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NY Times style piece celebrates return of ‘Aviator Joe’ sunglasses: ‘It’s a sign he’s on a roll right now’

FOX News logo FOX News 8/16/2022 Alexander Hall
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Fashion director and chief fashion critic for The New York Times Vanessa Friedman offered glowing praise Tuesday of the return of President Joe Biden's aviator sunglasses in a style piece.

"Aviator Joe is back — just in time to take his quasi-victory lap," Friedman wrote. "As President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrives back in Washington, D.C., to enter the White House to sign the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, it is his Ray-Ban 3025s — the dark, wire-rimmed, teardrop-shaped sunglasses he has made his signature — that once again seem the emblem of the man."

She described the sunglasses as if they had been on hiatus amid dark challenges that faced the president. "Though the aviators and the big grin, public-service-is-cool persona they represent never exactly went away, they receded into the background, relegated mostly to bike rides and similar low-eyeball appearances as the president wrestled with Covid (policy, variants, his own case), the war in Ukraine, inflation and other grim issues. At the G7 outdoors family photo in June, he went tieless (like everyone else) and aviator-less," she said.

The return of his trademark shades seemed to herald a shift in the overall mood of the presidency. "But ever since Mr. Biden emerged from his Covid isolation into the sunshine earlier this month, the aviators have been front and center on his face," Friedman wrote.

NBC Senior White House Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, Reuters White House Reporter Steve Holland, right, and other members of the media are visible in the sunglasses of President Biden as he speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 30, 2022, after returning from Wilmington, Del. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik © AP Photo/Andrew Harnik NBC Senior White House Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell, Reuters White House Reporter Steve Holland, right, and other members of the media are visible in the sunglasses of President Biden as he speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 30, 2022, after returning from Wilmington, Del. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

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The piece suggested that this return of Biden’s shades could be seen on multiple momentous occasions: "as he proclaimed his negative status in a Rose Garden speech, on his trip with the first lady to eastern Kentucky to survey the flood damage, during his vacation in South Carolina. Symbolic, once again, of a president who, as John Harwood wrote for CNN, ‘suddenly looks different.’"

Author and political strategist Lis Smith was quoted in the piece suggesting, "You know he’s having a good month when you see him day after day wearing his aviators." She illustrated further that "It’s a sign he’s on a roll right now."

The piece then spent multiple paragraphs favorably comparing Biden to Tom Cruise and his character Maverick from the Top Gun movie franchise.

Tom Cruise and James Corden go for a joy ride ahead of "Top Gun: Maverick" release. Terence Patrick/CBS © Terence Patrick/CBS Tom Cruise and James Corden go for a joy ride ahead of "Top Gun: Maverick" release. Terence Patrick/CBS

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"More recently, another pair of Ray-Bans helped power ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ to the top of the box office, defied conventional wisdom that said Covid and streaming had buried the summer blockbuster, and played an integral part in a story featuring an aging but even more effective hero. Someone all the better for all his experience. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge," said Friedman.

The fashion writer suggested that the return of Tom Cruise’s Maverick aesthetic has had a deep psychological effect on Americans predisposing them to be even more receptive to Biden. 

"After two months of seeing Mr. Cruise’s giant grin under his Ray-Bans in ads and posters, and being inundated with headlines and tweets proclaiming his superpowers, there’s an almost Pavlovian reaction to seeing the same glasses on Mr. Biden. Such images push our subliminal buttons and play on associations, whether we are aware of it or not. It’s basic human psychology," she said.

The writer quoted Smith again appraising the sunglasses: "It’s vintage Joe Biden." 

Friedman suggested that rather than being a mere prop, the shades are a "genuine expression of a certain archetype," then closed by asked readers, "Besides, what better way, really, for anyone to suggest they are flying high?"

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