Who wears the power sweater vest better? Democrats or Republicans?

  • Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker sports a sweater vest at a campaign event in 2018.

    Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker sports a sweater vest at a campaign event in 2018. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, keeps warm with his sweater vest at a rally Monday.

    Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, keeps warm with his sweater vest at a rally Monday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 11/7/2021 10:38 AM

During his Virginia gubernatorial campaign, Republican Glenn Youngkin's red sweater vest became a sartorial celebrity.

Media from The New York Times to Politico to Rolling Stone referenced the comfy attire Youngkin donned at rallies.

 

Now after winning an upset victory over former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, there's much ado about whether Youngkin's Virginia playbook will work in other states including Illinois when the 2022 midterm elections arrive.

Politics aside, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is no novice at the sweater vest game. Although typically adorned in a business suit, Pritzker has his own version of the power sweater vest that's appeared at a number of events.

What's the significance of sweater vests?

Harper College's Nupur Sharma thinks that "sweater vests are the underdogs of the fashion world."

The garment emerged during the Great Depression as a cheaper alternative to waistcoats, explained Sharma, an associate professor of fashion studies.

As other fashion trends emerged, people started associating it with an older, avuncular person, she noted.

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Sweater vests did get a boost in the show "Friends," from the quirky character Chandler Bing, who often sported them.

"Chandler was a lovable loser that everyone could relate to," Sharma said. "He wasn't hoity-toity."

That cozy chic not only conveys a down-to-earth, approachable kindliness you don't get by wearing an Armani suit, it's also accessible, she noted. "Sweater vests are made by Old Navy," as well as pricier brands.

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