The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.
This year, students at American University are speculating wildly about what Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ husband Douglas Emhoff will wear on Jan. 20.
“I think he’ll stick to the traditional black suit,” freshman Irene McCoy said. “It makes sense to play it safe. His fashion choices can’t take away from his wife's position.”
Junior Jack Castillo wants to see something different.
“It would be really cool if he wore a gray suit,” Castillo said. “I’ve always thought gray was understated enough that it didn’t pull focus, while still being elegant.”
Some students, including sophomore Gloria Ramirez, said he should go with a dark blue suit.
“I think it would show he supports the party’s base and calm the Bernie wing of the party,” she said.
Other students expressed concerns over potential fashion mistakes the future first gentleman could make.
“Well god forbid he wears the same suit to multiple events!” junior Tanya Frazier said. “It’s not in good taste and might reflect poorly on the whole incoming administration.”
Whatever color suit Emhoff chooses, the consensus among students was that the garment had to be from a fair trade, animal cruelty-free, environmentally sustainable manufacturer.
“Imagine how terrible it would be if Doug wore a suit that undercut Vice President-elect Harris’ position on the environment and the economy,” sophomore Lloyd Fisher said. “That would be catastrophic.”
Suit color is not the only aspect of Emhoff’s appearance under intense scrutiny. Which designer shoes he wears is also receiving a lot of attention.
Last semester, Professor Julius May of the College of Arts and Sciences gave his Introduction to Statistics students a project: calculating the probability that Emhoff wears various designers.
“I wanted to give them an assignment that they might enjoy,” May said. “The students told me the frontrunners are Gucci, Hermès, Prada and Louis Vuitton.”
After suit color and type of shoes, Emhoff’s choice of tie comes in third for most attention. In fact, musings about Emhoff’s tie grew so intense that some students began betting on it. Junior Evelyn Long, a finance major, came up with the idea and shared information about the competition on social media. Within a day, over 50 students already placed bets.
“I have five bucks on a red tie,” senior Reg Benson said. “I think he looks best in red, and it could send a signal that the administration is willing to work across the aisle with Republicans.”
Senior Ebony Baldwin disagreed.
“If you ask me, Doug has to wear a purple tie,” Baldwin said. “A purple tie shows deference to the GOP without setting off the far left. I put 20 dollars on him wearing a purple tie, so I’m pretty committed.”
According to Long, winnings are doubled if the student also guesses the correct material: cotton, polyester or silk.
Apart from suit, shoes and tie, Emhoff’s choice of socks, undershirt — and to a lesser extent — lapel pin have garnered significant attention.
Junior Casey Briggs, a theater and anthropology double major, is planning her own performance piece for the day after the inauguration. Assembling all of the costumes is pretty easy: a black robe for Chief Justice John Roberts, a traditional pantsuit for Vice President-elect Harris and an orange jumpsuit for outgoing President Donald Trump.
Emhoff’s attire, however, has her stumped.
“There are just so many variables,” Briggs said. “Between his suit and tie and the shoes, I don’t know what to expect.”
She has mapped out all the different combinations for Emhoff’s appearance, so she is prepared to recreate whatever he wore for her production the next day.
At press time, Briggs had just remembered something.
“Holy crap, I forgot his haircut!” she said. “Who knows what he’ll do with his hair. A comb over, give himself bangs, maybe a buzzcut?! I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Owen Boice is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a satire columnist at The Eagle.