Justin may be the Vogue model, with the best hair of any politician in recent memory (which isn’t all that difficult — sorry, John Edwards), but as much as the international media loves our current PM’s style choices (and progressive politics), Justin didn’t start Trudeaumania. Obviously.
If you’re looking for a Canadian style icon, his dad’s the man you want. PET, our 15th prime minister, was a big personality — a charismatic, pragmatic politician, an enviable ladies’ man, and one hell of a snappy dresser. Throughout his tenure — which spanned the sartorially dubious late 1960s through early 1980s — he was the most stylish man in the House of Commons, if not the country: flashy tailored suits, wide power ties, trademark red boutonniere. Hell, he’s wearing a cape in his official portrait. Whatever you thought of him politically, there’s no denying the man had elegance — and embodied authority. How far should you be willing to go to emulate him? Well, you know the rest.
In Good Company, 1969
In photos, Trudeau routinely held his own opposite some of the world’s great leaders: Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Fidel Castro. But his biggest coup, in terms of fashion, was standing beside John Lennon and Yoko Ono — and somehow managing to look cooler. Compared to Lennon’s oversized lapels and tie, Trudeau’s suit is timeless. He makes a case for bringing back the three-piece suit, thanks to the flattering cut of the vest. The simple black and white of his suit, shirt, and pocket square is livened up by the patterned tie in the same shades.
Sporting Steez, 1970
This one, maybe, comes with the territory. First, negotiate the country through a terrorist plot. Then, be the guest of honour at the Grey Cup, the country’s biggest sporting event. Then — and maybe only then — throw on a cape and a wide-brim Musketeer hat and smile for the cameras. One thing you can emulate from this look? His total, unabashed, borderline smug confidence. It looks good on him, and it’ll look good on you, too.
Casual and Classic, 1976
Trudeau was nothing if not practical. While on a diplomatic tour of Latin America, he ditched the suits in favour of something more weather appropriate. You might have to wait till you’re off duty, but take note: a simple polo and metal bracelet watch are classics that any man can fall back on and will keep you looking put together — even if there’s a baby strapped to your back.
Summer Suiting, 1983
Trudeau loved a fresh flower in his lapel — a bold accessory that most men can’t pull off, unless it’s their wedding day. However, his seersucker suit is something that everyone can look good in. The lightweight fabric, pale colour, and subtle texture made it the perfect suit for the summer then, and the same can be said today — boutonniere not required (but why the hell not?)
Night Moves, 1989
Trudeau began his tenure as prime minister as a bachelor, and that’s how he ended it, too. Even after retiring from politics, he still knew how to dress for a night out — a simple grey suit paired with a crisp white shirt. Accompanied by an understated belt and watch, it’s a simple solution that will never go out of style.