What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing if you’re Donald Trump.
Yes, Donald Trump is actually making good on one of his campaign promises-make America white male again. Trump’s all star, all boys club administration plucked from the corporate powers and wealthy elite has a nice retro feel to it. Perfect for locker room banter.
If they are confirmed by the senate Trumps 4 top Cabinet officials will all be white men.
So gals, no reason to worry your pretty little heads trying to figure out that big old scary economy, or foreign affairs. You can rest assured that Americas will be in safe hands ( albeit tiny) under Donald Trump’s all boys club.
And the power will stay that way.
In fact as Rachel Maddow pointed out, the line of succession to the presidency which includes the speaker of the house and the senate president pro tempore, is sure as shootin’ shaping up to consist of 12 white men.
Kind of like a jury pool from Jim Crow Alabama.
This shouldn’t come as any surprise. When the Trump campaign released its economic Advisory Council this past summer it was not just short on economists, it was woefully short on women.
Yes sirree, no cake-baking, curtain-making, dress-hemming girls here! The only diversity among this exclusive group of skirt chasers was in the different spellings of the 6 Steve’s – Stephen/Steven and Steve.
In Trump’s retro based desire to make America Great Again, he seems to hearken back to a less than swell time when the all boys club was the norm in business, politics and pretty much everything else.
Dress For Success
Once upon a time dress for success came in men’s size only. Looks like Donald Trump still shop at that vintage store.
But of course that’s about as dated a notion as this series of illustrations of mid-century power brokers from Esquire magazine from 1949. A guide to the gentleman executive or Men of Affairs as they are referred to, on how to best present yourself for the big day – “A critical interview, a meeting of the board, a stop in at the White House, a trip to Europe or Eureka Kansas to close a big deal.”
It is a picture perfect, privileged world of power brokers inhabited only by men- and white men at that- offering a blueprint for top executives for successful dressing.
Today it offers a field guide to a species some fear may one day become extinct.
Masters of the Universe
These “Masters of the Universe” who inhabited the musky world of corporations, government and finance are an homage to mid-century masculinity, the idealized world Trump would like us to return to.
A testosterone driven time when business affairs were conducted in a rarefied world of Club Cars on the Twentieth Century. Boarding the Clipper. Stepping out of a cab in front of a Wall Street address known around the globe. Catching the Congressional Limited. Meeting in a paneled board room 50 stories above Manhattan.
Deals among the brotherhood of businessmen were made, “Relaxing over a cocktail at the Ritz, the Recess Club, the Raquet Club, the Bel Aire, the Bohemian Club and a dozen other spots where a white martini or a dry Old fashioned smooth business into the blend of creative venture and far-flung cooperation that American men have turned into a science and even a hobby.”
A rarefied world a world where women were relegated to taking dictation and fetching coffee.
Men of Affairs: Financier:
“This gentleman with a seat on the Exchange ( where incidentally, he may not sit down at all) knows well that to be a financial pillar of the nation he must, like the Doric pillars behind him, reflect a certain restrained dignity. His custom preferences: luxurious dark blue cashmere double chested overcoat with lapels softly rolled; the executive flair of the Homburg, silk foulard imported muffler, striped blue flannel suit.”
Men of Affairs: Diplomat
By tradition the diplomat is a mental athlete, a tactician, an accomplished gentleman who must pursue his purposes with flawless savoir faire and good taste. He asks as much of his traditional garb, the formal clothes which may excuse his occasional verbal informality: His Oxford grey jacket is a three button single chested model with peaked lapels worn over striped trousers. The pearl grey, double chested waistcoat and small patterned tie are distinguished touches.
The black Homburg is the accepted head-piece. Grey mocha gloves and black shoes are de rigueur, as they say at the Embassy in between sips of the champagne and munches on the caviar.
Men of Affairs: Coast to Coast
His offices touching on the two oceans with branches midway between, our man has learned to fly thousands of miles as casually as he once traveled across town, and to keep his feet on the ground while reaching decisions with his head in the air.
His role is modern, demanding, his appearance at the airport must be 100% perfect the minute they feather the props. His own props: double chested cashmere coat cut along easy lines, its bold look brought out by the hand stitching set back from the edges considered by many men to be essential for transcontinental travel. With it a fine checked Angola suit. The hand sewn pigskin gloves are soft and rugged type specially indicated for ravel. His hat is handkerchief felt of course: and as the hostess on the plane watches him, maybe, she sighs.
“You see these American men of Affairs everywhere you look, including your own mirror,” the guide explains.
And if you are Donald Trump then the mirror you look into is a retro fitted… one that only looks backwards.
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© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.