The Best- and Worst-Dressed Leaders in the World, Continued: Part Three
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Brazil
The boss of Brazil has good style for a guy verging on portly, and he demonstrates that tailoring can counter many physical shortcomings. His beard works for him, camouflaging an incipient secondary chin and giving him a paternal aura. His three-button jackets work to reduce the impression of his gut and give him verticality and, wisely, he rarely unbuttons. He has natty tendencies; we can tell from his ties and fine semi-sheer hosiery. He dresses wealthy but his is the "Worker's Party." He understands that being presidential means speaking everyone's language and appealing to both wings of politics. I think that must be why he parts his hair in the middle.
I know they have a Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda, but I prefer to think of the Emperor as the head of state. The Prime Minister looks pretty much like any other salaryman. The emperor, however, looks pretty darn imperial. And if you think about Akihito and, say, Prince Charles, there is a lesson to be learned. Maybe all countries should have two heads of state. One of them should be responsible for things such as taste. I'd feel comfortable if the architects had to answer to a man like the 125th occupant of the Chrysanthemum throne.
He is a man of taste and knowledge. Compare his sihouette and trouser break to that of the American Vice President.
Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan
If you think that clothes don't make the man, or the head of state, think about this: Recently opposition leaders in Pakistan have offered to accept another term in office for President Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, if he is willing to be inaugurated in civilian clothes. The fact is that Mr. Musharraf looks so much better in civvies that if he's smart he'll just avoid uniforms altogether, although he might, like President Bush, put on a flight jacket once in a while. He looks very professional and confident in a suit. Hey, if I were introduced to him as a urologist, I wouldn't hesitate to let him stick his finger up my butt. Whereas in uniform, well, he looks a bit like a headmaster, kind of uptight.
Look at Mr. Pakistan among his peers, enjoying himself here in a striped shirt and sky-blue sport jacket.
Just the kind of guy you'd enjoy across the high rollers table in Vegas. Civvies are obviously good for the guy's head. See, you can change.
Than Shwe, Myanmar
Talk about change. No wonder things are so uptight in what we used to call Burma. Look at the head of the military government.
If you ask me, the problem is the uniform itself. It gives a guy ideas. I know it's not easy to go cold turkey when it comes to the gold braid, but maybe he could lose some of the "fruit salad" on his chest and switch to a nice, soft beret or a snappy baseball cap with scrambled eggs on the brim. He might find less flaming effigies around Yangoon.
Related: "Vladimir Putin Would Like His Shirt Back," by Glenn O'Brien