

A Centre for Independent Studies wool blend says fashion-conscious Australian millennials all love socialism and think democracy and free speech isn’t such a big deal anyway. Then some talking head in a smart suit says retro is the thing arguing it isn’t like the good old days when politics weren’t so superficial.

Here are some non-superficial fashion statements from the good old days that helped the media make our minds up: Cheryl’s boa, Julia’s knitting, Tony’s speedos, men in blue ties.

Did anyone else notice Blair Cottrell’s tie?

A few weeks back when the former United Patriot Front’s leader was everywhere on television except at Southern Cross Station talking about the Jews? The neo-Nazi bodybuilder may be notorious for his views but really it’s the ill-fitted tie and suit he should be worried about as it makes his neck look fat and disorganised, like Herman Goering on the really strong stuff.

Michael Scammell is a freelance writer

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