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Was Obama's clothing choice suitable?

Friday - 8/29/2014, 6:30am  ET

SUIT.jpg
President Barack Obama speaks the economy, Iraq, and Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, before convening a meeting with his national security team on the militant threat in Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON -- On Thursday, President Obama addressed the nation on the growing threat from the terrorist group Islamic State and also spoke of the increasingly aggressive behavior of Vladimir Putin and Russia toward Ukraine.

And if you were on Twitter, you probably didn't find out about any of that.

The president wore a tan summer suit and cuffed pants for Thursday's address, and immediately the Internet lit up with shocked takes on the president's fashion choice.

Obama's suit now has at least two Twitter accounts. "The Audacity of Taupe" was one of the cleverer reactions.

"The vast majority of people who were tweeting about this suit have no idea what he was actually saying during the news conference," says Robin Givhan, the fashion critic for The Daily Beast.

She thinks people should calm down a bit.

"I don't think it was his most shining, glorious fashion moment, but I don't think it was something that was as appalling as Twitter would have us believe," Givhan told WTOP's Dimitri Sotis on Thursday evening. "It's late August; it's summer it's the last opportunity to wear something light and fresh."

"It wasn't some sort of formal event," Givhan says of the address, and the president's choice conveyed "a reasonable amount of seriousness."

At the same time, she says, a distraction is a distraction -- a more sober suit might have helped focus people's attention on his message.

Presidents have to be more careful than the rest of us in their fashion choices, Givhan says, and since Obama "has always lulled us into expecting him to always be in a navy or black suit," she added, and we assume that that's what we'll see." Given the reaction, she says, "now we have seen that it was a distraction."

"We notice what people are wearing," and when it's out of the ordinary, "we are distracted from what they're saying.

"It think it's perfectly fair that people responded."

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