What Kim Jong-un’s suit, shoes and hairstyle tell us about him

Kim Jong-un’s favorite Mao-style suit, his heeled shoes and opting not to wear a national lapel pin: What the North Korean leader’s style choices for his Trump meeting reveal about him

  • Kim Jong-un wore his favorite Mao-style suit for his historic meeting with Donald Trump in Singapore on Tuesday
  • Analysts say Kim’s outfit indicates he wants to maintain his country’s socialist identity even though he’s now pushing to improve ties with the outside world 
  • North Korean leader was also spotted without a national lapel pin, which may reflect his push to stay out of the shadows of his predecessors
  • Despite being about 7.2 inches shorter than Trump, the difference in their heights wasn’t that noticeable on Tuesday
  • South Korean media quickly speculated Kim may have put on platform shoes or elevated shoe inserts to be on par with Trump 

Kim Jong-un was clad in his favorite Mao-style suit, wore high-heeled shoes and maintained his trademark high-cut hairstyle for his historic meeting with President Donald Trump. 

The North Korean leader was also spotted without a national lapel pin and wearing his regular horn-rimmed glasses when the world’s eyes were on him in Singapore on Tuesday.

Soon after the historic handshake took place, observers were quick to start analyzing exactly what Kim’s suit, heeled shoes and hairstyle might portray about him. 

Here’s a closer look at the 34-year-old North Korean leader’s appearance during the summit in Singapore:

Soon after Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump exchanged their historic handshake in Singapore on Tuesday, observers were quick to start analyzing exactly what the North Korean leader’s style choices reveal about him

Mao-style suit 

Media had speculated before the summit that Kim may put on a suit and tie instead of his trademark dark button-up Mao-style suit. 

He wore a silver-gray Western-style suit in January when he delivered a New Year’s speech that expressed his intent of sending an Olympic delegation at the start of his charm offensive.

But Kim showed up in the same old communist uniform for the summit. 

Some observers say Kim’s outfit indicates he wants to maintain his country’s socialist identity though he’s now pushing to improve ties with the outside world.

Badge 

Kim didn’t put on his jacket a lapel pin with the images of his late father and grandfather who ruled successively before his inauguration in late 2011. He has occasionally appeared without them recently. 

Every dutiful North Korean must wear them as part of a personality cult surrounding the Kim family.

Analysts say Kim’s no-badge appearance may reflect his push to open a new era by staying out of the shadows of his predecessors.

Analysts say Kim’s favorite Mao-style suit indicates he wants to maintain his country’s socialist identity even though he’s now pushing to improve ties with the outside world

Taller Kim 

Kim is about 5.8 feet tall, about 7.2 inches shorter than Trump, according to media reports. But when the two stood together during Tuesday’s meeting, the difference in their heights wasn’t that noticeable.

South Korean media quickly speculated Kim may have put on platform shoes or elevated shoe inserts. 

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Photos from their signing ceremony showed Kim wearing black shoes with heels though it wasn’t immediately known how high they were.

Kim’s short and pudgy father Kim Jong Il was reported to have favored platform shoes and a bouffant hairstyle to appear taller.

Photos from their signing ceremony showed Kim wearing black shoes with heels. South Korean media quickly speculated Kim may have put on platform shoes or elevated shoe inserts

Despite Kim being about 7.2 inches shorter than Trump, the difference in their heights wasn’t that noticeable on Tuesday when they met for the first time

Hairstyle

Kim has a sweptback hairstyle with the sides and back shaved neatly, and experts say it’s part of his efforts to model his appearance on his grandfather Kim Il Sung who founded North Korea in 1948. 

Kim Jong Un also adopted his grandfather’s gestures and regular public speeches. 

Glasses 

These days, Kim often wears a pair of horn-rimmed glasses.

In March, TV footage showed Kim putting on his glasses to read South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s letter conveyed by visiting South Korean envoys, though he didn’t wear them when he met them. 

South Korean media speculated Kim’s sight may have deteriorated due to diabetes caused by obesity and that he’s likely short-sighted. 

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