There were a couple of things about Jared Polis that voters couldn’t help but notice when he was running for governor of Colorado.
They were on his feet.
In October, when the progressive Democratic candidate showed up to a debate wearing his trademark blue sneakers, self-described Republican activist Stephen Aaron tweet-snarked: “What’s up with those bright blue shoes at a debate?”
“Both gubernatorial candidates brought their talking points; Polis brought his bright-blue running shoes,” wrote Westword, a Denver alt weekly.
Polis, a congressman since 2009, beat Colorado state treasurer Walker Stapleton last month, becoming the country’s first openly gay governor.
And Colorado won’t soon forget what carried him to that lofty post.
After he is sworn in Jan. 8 on the steps of the Colorado state Capitol, Polis will host a Blue Sneaker Inaugural Ball Celebration in an evening affair at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Fox 31 in Denver reports.
“The Blue Sneaker Ball theme continues to build on Jared’s focus of moving Colorado forward into the future and being a governor for everyone,” Mara Sheldon, a spokeswoman for the inauguration committee, told ColoradoPolitics.com.
Polis has long been known for his sartorial sensibilities — or a lack thereof that once prompted the venerable arbiter of men’s fashion, GQ magazine, to gnash its teeth and offer him a makeover.
“Last February, we decreed that Colorado congressman Jared Polis had the worst congressional style in the history of these United States,” the magazine noted in 2015.
“We were completely within our rights to do so, because the dude was wearing a purple golf polo with a bow tie underneath a suit jacket. It was an assault to America’s eyes, a slap in the face of Lady Liberty, and a downright disgrace.”
Even before that, 5280 magazine in Denver wrote how his “Cosby sweaters” had generated “cringes and giggles” for staffers when Polis ran for Colorado’s State Board of Education.
And those sneakers. They were often the star of his well-known “notoriously unsensible fashion sense,” as he paired “Armani suits with sneakers” the Colorado Independent noted last month.
“During his first congressional campaign, he arrived for a fundraiser at the luxurious home of his host, Denver investor and philanthropist Blair Richardson, sporting sneakers and jeans amid a roomful of people dressed in business attire,” 5280 wrote in 2014.
“Friends, foes, and associates — even his mother — can’t resist getting in digs about how he chooses to go out in public ...
“It’s unclear if his regrettable fashion sense is a sign of a beautiful mind too absorbed in the problems of the day to care whether he matches or a calculated effort to assert his individuality and keep others off-kilter.”
Dress at the Blue Sneakers Ball is “cocktail attire,” and sneakers are optional, says the Eventbrite invitation.