… Adolf Hitler
Welcome to this, the first in a series of posts examining the formal wear (and especially morning wear obv) of famous individuals. It may seem a bit odd to start with Hitler of all people – a man renowned more for his facial hair than for his sartorial style, but seeing as he is always the elephant in the room, it is best to get him out the way first and make everyone feel more comfortable.
For Hitler, formal wear seems to have been a bit like Poland, or facts – somewhat of an inconvenience. Indeed, there are very few pictures of him wearing it. He appears to have much preferred the comfort of his ill fitting uniforms festooned with row upon row of military honors and decorations he’d made up for himself and his sorry band of like minded cronies. For this reason, among others, he is not to be liked. Nonetheless, we will take a grudging look at some of his outfits – just to see if he made a better job of them than he did of conquering the free world.
Hitler virtually never wore morning dress. His marriage to Eva Braun took place in a concrete bunker just minutes after he had dictated his last will and testament, and mere days before he finally shot himself. Consequently, it was hardly a cause for much celebration. Likewise, one cannot imagine a man like Hitler enjoying himself at the races while there was still work to be done perfecting this or that invasion plan. However, his incomprehensible appointment as Chancellor by the senile Hindenburg in 1933 was one such occasion when nothing else would do.
All in all it’s a bit standard – black one button peaked lapel morning coat, black single breasted waistcoat, white shirt with turn down collar, basic four-in-hand tie, normal cashmere striped trousers. He is wearing a waistcoat slip though – which adds a little bit of excitement. Here’s what it looks like in profile:
It’s ok, but it lacks imagination for want of a better word. Even the rent a diplomat man in the back left is wearing a better outfit.
Now, Hitler should excel at evening dress as it requires virtually no imagination, just an ability to follow instructions to get it right. It’s also the uniform of choice when watching exceptionally long german operas – one of Hitler’s favorite hobbies. Again though, pictures of him wearing it are as rare as hen’s teeth. Let’s have a look at what we’ve got to play with:
Apart from standing like a farmer, he doesn’t look too bad – at least his waistcoat doesn’t protrude beneath the jacket. He loses points, however, for being unable to resist the ample twin lures of enamel badges and self awarded medals.
This is not too bad either. Although it is clearly the same coat as before it seems to fit him better and he even has a good half inch of shirt protruding at the cuff. It’s also nice to see something a bit different, such as wearing a black waistcoat instead of white – a truly rare occurrence. His trousers, however, are a bit baggy for my liking and reflect an unfortunate trend in the late 1930s and early 40s of widening formal trouser widths…
All in all, Hitler is a bit of a disappointment in terms of formal wear. For a man in his position one would of thought the opportunities for wearing it must have been more than numerous. His continual plumping for boorish and inelegant military attire over the supreme elegance of men’s formal wear speaks of someone more interested in impressing people than looking good. For this reason, and others, Hitler won’t be winning any of our coveted ‘best dressed men in history’ awards any time soon!