Political leaders make a personal style statement with their choice of clothes and colours

With the politicians taking centrestage, their sartorial sense is also under focus. We have come a long way from the rosy days of Jawaharlal Nehru and the effortless style of Indira Gandhi.

There has always been a rush to identify with the aam aadmi and as a result in the country of colours, the politicians are often seen in white with very little contrast to offer. But it does make the politician of the world’s largest democracy boring.

When the sun sets and the politicians run to television studios, they leave the whites behind. Designer Raghavendra Rathore holds that with the “richness and the diversity of our culture”, a modern politician in India has far more advantages in sensibly selecting his or her “politico wardrobe”, than his or her Western counterpart.


Among the three aspirants for the top post in the public imagination, only Narendra Modi is experimenting with his wardrobe and colours. Designer Payal Jain says he conveys a strong message through the way he dresses up for the rallies.

“He mostly wears jackets in the shades of the Tricolour to convey his image of a nationalist” Payal says the standing and closed collar of his short kurta, which has now been dubbed as ‘Modi kurta’, also goes with the personality that his party is trying to project.”

In comparison, Rahul Gandhi seems unconcerned about sporting a look.

“He keeps on repeating the same kurta pyjama again and again.

At the most he wears a grey or black jacket.” It might be considered carelessness, but many believe he is not carrying forward the sartorial tradition of Nehru-Gandhi family. “In that sense Priyanka Gandhi is the true heir of Indira Gandhi,” says Payal, who has observed Priyanka from her college days as both went to Delhi’s Jesus & Mary College. 

Talking of female politicians, Sonia Gandhi is a great ambassador for the traditional weaves of India. Sushma Swaraj is equally fond of Indian textiles but her choice of colours is on the brighter side. “With her the bindi and sindoor make the biggest statement,” notes Payal. 

As for the Arvind Kejriwal workman-like look, Payal says every designer would say, “Oh! God.” However, she goes on to add that there is a consistency in the way he dresses up and the cap makes the biggest statement and a masterstroke.   

Akhtar Mehdi has been carrying on the family tradition of stitching sherwanis.

The measurements of Satpal Maharaj and Hamid Ansari figure on the same page of his register. He says it is a misconception that sherwani is not for the well-fed.

“Satpal Maharaj has been our client for a long time. Unlike Hyderabadi sherwani, the Aligarhi takes the shape of the body and remains airy.”

Last year, he stitched a sherwani for Rahul Gandhi. “He could well be the best ambassador of sherwani in politics.”

Is he polarising the debate! 

The Jodhpuri Bandhgala is clearly the most popular choice for most politicians

A modern politician has far more advantages in sensibly selecting his or her ‘politico wardrobe’