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  • Words by Mr Dan Rookwood

Embarrassing photos: we've all got them. Awkward family holiday snapshots inexpertly taken by Mum in the dark days before the digital camera "delete" button; mortifying evidence committed to grainy 6x4 of those "difficult teenage years"; stark reminders of bold fashion statements in our twenties we now thoroughly regret making. Try and find a bad photograph of President John F Kennedy. Go on, we'll wait. See? There aren't any.

The phrase "style icon" is overused, but in the case of JFK it's so apt as to almost be part of his name. He had the keys to unlock any dress code, from formal to smart-casual to casual, and to pull each off with aplomb. Whatever he was wearing, whatever the occasion - whether helming a yacht off the coast of New England or steering the US through the tricky waters of the Cold War from the Oval Office - he always looked perfectly attired and effortlessly elegant.

President Kennedy was a man who took pride in his appearance and knew its value in winning over the American people in 1961 to become their 35th president. It was his relaxed, personable, charming manner that the electorate warmed to in those first televised debates against the comparatively stiff, uncomfortable and frosty Mr Richard Nixon.

Of course, President Kennedy was at home in the expensive tailoring of office and the clearly defined refinement of evening wear - most statesmen are. If anything, it was when casually dressed that his style came to the fore. "Jack", as he was affectionately known, made dressing down look classy with chinos, loafers, cashmere crew necks and Wayfarers. He was never caught off-guard even when off-duty. There is no such thing as an embarrassing holiday album in the Kennedy family.

JFK may only have been president for two years before his world-stopping assassination, but 50 years later, his simple, classic and timeless style lives on.

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