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Just as the Internet was finally calming down after photos of Barack Obama’s water sports-filled post-presidency vacation made news, he started introducing a whole new “cool dad” style phase to his wardrobe – and the American people are here for it.
First social media users became obsessed with his leather jacket worn on a trip to the National Gallery of Art in March, then everyone lost their minds over the progressively lower necklines on his button-down shirts he started wearing in May.
In PEOPLE’s new cover story on the Obamas’ life after the White House, Obama’s chief of staff Anita Decker Breckenridge explains why he’s embracing this brand new style phase.
“He’s had that jacket for quite some time,” she says about the brown bomber jacket worn in March. “He really likes that jacket. People think he looks good in the jacket. He’s had it for a long time. I just don’t think he’s had the opportunity to wear it. When does the President ever get to go out in his leather jacket? It’s not something we see.”
She elaborates that something Obama is enjoying post-presidency is not having to wear a suit and tie every single day. “Imagine having to put a suit on, a suit and tie, almost every single day for eight years,” she says. “Even longer, maybe ten years, but more so really on a regimented basis, eight years.”
In fact, on the very first day at his new office, he surprised some staffers who were wearing suits and ties by showing up in jeans and a flannel shirt!
As for his other go-to look, the deep neckline, Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, is taking credit for it. “He’s copying me in that regard. He’s always had too many buttons buttoned up,” Holder, who is running a congressional redistricting initiative for the former president, tells PEOPLE.
And did Holder also cure Obama of his old mom-jeans habit? “That was not me. No, no, no. That was probably Michelle.”
What do you think of Obama’s new style phase?