“Well, I just don’t think she has a presidential look, and you need a presidential look.”
— Donald Trump, Sept. 6
Trump is not wrong that Hillary Clinton does not have That Presidential Look. She is, after all, female, something that no prior president has had the misfortune to be.
And if there is one sort of content that women need more of, it is an article about how to look a certain way. So here is a quick guide to getting That Presidential Look.
To Get This Look: Lose all but one of your teeth. Replace them with an elaborate contraption containing hippopotamus ivory, brass screws and human teeth so that you look slightly uncomfortable at all times. To complete the outfit, steal Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s neckwear.
To Get This Look: Do a bad job of describing Princess Leia’s hairstyle to your hairdresser. Watch forlornly but uncomplainingly as he completely fails to achieve it. Make the face of a sad cat that has just been turned into a human being and doesn’t know what to make of the change. Take no care of your body.
To Get This Look: Be a wealthy plantation owner. Imagine the kind of simple clothing that you think a member of the Common People might wear, then wear that all the time. (Otherwise known as a “reverse Trump.”)
To Get This Look: Forget to sleep for four days. Dress up, halfheartedly, as a vampire. When asked to pose, think about people who annoy you and children who have done some nonsense.
To Get This Look: Have one of those faces where everyone thinks they know you from somewhere, but it turns out they’re thinking of Billy Eichner or Liam Neeson or the guy playing the bland president on “Scandal.”
John Quincy Adams
To Get This Look: Have a little hair on your face, but not on the right parts of your face. If people mistake you for a Dickens Schoolmaster, Fatcat Banker Who Has Just Seen A Major Investment Go Horribly Awry, or Old Man Who Just Wants To Take His Nap, you are nailing it.
To Get This Look: Someone just to the left of the portrait painter has just told you disturbing news, but you cannot do anything about it until the painter finishes. Also, you have just been mildly electrocuted.
Accessorize with your best curtain.
Older Andrew Jackson
DON’T GET THIS LOOK! THIS LOOK IS NO GOOD!
Martin Van Buren
To Get This Look: Ask your stylist, “What if I were a bowling pin, but with hair?”
“Do you want your ears to be visible at all?”
William Henry Harrison
To Get This Look: Brush all your hair in the wrong direction. Become a disembodied head.
To Get This Look: Tell your stylist, “Worried schoolmaster on a British TV show” or “a man who goes a-courting and sits in the corner, too nervous to speak, then gets back on his horse and rides off without saying a word of his errand.” Alternatively, put Martin Van Buren in the dryer for too long.
James K. Polk
To Get This Look: Develop the haunted, empty eyes of a man whose signature look has somehow become a mullet-turtleneck combo.
To Get This Look: Glue some straw to your head and spend the next twenty years drinking grain alcohol in blistering sunlight.
To Get This Look: Gain just a little more weight than required to audition for the role of the “Batman” villain Penguin, but not quite enough to play that Baron Harkonnen guy from “Dune.” Then own it.
To Get This Look: Spend hours painstakingly curling your hair, then walk out into a rainstorm. Don’t do anything to fix it.
To Get This Look: Don’t. James Buchanan doesn’t look like a Kewpie Doll. Kewpie Dolls look like James Buchanan. This hair is the second-worst thing that James Buchanan just sat back and allowed to happen, after the Civil War.
To Get This Look: Never sleep, ever. Look like you have forgotten the meaning of the word sleep. Grow a beard, but the wrong beard.
To Get This Look: Have mean, beady little eyes. Get an unflattering bowl cut that is exactly wrong for your face and let it grow out to a length that is even worse.
Ulysses S. Grant
To Get This Look: Drink continuously all throughout the Civil War. Do not stop drinking when the war ends. Why bother shaving your neck beard? It always grows back, anyhow. Start buttoning your vest, then stop. What’s the point? What’s the point of anything?
Rutherford B. Hayes
To Get This Look: Remember that someone once said that a beard would be a good look for you, but forget anything he said to you afterward about the importance of beard care. Let a bird sleep there.
To Get This Look: Remember that someone once said that a beard would be a good look for you, and remember some of the things he said to you afterward about the importance of beard care.
To Get This Look: Fully. Commit.
“Chester,” his friends asked, “don’t you think it’s a little much to pull off? The sideburns, the fur coat, the mustache, the ring?”
“How dare you even ask that question of someone who has pulled off being named Chester for years?” he shot back.
To Get This Look: Ask your stylist, “What if Joseph Stalin were a concerned family doctor?”
To Get This Look: Moisturize less.
To Get This Look: “Okay,” the people behind William McKinley asked, “what if we made Sam the Eagle human? Would it be horrifyingly weird-looking or would we elect it president?”
“Only one way to find out.”
To Get This Look: Go to the beach. Take a picture of a walrus. Find an unscrupulous plastic surgeon, give him the picture, and tell him, “Do your best.” Dress the result up as a ludicrous dandy.
William Howard Taft
Get This Look: Eat an entire ham. Now another ham. You’re doing great! Just 83 more hams to go!
Get This Look: Suck a lemon. Oh no, nothing is all right. Nothing will ever be all right again.
To Get This Look: Draw dark eyebrows on a sinister hypnotist, then live in an era when people had confused ideas about what an attractive man looked like.
To Get This Look: “What do you want your aesthetic to say?”
“I want to leave this party now. Please do not try to talk to me.”
Get This Look: Try to look calm and reassuring, like a grown-up Gerber Baby who definitely is not PANICKING about the Great Depression.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
To Get This Look: Demand “that classic Abraham Lincoln saggy eye.” Accept no substitute.
Get This Look: First, announce that you have the nuclear bomb. Then, ask whether anyone thinks your glasses are right for your face.
Get This Look: PUT ON A BROWN SUIT AND STOP CARING.
John F. Kennedy
To Get This Look: These seemingly effortless good looks are actually the result of a tragic wager against the Prince of Darkness. For one brief shining moment, you will think you have won the wager, and during that time you will not need to worry about your hair or face at any time; they will just look flawless on their own.
Get This Look: Take some of the hair from your head and transplant it into and around your ears.
Get This Look: Sweat constantly and profusely. Sleep badly.
Get This Look: Perfect the smile of someone just now getting a joke that was told half an hour ago.
To Get This Look: As you get dressed each morning, repeat the mantra, “It is important that people who look at my pictures be able to tell from my hair and clothes that it is the ’70s.”
To Get This Look: Strive to be camera-ready at all times, with the result that people who see you in the flesh find you prematurely orange and slightly melted-looking.
George H.W. Bush
To Get This Look: Two words: “Tootsie glasses.”
To Get This Look: One hyphenated word: blow-dryer. Also, whenever about to go jogging, cut six to eight inches off your shorts.
George W. Bush
To Get This Look: Acquire a perpetual squint as though trying to read text just a bit too far away for comfort. Hunch slightly.
To Get This Look: Enter office comparatively young and spry. Then try running this place for eight years.