On This Day in 1917

Commemorating the Unimpeachable Style of the 35th US President JFK

From the moment senator John F. Kennedy appeared on television in 1960 to debate the tight-lipped Vice President Richard Nixon, it was clear this was a new breed of politician. The man destined to become the youngest President of the United States seemed relaxed, open and, well, cool. His epic charisma—marked by a charming swagger, gorgeous wife and taste for East Coast preppy luxury—made him a White House movie star, whose impact was almost as strong on the voting public’s wardrobe as their ballot papers (today there is similar interest in the sartorial habits of the Obamas). He was born on this day in 1917, and to celebrate NOWNESS compiled a list of Camelot's high-flying trademarks:

• While sailing, or speeding around in his convertible sports car (a 1959 Pontiac), Kennedy was rarely seen without his Ray Ban Wayfarers. It’s an iconic fame-signal that keeps on giving—just ask Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, Georgia Jagger and Eva Herzigova, who have all been papped in the classic black frames.

• JFK was all about relaxed tailoring—as the son of an ambassador to the UK, he favored Savile Row suits, popularizing the slightly more baggy two-button cut, to better accommodate his back brace. As President, he wore Brooks Brothers, going to the all-American stalwart for both his suits and shirts. For a contemporary take on the brand, check out its Black Fleece range, designed in collaboration with maverick tailoring specialist Thom Browne.

• Kennedy always kept a Shaeffer pen on his desk. Evidently, the luxury item was more of a talisman than a tool of office: he never used it, preferring to write with ink-dipped pens. For personal notes, he had a range of Parker ball points engraved with his own signature.

• What’s small, square and worth $350,000? The Omega wrist watch Kennedy wore for his inauguration ceremony was given to him by his friend Grant Stockdale in 1960, and worn by the President throughout his political career. In 2005 it was bought by Omega at auction for the above sum, and now resides in the brand’s museum in Switzerland.

• Kennedy’s favorite tipple was a daiquiri. The drink became popular in the US after Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor” policy encouraged trade between North and Latin America in the 30s, elevating the status of rum from a sailor’s drink to an exotic cocktail ingredient. Roneria Caracas, a rum-only bar that opened in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood late last year, offers the “Flores” daiquiri, which incorporates a fusion of lavender and hibiscus.

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