To be sure, Cain’s suits are well cut and he has the stature to carry them. Still, they have always been a curious choice and they have now become ill-advised. He would do well to expunge every double-breasted suit from his wardrobe.And "haughty swagger" is not what you want "when it’s alleged that Cain wielded his executive power in a sexual and inappropriate way." The sexual harassment charge cuts deep: It deprives a man of his distinctive personal style.
[I]n this more casual age—when the “suits” are feeling the rage of Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party, and anyone who has helplessly watched the rapid decline of their 401(k)—Cain’s garb carries with it a sort of haughty swagger.
And then there's religion:
[Cain] is an ordained Baptist preacher and a man with a habit of breaking out in gospel song at the slightest provocation. Ministers of a certain persuasion often seem to have a predilection for double-breasted suits, as well as three-piece ones. Some of that must surely be because of tradition and formality, but there is also an element of the hierarchal at work.Haughtiness... swagger... a "certain persuasion" of religion... if this sounds at least vaguely racial, consider that Givhan herself is black. And she does go on to talk about race:
Black politicians have always had a wider berth when it comes to attire. They often dress more formally to make their authority more evident in a society that might question it. And historically they have been allowed more pizzazz, more personal flair. But Cain’s double-breasted suits don’t come with a creative flourish. They come with a standard yellow four-in-hand and an American flag pin perched on his left lapel. Sometimes he dons a ranger hat, which is about as imaginative as cowboy boots for affecting a down-home cool.He's black, but he doesn't get the usual leeway black men "have been allowed"... why? I mean, really, why is that? What is she saying? What I hear is: He's not the right kind of black man. He's conservative, so he doesn't get whatever that extra freedom is that is allowed — that the passive voice gives — to black men.