Chuck Schumer's Sartorial Secret
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is a man who stands accused of many things -- loving television cameras, the New York Giants and the sound of his own voice, for example -- but never in his storied career as a politician has he been accused of being a fashion plate.
And no one in his or her right mind would ever suspect Schumer of having a European tailor. Which is why his (loud) conversation aboard a recent northbound train ride on the Acela Express came as such a shock to two informants, who also happened to be sitting in the same first-class car as Schumer.
Schumer, along with the equally and proudly unfashionable Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), were on a train to Philadelphia Friday to attend a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which Schumer chairs. A young woman who works at the DSCC rode with them. The senators, uncharacteristically, happened to notice how fashionable she was (compared to them), and they were overheard complimenting her on her necklace.
Leahy, whose idea of haute couture is a pair of Birkenstocks and a flannel shirt, mistook the aide's green necklace for authentic jade. She confessed it certainly isn't, she bought it at Target. Which prompted Schumer -- talking at his usual 60 to 80 decibels above normal speaking level -- to tell his aide and colleagues about his French tailor.
"His name is Jay-Cay Pennay!" shouted Schumer, giving a variation on the more common faux francophilic pronunciation of JC Penney, which is "Jacques Pennay."
Schumer does have a thing for fashion, ya know. He offered legislation last summer with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to fight fashion piracy and protect New York's fashion designers from (mostly Chinese) rip-offs.
Asked about his fancy French tailor, Schumer confirmed it and quipped, "And I do all my shopping at Tarjay." (Or, pronounced another way, Target.)
Mary Ann Akers
March 5, 2008; 3:45 PM ET
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