At least it’s easy to surmise that, since Esquire magazine has just named Pope Francis their “Best-Dressed Man” for 2013.
According to Max Berlinger writing for the magazine,
Pope Francis’s sartorial decisions have subtly signaled a new era (and for many, renewed hope) for the Catholic Church.
The magazine seems to focus on insignificant externals—but then, it’s Esquire! What did you expect? Berlinger quotes Mark-Evan Blackman, assistant professor of menswear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, who says of Pope Francis’ humble, low-key choices:
“I remember when John Paul II was buried in those opulent bright red shoes. When the current pope was elected and chose not to wear the red shoes I thought that was very reflective of his approach to being a person functioning in a role.”
Esquire notes the symbolic gestures: paying his own hotel bill when he moved into the Vatican, after the Conclave; washing the feet of prisoners; and the black shoes… yes, of course, the black shoes.
Mary Lisa Gavenas, author of The Fairchild Encyclopedia of Menswear, said of the new Best-Dressed Guy,
“Pope Francis understands that menswear is meant to express the character of the man wearing the clothes. No rapper-style popewear for him.”
Time out here for a chuckle at the mental image of Pope Benedict tricked out in “rapper-style popewear”—but there you go.
“This Holy Roman Emperor,” says Ann Pellegrini, Associate Professor of Performance Studies & Religious Studies at New York University, “really does have new clothes.”
Read the rest of Esquire’s article here.
And my earlier article, featuring all the magazines which have featured Francis’ smiling face on the cover, here.