Photo: Yoon Suk-yeol (left) and King Charles III. Credit: the Royal Family Twitter Account.
Yoon Suk-yeol’s Ridiculous Pants. In his first year in office, President Yoon Suk-yeol 윤석열 was ridiculed for his utter inability to follow the most basic diplomatic protocol. (See previous coverage, “Yoon’s Disastrous International Tour.”) A similarly gaffe-filled state visit to the United Kingdom this month suggested little improvement in Yoon’s sophomore year.
In a video that quickly went viral, Yoon is seen casually walking past 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, prompting puzzled members of the British press to wonder aloud, “Where is he going?” For a photo of Yoon meeting with Labor Party leader Keir Starmer, the caption provided by the website of the Office of the President 대통령실 initially read: “President Yoon Suk-yeol met with the Labor Party leader, Mr. Holborn St. Pancras,” mistaking Starmer’s electoral district for his name.
But it was Yoon’s pants that bore the brunt of public opprobrium. Whereas Prime Minister Sunak faced heat over the unbecoming snugness of his trousers, Yoon erred in the opposite sartorial direction. In a stark relief to King Charles III, who wore an impeccably fitted tuxedo, Yoon wore a pair of baggy trousers with a sagging pouch of fabric in the front that suggested the panty-line silhouette of an adult diaper beneath them.
Photo: Yoon Suk-yeol, c. July 2022. Credit: Yonhap.
This was not Yoon’s first trouser debacle. In July 2022, a furious online debate erupted over an official photo from the presidential office that appeared to show Yoon wearing his pants back-to-front. because of the sagging excess fabric. The debate quieted only after a zoomed-in photo revealed a zipper in front of the pants and confirmed that the fit of the suit, rather than the president’s apparent inability to put on clothes, was to blame.
An ill-fitting pair of trousers would be forgivable for most men of Yoon’s girth: few non-presidents have the same access to bespoke tailoring. But Yoon’s crimes against fashion are apparently premeditated: in a Chosun Ilbo 조선일보 interview, Yoon’s three tailors said the president insists on having ample room in his pants. One of the tailors said: “We kept suggesting a slimmer silhouette for the trousers, but the president just would not give in.” Another chimed in: “To this day, I want to hem those legs whenever I see the president on television.”