The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Congress is about to say goodbye to the world’s leading ambassador for madras jackets

Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) is set to retire at the end of this year, after serving in Congress for nearly 30 years. The North Carolina delegation remembered his career on the House floor last night by making the worst fashion decisions of their lives.

As you might have guessed from the blinding array of blazers above, Howard Coble is known for his collection of madras jackets.

He wears madras while talking to constituents.

He wears madras while talking on the phone.

He wears madras while singing bluegrass.

He wears madras while winning lifetime achievement awards.

He wears madras while talking to soldiers with impressive facial hair from the American Revolution.

And he wears madras while his colleagues wear madras and say nice things about him.

According to Rep. Richard Hudson's (R-N.C.) speech on Wednesday, Coble is known for making other fashion statements.

"Howard's not only been known for his colorful jackets," he said. "When he first came to town, Howard Coble was known for his many colorful suspenders. In fact, I don't know how many colors he had, but it was well-known that he would always have his bright colorful suspenders on. Next, he became well-known for wearing distinctive hats. In fact, in the 90s, Tim Russert used to refer to Howard Coble as the man with the hat. Then it was Tim Russert's son, Luke, who first noticed the madras jacket a few years ago, and he actually put on his Twitter account," that the jacket looked like an "exploding turtle."

Hudson had his political fashion history a bit off. Russert did appear to be the first person to tweet about the madras jacket...

...but Dave Weigel gets credit for the best description of said jackets, according to a press release that Coble's office sent out about the tweet, which as far as we can tell actually happened and isn't just an election-induced hallucination. Again, can't be certain on that.

A local newspaper in his district suggested at the time that Coble "donate the Exploding Turtle blazer to the Greensboro Historical Museum. Let the Washington media elite laugh. Greensboro gets it."

However, as Will Cubbison pointed out on Twitter, North Carolina has found the perfect legislative replacement to keep their sartorial cred intact: new Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.).

Or, as Coble introduced her, "the legislative lady with the hat."