Why Donald Trump’s White-Tie Outfit Looked So Wrong During His UK Visit

Donald Trump is currently Trumping around the UK, which means we all need to be on high alert for a couple of reasons. First off, he might feel like no one’s paying enough attention to him and spark an international incident by telling the Queen that his murderous buddy Kim Jong Un makes a better cup of tea than any English person ever could. (Hopefully not, but it doesn’t seem unlikely enough to make me feel better.) Second, we’ve got to keep an eye on those clothes.

In the United States, Trump has a relatively basic uniform of baggy suits and mind-bogglingly huge khakis. In the UK, the guy has to try new things. Like fish and chips? Well, probably, if someone can convince him they came from McDonald’s. And white-tie formalwear? Absolutely. The Brits—well, the royal ones—love white tie. And Big Donnie Trumpo donned some himself last night. The results were confusing:


Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, and Melania Trump attend a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on June 3, 2019 in London, England.

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No one in that photo looks even a little bit happy. And I think I know why: Donald Trump’s outfit. It just isn’t right…right? It’s not easy to put your finger on the exact cause of the problem, but you don’t need to know the ins and outs of white tie to know that something is not right with this situation.

Some folks have surmised that it must be the jacket. It’s too short, which is allowing that bizarrely enormous swath of white vest to sit below it. But I’m pretty sure that’s not actually the issue here. To understand the actual cause of the cognitive dissonance, you just have to remember the way Trump treats a tie, and then consider the role of the vest itself in this whole affair.

As a refresher, not that you need it: Trump’s ties are way too damn long, reaching well past his waist. You can’t do that with a bow tie. But you can make a vest that’s too long, and probably for the same reason as the ties: vanity, and the mistaken belief that a longer-than-average element around the belly distracts from Trump’s girth.

The jacket is, indeed, short. It’s supposed to be. The problem is simply that the vest is too long. Need proof? Just look to—and I can’t believe I’m about to say this—Steve Mnuchin, who got it right:


Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and United States Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, arrive through the East Gallery for a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on June 3, 2019 in London, England.

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Short jacket? Check. Short vest? Also check. That’s the crucial differentiator. That’s why Trump’s whole outfit looks ridiculous. And when you’re losing in a game of style to Steve Mnuchin, it’s time to reevaluate your choices.

Donald, get a new vest. Maybe head to Savile Row. It’s right there in London, and the heart of England’s generations-old tailoring tradition. The folks there might even be able to tell you what size clothing you should wear. Because it’s pretty clear you have no idea.