While it isn’t unusual for college graduates of all ages to sport their colors in all sorts of ways, wearing your politics might seem a bit out of the ordinary.
“In menswear, the college tie has always been used as a secret signal in interview settings or at large business gatherings,” said Michael Londrigan, a menswear expert and dean of academic affairs at LIM College in New York. “It showed that you belonged to the same club. In this instance, with motifs in the lining, it is not as overt, because they can be hidden or shown depending on the audience.”
At 69, Percilla is just old enough that he doesn’t really care who knows his political affiliation.
“If you want to have a social life in South Georgia, you have to lower your standard and have Republican friends,” he quipped recently.
“Maybe because I’m old, but the alternative is appalling,” Percilla said. “It seems the worst of the high school student council is now running for office.”
For now, Londrigan said, flashing your jacket liner could help you decide if perhaps another date is in order. That, of course, would depend on whom you’re dating and which jacket lining you happen to be sporting at the time.
You might never know with Dr. Tom Bat of Atlanta. He liked the linings so much, he bought them both.
“Considering the last year of political commentary, it was easy to add these fun linings to my wardrobe,” Bat said. “The satirical nature adds fun to all the choices we have in our free and open society. The presidential primary season and endless debates, from Trumpisms to socialism, certainly adds color to our daily routines.”
Yet at the moment, it seems such an unpredictable race that neither the ardent Trump nor Clinton supporter wants to sartorially back a losing horse, so apart from the obligatory elephant and donkey motifs on tees and totes, Hallay doesn’t think we’ll be seeing Hillary supporters donning what is becoming the Democratic candidate’s signature outfit (a prettier version of the iconic Chairman Mao suit), nor many Grand Old Partygoers opting for the bleach blonde backcomb of their party’s leader.
“However, once the race is won, I think we’ll see fashion extremism no matter who the victor,” she said. “Dems will embrace a more natural look, with loose linens, soft palettes, and ethnic touches that speak to the global environment. And for Republicans, the ‘80s might very well ride again, with a focus on wealth, opulence, oversize, and a return to primary colors (no political movie pun intended!).”
Bat said that Balani first suggested a jacket of half donkeys and half elephants.
“His was a great idea I wish I had followed,” Bat said. “He has a great sense of style and reads the upcoming political circus well.”
And while not limited to politics, the linings are a good conversation piece.
HKT has sold close to 30 jackets with the party linings — $195 over and above the cost of a custom-made jacket — since they were introduced eight months ago.
Customers, he said, run the gamut — from doctors and attorneys like Bat and Percilla, to company CEOs, CFOs and well-heeled real estate agents.
Both Bat, medical director of North Atlanta Primary Care, and Percilla wear their jackets pretty regularly.
“I find frequent use of the jackets as I advocate for physician and patient rights in our increasing government-controlled health care system,” Bat said. “With a nephew at Georgetown, I’m in D.C. often and find time to interface with our congressional leaders. The jackets help open up political dialogue with those who represent us. The kids love them, too, as do my colleagues.”
Asked which party he supports, Bat said he prefers to vote for individuals rather than a party.
“We are lucky in America to have a free choice, and I will wear my jacket to the polls … be it an elephant or donkey.”
Londrigan said that in today’s competitive fashion industry, retailers, designers and brands are always looking for a marketing opportunity.