This week, while politics has resembled something akin to The Real Housewives franchise, I’ve been far more concerned about the horror show that is their outfits.

Politicians' dress isn’t just a personal statement; it’s an ideological one. Look at Ron DeSantis. As the Florida governor was sworn in for his second term this week, he donned a crisp blue suit and slicked-back hair, complimenting the dresses of his daughters Madison and Mamie. His four-year-old son, Mason, looked immaculate in a matching suit. Some say shoving a blazer on a child this young is vulgar. I disagree. Mrs. DeSantis’s...

This week, while politics has resembled something akin to The Real Housewives franchise, I’ve been far more concerned about the horror show that is their outfits.

Politicians’ dress isn’t just a personal statement; it’s an ideological one. Look at Ron DeSantis. As the Florida governor was sworn in for his second term this week, he donned a crisp blue suit and slicked-back hair, complimenting the dresses of his daughters Madison and Mamie. His four-year-old son, Mason, looked immaculate in a matching suit. Some say shoving a blazer on a child this young is vulgar. I disagree. Mrs. DeSantis’s mint-green cape dress was chic. The whole family’s sartorial elegance oozed American conservatism. Even if you don’t know their politics, you know what the DeSantis family are all about from the first glance.

Contrast that with John Fetterman. While the newly sworn-in senator for Pennsylvania may be understandably less concerned about his attire as he recovers from a stroke, there’s no denying how shoddy he looks. In fairness, he did make more of an effort than usual when he was sworn in as a senator, donning a suit rather than his standard garb of hoodie and shorts. But he really needn’t have bothered. Fetterman’s wild unkemptness is similar to that of Boris Johnson’s, but at least the shaggy blonde mop of the former British prime minister has a certain element of charm.

I’m not asking for sharp-edged fashion. As Oscar Wilde said, fashion is ephemeral. But what politicians lack these days is poise. Think of John F. Kennedy who transformed the presidential style while still respecting tradition. Tailored shorts, preppy V-necks and skinny ties were all against the grain, but he managed to pull them off by winking at his predecessors. Although I’m sure his devastating good looks and big pockets helped. (Disclaimer: I am not related to JFK.)

In Britain, we have our fair share of badly dressed MPs. Jeremy Corbyn, the ex-Labour leader, comes to mind when thinking about the worst-dressed ones to walk the House of Commons. Untucked shirts, horrid tracksuits with trainers and, gasp, not even bothering to wear a tie. His fashion was more of a political statement. I am a normal man. I get the train. I am just like your dad! A far cry from the message the conservative frontbenchers want to portray. Jacob Rees-Mogg’s double-breasted suits and round frame glasses reflect the importance he places on tradition.

Then there are the wannabes. Roger Stone, the political consultant and lobbyist, often comes to mind when you mention political fashionistas. I appreciate the effort, and while I must admit the seersucker and sunglasses combination does play to my love of high Americana, there is something weirdly inauthentic about his choices. Have you ever seen a Brit playing up his Britishness abroad? Stone often looks like he’s in an amateur production of P.G. Wodehouse, about to walk up to an unsuspecting foreigner shouting “Oiiii fancy a cuppa oiii do!”

It’s not just politicians. Conservative fashion as a whole has turned more caricaturish through the years. As menswear expert Derek Guy writes, “much of conservative aesthetics is now clownery.” Look at Jordan Peterson, the psychologist-turned-culture-warrior who has recently shown off some really scandalous suits, including a “Twitter suit” with Elon Musk’s face plastered all over the tie. People like Peterson see themselves as following in the sartorial footsteps of “real men” that came before them — the ones who wore dark gray suits with medium lapels — but they miss the mark. Their trad grownup aesthetic is exaggerated to make a point, but the result is that they often look like children cosplaying as men.

Fashions change, but not always for the better. As for most politicians, it’s a shame they’ve swapped out morning suits for shiny Trumpian numbers and ties so red they could wind up a bull.