Carhartt-loving Senator-elect John Fetterman wore a suit and tie to his first day in Congress

In 2020, then-Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman confirmed on Twitter that he owns exactly one suit: a simple two-button suit with lapels and a blue tie, which he allegedly bought at a big and tall store near Braddock, the town where he lives and once served as mayor. A progressive Democrat known for his tattooed, goatee, six-foot-eight physique and almost exclusively wearing Carhartt hoodies, Fetterman joked that he really only produces the suit for “special occasions like Legal Weed,🤩, Halloween pictures with Lurch – theme🙄 , + so they let me into the PA Senate. ☹️” According an article from 2019 from the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, Fetterman’s “only suit” usually lives on a coat rack in his office.

(“If they’d let me, I’d totally preside over the Senate in shorts 🩳💯,” he added in the Twitter responses. “Damn you Senate dress code. 😆”)

Now, as his state’s senator-elect, Fetterman added another special occasion to the list this week: briefing new members at the United States Capitol, where decorum still rules that men wear suits on the Senate floor. On Tuesday morning, he brought out what appears to be the same suit, albeit with a slightly different blue tie, for his first day in Washington. “Wearing a suit doesn’t make me smarter,” as Fetterman himself once said– but that will likely include his new day-to-day uniform after he is sworn in in January.

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Fetterman’s deeply normal wardrobe has weathered his political success before – he sat for his official government portrait wearing a gray, short-sleeved Dickies work shirt, and he’s in Carhartt on and off the campaign trail. All of this serves a broader argument: as Rachel Tashjian wrote to GQ back in 2020, Fetterman manages to carry the brand as both its populist creators intended, and its newer aesthetically-minded customer base of art dealers and skateboarders interprets it. He often wears basketball shorts, even in winter. (On election night last week, Fetterman’s three young children all joined him on stage in hoodies and shorts).appears owning a pair of side-zip Margiela boots, and there’s plenty of flair elsewhere in his life too: his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, is a vintage lover with a lovely personal style, and Fetterman’s family home is a former Chevy car dealership that they converted into a funky red brick loft. We accommodate all crowds.

It would also be correct to point out that John Fetterman simply … dresses as many people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere do every day. But that’s also partly what makes him an interesting—and even by some accounts, victorious– figure to have in Washington, where stalwart politicians rarely do something that many Americans do every day. There is much to ponder elsewhere, including here about fashion’s ongoing obsession with normcore and workwear, how those in power view the working class, and the still tacky political act of “rolling up your shirt sleeves” and ditches tape. (IN a medium post last year, Fetterman said that he “[lacks] rolling up the political metaphorical sleeves—all I ever wear are short-sleeved work shirts because hard work is the only way to rebuild our society.”) But meanwhile, in Washington, it fits.

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