It’s summer. We can say we are right at the high point of summer, and the heat troubles us all.
However, apart from the torrid days, which I personally see as being natural for this season, and from all the “red codes for heat” followed by the inevitable tornados that not only the weather but especially local politics has gotten us used to regardless of season, during this period we all feel and are more easy going, more relaxed and more in “holiday mode.”
Summer is a pleasant season long awaited by most of us. This is reflected best primarily in the clothing we wear regardless of the time of day, of the social, private or professional context we are in.
On the streets, in shops, at work, at the seaside or wherever you are looking, there is an explosion of colourful outfits, a veritable parade of electrifying and impressive outfits among ladies, young ladies and gentlemen alike. Crowds with skin tanned to different intensity, finally, a veritable human agitation with strong tropical tones that automatically make one think about the sun, the sea, wellness, joy and time for rest. Political surprises could not be absent from this idyllic, exotic and hot summer landscape.
After all, politicians, regardless of the importance of their hierarchical position in the state, are first of all human too, right? With good and bad, with dress or aesthetic tastes more or less refined and adapted to the title, image and official label we got used to include them in or label them with.
And when the country’s president himself adopts an entirely special outfit, extremely casual and exciting through the very novel note it brings to an official context, well, we can say Romanian summers can sometimes be interesting from the standpoint of politics. At least in outfit nuances, textures and inspiration.
Up until last week, when it came to vestimentary tastes and appearances less in line with the customs and framework that protocol imposed for the head of state and the first lady, Carmen Iohannis was the member of the presidential couple that managed to stir huge waves of opinions for and against her outfit and presence under the limelight of the local and international stage.
Her appearances were analysed in close detail and with a huge amount of arguments more elitist and refined… or not. The correct length that the dresses of the president’s wife should have had in public appearances, the glazing and floral prints in excessively “sweet and bitter” nuances showcased by her evening outfits during official meetings abroad, the short sleeve during the cold season or the uncertain colour of a pair of shoes uninspiringly matched with the rest of the clothing items worn during the president’s swearing-in ceremony, represented just as many arguments and topics of national gossip that generated for Carmen Iohannis a not very optimistic image when it comes to good taste, aesthetics and outfit elegance that the wife of the head of state is supposed to have.
But, the other days, while on an official visit to the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base, President Klaus Iohannis managed, through his entirely impressive appearance and outfit, not only to lift by a few degrees the temperature in the Romanians’ mental thermometers but also to eliminate some of the low points that his wife had scored for the presidential image.
Based on the entirely official presence and the unmistakable attitude of complete protocol pushed to the limit of radicalness and rigidity with which the Head of State has gotten us accustomed, his surprising appearance in this type of extremely summer-like and non-conformist outfit automatically inflamed the press’s imagination, but especially the imagination of Romanians. Not to mention that of ladies and young ladies, starting off with first lady Carmen Iohannis who, discretely but extremely suggestively, gave the President, on Facebook, a like and a touching little heart.
The president’s image, sporting a pair of glasses whose model is already consecrated among the world’s heads of state, but also among the heroes of Hollywood films, wearing a blue-navy jacket with shirt and pants made out of soft materials in white nuances, with an enviable physical tonus and an almost martial air, well framed and synchronised with the location and its occupants, rapidly circulated in virtual and media circles, sparking an avalanche of feedbacks and opinions one more appreciative and colourful than the other and, last but not least, full of malicious-admirative humour that is so typical of Romanians.
Tom Cruise, Arnold Schwarzenegger, President Barack Obama, James Bond, etc., were only some of the characters associated with Klaus Iohannis’s image in torrents of memes titled in extremely suggestive styles and manners, delighting the Romanian public opinion.
And since where there’s a positive hero there always has to be a negative one too, to better turn to good account his opponent, none other than Liviu Dragnea appeared, as obviously and as predictably as possible, among all characters with whom Klaus Iohannis was overlapped and compared. This Darth Vader of Romania. The bad guy of the moment or the presidential Freudian shadow. As it were, ‘like this YES! – Klaus Iohannis’ vs. ‘like this NO! – Liviu Dragnea’. From the standpoint of outfit, image, action and anything else.
However, whether we like it or not, we must admit – Klaus Iohannis is a different president for Romania. A president whose personality, presence and imposing appearance leave no room for too many doubtful connotations in what concerns the position he holds in the state’s political hierarchy.
Regardless of time and place. And the “politically correct” attitude that the President imposes in any circumstance, whether it is a working visit at the height of a scorching hot summer, wearing an extremely light outfit devoid of any form of dress protocol usual for a head of state, can only bring an added bonus to his image.
And, no matter how hot and enervating this summer might be, the first gentle breeze marking a discrete start to the campaign for the future presidential elections scheduled 2 years from now is already being felt in Romania’s atmosphere.
With a good PR and with all the imperturbable perseverance and tenacity that Klaus Iohannis has proven so far, regardless of the eternal and implacable moods and positive or negative vetoes of the voting public and the press, the chances of prolonging his stay at Cotroceni for five more years are rising like the degrees in thermometers.
Finally, since I kept referring to the presidential PR and image that can be cultivated in the most positive way possible, I would have a single problem to raise in regard to last week’s appearance and outfit: etiquette and protocol in what concerns men’s outfits, especially in the case of high state officials and of public appearances, expressly emphasise that when wearing a short-sleeve shirt the jacket becomes a useless clothing item. If not even… inappropriate. And the shoes, regardless of the fashion trend of the day or the originality of the wearer’s personal tastes, must mandatorily match and be automatically harmonised with the colours and destination that the outfit imposes. Hence, a pair of white, cream-coloured or at most navy-blue shoes would have ensured an outstanding outfit and an impeccable image for the president.