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Jakarta Post

When it comes to style, Jokowi is low maintenance

  • Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Wed, June 18, 2014   /  09:13 am
When it comes to style, Jokowi is low maintenance Setting the record straight: Presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo addresses a campaign rally in Subang, West Java, on Tuesday. He attended rallies in West Java’s northern coastal towns and refuted smear campaigns against him. (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf) (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Setting the record straight: Presidential candidate Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo addresses a campaign rally in Subang, West Java, on Tuesday. He attended rallies in West Java'€™s northern coastal towns and refuted smear campaigns against him. (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

For presidential hopeful and non-active Jakarta governor Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo, '€œyou are what you wear'€, as there is undoubtedly nothing to be gained by pretending to be someone else via a new wardrobe.

A look at his selection of attire, gadgets and footwear reveals his preference for comfort and practicality over any attempt to impress others.

While Jokowi agreed to comply with City Hall protocol, which requires him to wear a suit or batik, he began wearing his favorite plain, unbranded white shirt and dark cotton trousers when leaving the confines of Jakarta'€™s governmental hub.

'€œMy shirt cost only Rp 100,000 [US$8.40] and my shoes Rp 120,000,'€ he once said.

But on various occasions, The Jakarta Post has noticed Jokowi wearing Everbest boots, which cost around Rp 1 million. Everbest, a Singaporean brand, is very popular among Indonesia'€™s middle class.

Given his questionable taste in fashion, Jokowi seems not to be entirely in control of his wardrobe, and he has repeatedly said that he never really thinks of his appearance.

'€œMy wife usually buys my clothes. Sometimes the clothes fit, sometimes they don'€™t. But I'€™m a low-maintenance person. I normally only wear white shirts,'€ he said. '€œI'€™m not into watches either; I never wear one.'€

One of Jokowi'€™s closest confidants once made fun of his fashion sense.

'€œJokowi only wears either mismatched or badly tailored items.'€

A politician from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) recently said that Jokowi had to be rushed to a tailor in the Pasar Baru textile and clothing market in Central Jakarta as he needed to wear a suit and tie for the first presidential debate last week.

'€œHe [Jokowi] originally wanted to wear his signature [red and blue] checked shirt but he changed his mind. Given there were only a few days left before the debate, he visited a tailor to make his black suit, which cost less than Rp 1 million.'€

Following his presidential nomination by the PDI-P and its coalition partners in May, Jokowi announced that he would wear the checked shirt throughout his presidential campaign, while his running mate, Jusuf Kalla, would sport a plain white shirt.

Speaking to reporters during his recent campaign stop in Denpasar, Bali, Jokowi said that his team initially decided on plain white shirts as the pair'€™s campaign dress code.

'€œBut the other camp was wearing the same color. So, we had second thoughts about wearing them,'€ he said.

The team later considered the red-and-blue checked shirt that Jokowi had donned during the Jakarta gubernatorial race.

'€œAccording to our internal survey, 63 percent of respondents preferred me wearing the checked shirt. So, I decided to wear it, but then the problem was with Pak JK [Jusuf Kalla]. He looks too young in that,'€ Jokowi said.

'€œWe then decided to just wear our own signature apparel. I wear the checked shirt, while Pak JK wears a plain white shirt, which makes him look like a very mature figure,'€ he said.

Jokowi also pointed out the slight difference between his previous and current checked shirts.

'€œThey appear to be the same but if you take a closer look, they are actually different,'€ he said.

While the first checked shirt for the gubernatorial election was bought at a shopping center in South Jakarta, the current one is from Swedish clothing firm H&M'€™s Label of Graded Goods (L.O.G.G).

'€œI have six of them,'€ Jokowi said.

Jokowi'€™s wife and children have also worn similar checked shirts when accompanying him on various occasions.

When it comes to technology, Jokowi is fairly literate as he has an early version of a Samsung Galaxy Note and Blackberry smartphone. However, he is rarely seen carrying them as his personal assistant holds on to them most of the time.

Jokowi'€™s unpretentious attitude also extends to his choice of transportation.

During official trips, Jokowi flies economy class on national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, but for certain campaign stops, he has chartered a plane.

For road travel, Jokowi is regularly transported around Jakarta and elsewhere in a Toyota Innova, a vehicle associated with the middle class.

Jokowi admitted that he did not want to appear like a high-profile figure, a fact that later became an advantage for him. His unpretentious attitude is the antithesis of all the negativity surrounding most politicians.

'€œDuring my first few months as Surakarta mayor, my guests often bypassed me and greeted my personal assistant, as they thought he, a good-looking man, was the mayor.

'€œI managed to tolerate that for some time until it got to a point when I thought I really should replace him [my assistant] with someone less handsome than myself,'€ Jokowi joked.

'€œBut that doesn'€™t happen anymore, as everybody knows me now.'€