Leave Rep. Jared Polis Aloooone, everyone!

People have been taking the Colorado Democrat to task because he likes to wear polo shirts with bow ties with vests with jackets, all while on television. Which, when you put it like that, sounds sort of bad. On Thursday he wore an ensemble that looked like this.

 

Here’s his famous bow-tie-polo combo that inspired GQ to offer him fashion advice.

 

“Fashion,” Oscar Wilde said, “is what one wears oneself. What is unfashionable is what other people wear.”

It looks as though Polis subscribes to that maxim. That maxim, not the other Maxim, which might include clothing tips.

When it comes to fashion, he marches to the beat of his own drummer. And his wardrobe looks like what might happen if you listened to a drummer’s fashion advice.

No, I’m sorry, this was supposed to be a defense of his wardrobe. And it is! I know GQ offered their Fashion Emergency Assistance, and that probably somewhere an ambulance is unloading people with mouths full of pins and arms full of narrow neckties (or wide neckties? honestly, I could not tell you) and twill and measuring tapes and pressed shirts, and maybe the next time we see him the Colorado Democrat will look fit to guest-star on House of Cards.

This strikes me as a shame. I want more people who look like Real America standing up on C-SPAN, and he looks like the segment of Real America that I belong to, the segment that explains all our outfits by saying, “I lost a bet.”

The trick to fashion is looking as though you have put on whatever you are wearing on purpose. This is harder than it looks. I have not mastered it. I always look as though I got dressed by mistake. And I like seeing someone else with the same problem holding forth on the House floor in an exuberant bow tie.

There are people who dress well by instinct, people who dress like slobs and people somewhere in between. Then there are the walking catastrophes. These are the people who care but fail. They know fashion — when they see it on other people. But they fall short every time they get dressed. The shambling assemblers of these shambolic ensembles know in theory that Bold Prints are IN this fall, so they arrive at their places of work looking like an explosion in a zebra factory. I salute them. I am one of them. The only times I am actually able to assemble anything that resembles a fashionable outfit is twice a year, on laundry days, when anything clean becomes fair game and a certain ingenuity is required.

The fashion-impaired need a voice in Congress. Wear what you want, sir. Don’t mind the naysayers.

A great deal of style, Wilde also said, depends upon the way the chin is worn.

Hold yours up, sir!

Alternatively, my colleague Jonathan Capehart has some suggestions.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.