President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian and, it’s fair to say, global leader, appeared on the front cover of many Western newspapers and magazines after his country underwent a full-scale invasion. He addressed many parliaments and international bodies, urging the West to help stop Russia and its war crimes. Bizarrely enough, one commentator seemed to think that his wardrobe was the more concerning issue.
You see, while addressing Congress on March 16th, Zelensky wore a casual army-green shirt. He is sticking to this uniform of a green shirt and sometimes a green zip-up jacket while briefing fellow Ukrainians about the ongoing situation and often while speaking to foreign governments.
Peter Schiff, an American stock broker, radio personality, and chief economist at Euro Pacific Capital, tweeted: “I understand times are hard, but doesn’t the President of the #Ukraine own a suit?”
Mr. Schiff should have followed Zelensky’s pre-war fashion choices more closely to see the elegant, well-cut suits the Ukrainian president used to wear when meeting Western leaders, diplomats, and government officials.
Mr. Schiff, who only won 23% of the vote when he sought the Republican nomination for a Connecticut Senate seat, expanded on his rant by writing: “I don’t have much respect for current members of the U.S. Congress either, but I still wouldn’t address them wearing a t-shirt. I wouldn’t want to disrespect the institution or the Unites [sic] States.”
LittlePinkTop isn’t sure where the “Unites” States are to be found, or where “the Ukraine” is — it’s just “Ukraine,” because it’s an independent, democratic country, not a region of a larger body.
I understand times are hard, but doesn't the President of the #Ukraine own a suit? I don't have much respect for current members of the U.S. Congress either, but I still wouldn't address them wearing a t-shirt. I wouldn't want to disrespect the institution or the Unites States.— Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) March 16, 2022
Many Twitter users pointed out the absurdity of Schiff’s tweet. “The guy is in the middle of a war zone ducking mortars, Peter, he’s not going to be rolling around his garment rack with him,” said one of the replies. “You’re totally right. Between the shelling of his capital, escaping assassination attempts, and attacks against civilians all across his country, he really should’ve been ironing a suit to address Congress,” another Twitter user sarcastically stated.
But Mr. Schiff was on a roll, digging himself deeper, grumbling: “It’s not about impressing anyone. It’s just common respect. He is representing his nation, and addressing the U.S. Congress. It’s not like his [sic] in the battle field personally, and can’t bother to put on a suit. He can just reach into the same closet he keeps his t-shirts.” He went even further, saying that if Zelensky was “speaking live from a foxhole I would agree.”
Zelensky, by the way, has posted videos from the heavily bombed and targeted capital, Kyiv, in addition to evading multiple assassination attempts by contract killers. And yet, even while Ukraine is under Russian military invasion, Mr. Schiff has out-of-touch fashion critiques. Wouldn’t it be insulting to the Ukrainian people, who might not have running water, gas, and even food due to the widespread destruction of their cities, if their president appeared all groomed and dressed up?
As Mr. Schiff engaged (or spiraled) further, he wrote: “He can wear shorts if they don’t show on camera. But at least dress from the waist up.”
Here’s some better fashion advice: Stay genuine. Your look might be a signal and a way to show people how you feel and what you are going through. And personally, I think that Zelensky’s “Congress look” is more appropriate than inappropriate. It’s a political statement in itself. While writing this article, I’m wearing a yellow H&M sweater over a navy A-line dress from Uniqlo. This is my fashion statement, even if that’s not good enough for a failed Republican candidate from Connecticut.
Comedian Bill Maher’s summary of Zelensky makes a lot more sense: “Finally, America has a president everybody loves with a sky-high approval rating. It’s the president of #Ukraine. But still.”