Roger Stone has turned his court appearances into a fashion show
Surely there are defendants more self-conscious and image-obsessed than Roger Stone, who is on trial in federal court in Washington on charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering, but none could possibly take greater delight in transforming the daily slog through the courthouse doors into their own personal fashion show. Stone, who was an adviser to President Trump, may be ensnared by the judiciary system, but he has not relinquished himself to it. The court may call him defendant, but he remains the magnificent peacock.
The veteran political consultant and fashion blogger strolls daily into U.S. District Court wearing his signature round sunglasses, his platinum hair gleaming. He arrives with an entourage that includes his wife and sometimes his daughter. They are in serviceable and appropriate attire. Often, it is complementary to his. He is spit-shined for glory. His clothes are eye-catching without being obnoxious. His suits, with their soft shoulders and nipped waists, proudly stand apart from the shapeless sack suits favored by most Washington men. He buttons his suit coats just so: a double-breasted jacket, always; a three-button one, only the middle. He likes a glen plaid and a pinstripe, but he spent the first week of his trial mostly rotating from charcoal gray to dove gray to banker ink.
He wears a spread collar — sometimes even opting for a more dramatic cutaway — which again sets him apart because his brethren tend to favor the more familiar and noncommittal semi-spread. All that extra room at the neck makes space for a more dramatically knotted tie. Of course, he wears French cuffs. That’s simply what one does.
Stone puts flair into mixing his patterns, a bit of chest-thumping panache. He pairs a dotted tie with a striped shirt, a striped shirt with a paisley pocket square, a plaid suit with a polka dot pocket square. But then there was the day he went full “Mad Men” and paired his dark suit with a white shirt, dark tie and crisp white pocket square.
Stone doesn’t simply walk into court. He makes an entrance. His wife holds on to the crook of his arm. He finds the camera lens with his eyes. He struts. Perhaps he’s carrying a sheath of paper — folded the long way and clutched jauntily in one hand. Or he has one hand in his pants pocket. He’s nonchalant, as if to say, “Court? Eh.” He arrives with smiles and waves, and with the demeanor of someone who’s not on trial for serious charges that could send him to prison but is instead on his way to a leisurely lunch for which he is self-indulgently overdressed.
With his clothes, Stone has set himself apart from the grind, the dreariness, the quotidian. He’s a man whose expression — whether facial or aesthetic — doesn’t suggest stress or worry. Some men in his situation might swaddle themselves in humility; he has wrapped himself in sartorial pride. There’s nothing humble about his attire. It is pointedly superior.
Stone is back in the political fight — back in the public relations battle of images — after the indignity of being arrested in a predawn raid of his Florida home earlier this year, after which he stood in front of a federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale wearing a pair of shlumpy blue jeans and a too-short golf shirt. The feds knocked Stone back on his heels. This is his fashion revenge.
There’s a difference between being appropriately dressed and using attire as a form of gamesmanship. Everyone around Stone is dressed adequately. He has wardrobed himself for the win.