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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Delegates Show State Pride in Fashion Choices


The tradition of wacky individualistic outfits at party conventions is a long one, so consider the effort it must take to enforce a delegation dress code.

Nonetheless, a number of state delegations are making their collective fashion statements. New Mexico's delegates are in turquoise polo shirts with the state's Zia sun logo. Many Michigan delegates have slipped on football jerseys emblazoned with “Ford” and “48,” a tribute to former President Gerald R. Ford, who played center and linebacker for the University of Michigan before representing the state in Congress.

Oklahomans wore tasteful blue blazers for men and women, with a patch bearing the state seal. Mike Sanders, a delegate, said they had been voted best-dressed delegation by NPR twice, in 2012 and 2008.

Greg Treat, a delegate from Oklahoma City, said there was a debate this year about switching the color of the blazers to advance the state's claim to be the most Republican in the nation. “Several states claim to be the reddest state in the union,” he said, “but because we had all 77 counties go red, we talked of having red blazers.” Tasteful navy prevailed.

West Virginians are making a political statement in black coal miner's hats. “We have a war on coal in this country,” said Brian Long, a delegate, blaming President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for regulations making it harder to mine coal and run coal-fired power plants. “We're proud of our coal mines and coal miners,” he said.

No surprise, the delegation making the loudest statement with its outfits is Texas. Almost all 155 members are in white straw cowboy hats and loose shirts patterned like the state flag, with a large lone star stamped over the right breast.

“Texans are proud, and we always wear our colors with pride,” said Janis Holt, a delegate from Silsbee, Tex.

And because the unofficial Texas motto might be “too much ain't enough,” the delegation will retire Tuesday's uniform and pull out a second uniform for Wednesday night's activities.