Cory Booker Cleans Up for Fashion Shoot

After a citywide diet and a fashion intervention by his staff, the Newark, N.J., mayor talks ties, Speedos and sagging pants. 

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Cory Booker (Michael Nagle)

Not too long ago, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker would have been an unlikely candidate for a fashion shoot for Fairchild Fashion Media's Menswear Magazine.

"My staff has definitely had to do fashion interventions over the years," he says in an interview with the publication that accompanies his photos in this month's issue. "They've said, 'Your suit is attracting attention to you that's bad,' and 'Speedos -- don't do it.' " (That was pre-emptive, he explains.)

Lately he's stepped it up in the clothing department and has been trying to figure out how to emulate President Obama's tie knot. "The lines are all smooth around here," he says, "but then Obama will always get the dimple."

One look you won't catch him in: saggy pants. "[L]ower than the midpoint of the butt is something I just don't understand," he told Menswear. "There's nothing about that look that can help you."

Booker is now also 50 pounds lighter than he was when he says job stress caused him to put on weight last winter. He knew there was a problem when a citizen stuck in a snowstorm tweeted for help, and he couldn't find anything to wear to the rescue. "Even my relaxed jeans weren't fitting me," he says. 

So when Michelle Obama asked him to be an honorary co-vice chair of her Partnership for Healthy America, he challenged the whole city to go on a diet, and collectively they lost 900 pounds.

The Stanford and Yale graduate and Rhodes scholar has also made changes to the city that don't show up in the pictures: Since he took over as mayor, he has halved the city's budget deficit, decreased its murder rate by 42 percent and increased philanthropic contributions to the city by hundreds of millions of dollars. 

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