CONTINUING TO PIT POPE AGAINST POPE THE MEDIA CONTINUES ITS CHARADE. BUT POSITIVE COVERAGE IS BETTER THAN NEGATIVE COVERAGE OR NO COVERAGE AT ALL AND GIVES HOPE TO US PRIESTS WHO WEAR BASIC BLACK AND A TAB COLLAR ALL THE TIME WITH SCANT RECOGNITION! :)
The Best Dressed Man of 2013: Pope Francis
Byon December 27, 2013
An unconventional choice to be sure, but hear us out.
While Bradley Cooper, Chris Pine, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have all had banner years, their sartorial choices begin and end on the proverbial red carpet. Meanwhile, Pope Francis's sartorial decisions have subtly signaled a new era (and for many, renewed hope) for the Catholic Church.
"His mode of dressing really does reflect the mindset behind it," says Mark-Evan Blackman, assistant professor of menswear design at FIT, of Pope Francis. "I remember when John Paul II was buried in those opulent bright red shoes. When the current pope was elected and chose not to wear the red shoes I thought that was very reflective of his approach to being a person functioning in a role."
Pope Francis has been big on symbolic gestures—paying his own bill at a hotel owned by the Church or washing the feet of inmates (two of whom were female) on Holy Thursday—and the black shoes and unadorned, simplistic regalia are just an outward acknowledgement of his progressive orthodoxy. "Pope Francis understands that menswear is meant to express the character of the man wearing the clothes," says Mary Lisa Gavenas, author of The Fairchild Encyclopedia of Menswear, before adding: "No rapper-style popewear for him."
True, the opulent jewelry and fur-lined capes of yore have given way to humbler dress, and this break from aesthetic tradition says a lot of the man and what he hopes to achieve while doing his earthly duties. He's certainly been the most approachable Pope in recent memory, one who tweets his gospel, takes selfies, sneaks out of his modest apartment (he declined moving into the Apostolic Palace) in a disguise to help the poor, and even hangs out with Patti Smith.
Ann Pellegrini, Associate Professor of Performance Studies & Religious Studies at New York University puts it this way: "The humility of his garments offers a way to visibly display his theological and material concerns for the poor. This Holy Roman emperor really does have new clothes."