Adventures in the Presidential Mall: Joseph R. Biden Beats Jos. A. Bank This Weekend

This past weekend, President Joe Biden spent Sunday morning as many Americans do: he went to church, then went shopping.

Biden, after attending a Catholic mass in Wilmington, his home state of Delaware, stopped at the menswear chain Jos. A. Bank, located in a strip mall (especially the Morgan Stanley branch) in nearby Greenville, where he was about 20 minutes before leaving just before noon, wearing a colorless suit and carry a brown paper bag. Bloomberg reporter Nancy Cook: “First of all, one White House mission is to sum up for me – we were standing outside a menswear store in Wilmington as the president went shopping.” tweeted that morning.

While we can speculate endlessly on what Biden has won at Jos. A. Bank before noon on Sunday — a draw? Several employees who answered the store’s phone Monday afternoon declined to comment further on his visit, citing company policy. Perhaps the President did so because of his routine Favorite local tailorWright & Simon, closed on Sundays.

Presidents, as one might imagine, don’t usually wear fancy clothes, much less shop for themselves. While heads of state generally have to pay for their own clothes, it’s not surprising that they often shop for designers and make-to-order: Obama opted for Martin Greenfield Clothiers in Brooklyn, while Trump wore both Greenfield and tailoring. Brioni. Of course, presidential suits are also geared toward sanity. “You’ll see I’m only wearing gray or blue,” Obama said Vanity Fair in 2012, a few years ago when he wore other clothes. “I’m trying to reduce decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have so many other decisions to make.”

That said, the president’s shopping trips can sometimes be a diplomatic move, though it’s unclear if that’s what happened here. (Back to 2014Obama made a photo stop at the Gap in Times Square, reportedly buying a $154.85 shirt for his wife and daughter as a support for the retailer nurture minimum hourly rate for US workers.) Menswear chains have struggled over the past decade; Tailored Brands, the company that runs Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank, Moores and K&G Superstores, all filed for and subsequently exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the second half of 2020. Last month, Tailored Brands president John Tighe spoke with WWDhighlights the company’s bottom line:

“We mostly still dress people for important events in their lives,” says Tighe. “The way we see it is that there are two main journeys: getting people ready for the wedding and helping people look fit for the job. It used to be a suit, but now it’s something between a suit and sweatpants, and it’s more refined.” For Biden, it could be any of the above.


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