Yes you tan, Mr Obama: in defence of 'the audacity of taupe'

It seems the Twitterverse – a noted quorum of style aficionados if ever there wasn't one – is ablaze with indignation about the tan suit that US President Barack Obama chose to wear in a press conference overnight.

Never mind the failure of US foreign policy this meeting apparently exposed, with the President as good as admitting he didn't have a strategy to fight a new wave of terrorism in Syria and Iraq.

What everyone wanted to know is, what about that suit? Was this a clever White House tactic to distract hard-nosed political analysts, and bamboozle editors into overlooking the real story? If it was, it was a clumsy one.

Obama can and should wear a tan suit if he wants to. In fact, he should have swapped out the brown tie for a pink one, rocked a matching pocket square and ditched the socks as well.

Why shouldn't the commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful nation be able to wear any shade he chooses? If any crime has been committed here, it's one of fit. A toned, athletic-looking man, the President typically chooses slim-fitting shirts and well-tailored suits that emphasise his good shape and camera-friendly looks.

The tan suit was uncharacteristically generous in cut, with an off-the-rack look about it. The sleeves and jacket length were a little too long, the shoulders a little too wide.

He has typically chosen high-quality, close-fitting grey or navy blue suits, teamed with shirts of pure white or a light stripe. Refreshingly, he chooses at times to ditch the once-manatory political accessory of an inoffensively toned tie. Numerous times he has taken to the Oval Office's lectern sans neckwear, reflecting a more casual mood pervading corporate culture and even boardrooms around the business world.

He has even, at times, appeared minus the jacket as well, and with white shirtsleeves rolled to the elbow for emphasis. That's something his political predecessors wouldn't have dreamed of doing.

We'd like to see him extend his repertoire to include more striped and checked shirts, either with or without a contrasting tie to add a pop of colour.

The 'audacity of taupe', as wags have dubbed the tan suit in parody of a book Obama once wrote, ought to be used by the President's advisers as the start of an even sharper stylistic chapter that shows men everywhere that serious leaders can sport a seriously sharp look.

Does anyone remember the jaws that dropped the day the-then Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, appeared wearing glasses? That set things buzzing for a few days, but we quickly got used to the new look and by week's end it was a non-issue.

What the US President ought to do now – apart from devising a cogent strategy to address yet another appalling crisis unfolding in the Middle East – is to keep stepping out the grey/blue groove and make thoughtfully curated, sharply styled attire the norm we come to expect from him.

Yes Mr Obama, you can.

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