Obama and His Dad Jeans Through the Years

US President Barack Obama (C) celebrates after his daughter Sasha's soccer team scored a goal during a game in Georgetown, May 16, 2009 in Washington, DC.  AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
At Malia's soccer game in 2009, looking Dad Casual. Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama, trying desperately to reach America's young people ahead of the March 31 Affordable Care Act deadline, has had a busy week, appearing on Between Two Ferns, exploding his fist bumps, shopping at the Gap, and granting interviews to Ryan Seacrest. But he'll never shake his fatherly vibes. On the radio today, the president fought back against critics of his fashion sense, insisting his family "thought for a dad, I displayed reasonably good taste" during his midtown retail excursion, in which he bought cardigans for Michelle and the girls.

As for his own wardrobe, "I've been unfairly maligned about my jeans," Obama told Seacrest. That's not quite true, as a quick look back proves — he's been pretty fairly maligned.

"The truth is, generally I look very sharp in jeans," said the president this morning. "There was one episode like four years ago in which I was wearing some loose jeans mainly because I was out on the pitcher's mound and I didn’t want to feel confined while I was pitching, and I think I've paid my penance for that. I got whacked pretty good. Since that time, my jeans fit very well."

But the historical record shows less of a progression than an inconsistent assortment of disappointing denim. None, in our estimation, look especially "sharp." And that's okay! Presumably he has more important things to worry about, but then there's no need to be defensive.

At an earlier first pitch, in 2005, Obama went reasonably slim and a tad dark:

of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of the Chicago White Sox during Game Two of the American League Championship Series on October 12, 2005 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois.  The Angels lead the series 1-0.
Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

In 2008, it was basically still 1985:

08 Jun 2008, Chicago, Illinois, USA --- Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., goes for a bike ride in Chicago, Sunday, June 8, 2008.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) --- Image by ? Alex Brandon/AP/Corbis
Photo: Alex Brandon/? Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

And here's the offending pair he mentioned, from 2009:

US President Barack Obama throws out the first pitch of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 14, 2009 at Busch Stadium in St Louis, Missouri.    AFP PHOTO / Tim Sloan (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: TIM SLOAN/2009 AFP

More than dad jeans, even — those are mom jeans, light in wash and spacious in the butt.

"I'm a little frumpy," he admitted afterward. "Those jeans are comfortable, and for those of you who want your president to look great in his tight jeans, I'm sorry — I'm not the guy."

Unfortunately, it wasn't just to leave room for his wind-up motion. In a non-sporty context, Obama still prefered a looser fit and questionable wash. Also from 2009:

WASHINGTON - MAY 24:  (AFP OUT)  U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at the White House from Camp David on May 24, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama is scheduled to attend a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.  (Photo by Dennis Brack-Pool/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Barack Obama
Photo: Pool/2009 Getty Images

And then there are the outliers, like this snugger, lighter pair from the same year (it could just be the angle):

US President Barack Obama steps out of an SUV as he arrives for a visit at a friends house on February 15, 2009 in Chicago, where he is spending the weekend.         AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2010, things got really bad, with added mandals. How's the leader of the free world rocking sandals with jeans?

US President Barack Obama departs the International Spy Museum where he and members of the First Family made an impromptu visit on July 30, 2010 in Washington, DC.   AFP PHOTO / Tim Sloan (Photo credit should read TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

A 2010 switch in color, plus Nike ankle socks:

US President Barack Obama rides his bicycle as he is followed by his daughter Malia in West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, on August 27, 2010. The US First Family is vacationing on the island until August 29. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

And then back to the extra-medium in 2011:

VINEYARD HAVEN, MA - AUGUST 19:  U.S. President Barack Obama returns to his vehicle after he and his daughters went to the Bunch of Grapes Book Store August 19, 2011 on Martha's Vineyard, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. (Photo by CJ Gunther-Pool/Getty Images)
Photo: Pool/2011 Getty Images

A better wash, in 2011, but with Pumas and no socks:

WEST TISBURY, MA - AUGUST 23: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and daughter Malia Obama, 13, bike together on a bike path through Manuel F. Correllus State Forest while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard on August 23, 2011 in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. This is the third year the president has taken his vacation on Martha's Vineyard.  (Photo by Matthew Healey-Pool/Getty Images)
Photo: Pool/2011 Getty Images

But back to baggy and sandals in January of 2013:

KAILUA,  HAWAII - JANUARY 3:  U.S. President Barack Obama walks to his motorcade after greeting well wishers outside of Island Snow on January 3, 2013 in Kailua, Hawaii. The president, having cut short his holiday vacation to work in Washington on efforts to avert the recent fiscal cliff crisis, returned to Hawaii on Wednesday to be with the first lady and and his daughters.  (Photo by Kent Nishimura-Pool/Getty Images)
Photo: Pool/2012 Getty Images

Late last year, he did improve a bit, pairing a dark wash with the old tuck-and-belt:

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 27:  (AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama (2ND R) and first lady Michelle Obama help pack and distribute bags of food to needy children and seniors at the Capital Area Food Bank November 27, 2013 in Washington, DC. According to the White House, the first family was joined by family and friends and members of The Mission Continues, "an organization of post-9/11 veterans who are awarded community service fellowships."  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/2013 Getty Images

And here he is in December, looking downright Dad Respectable:

US President Barack Obama and dauther Malia arrive to watch the Oregon State University vs University of Akron college basketball game at the Diamond Head Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, on December 22, 2013. Michelle Obama's bother, Craig Robinson, is the coach of Oregon State. The first family is in Hawaii for their annual winter holiday vacation.   AFP PHOTO/Jewel SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

In all, the looks, if not sharp, are age appropriate. He is a 52-year-old man who mostly wears suits and should probably not be wearing skinnier pants anyway, for the good of the nation and his circulation. Not to metion, for someone of his stature, even the worst jeans are better than the indignity of shorts.