Photographer: Luigi Mistrulli/Sipa via AP Images
Photographer: Luigi Mistrulli/Sipa via AP Images

Denim’s Rise to Power

Alexis Tsipras has been Greek prime minister for just two weeks, and he’s already making some Europeans uncomfortable. Media outlets and global leaders have remarked on the leftist leader’s habit of eschewing a tie, a sartorial expression of his power-to-the-people politics. His Syriza party takes the dressed-down look a step further by sporting blue jeans to political events. In fact, across Europe, politicians have made a visual statement about the new must-have component of any populist power suit: denim. —Natalie Kitroeff and Dimitra Kessenides
Alexis Tsipras
Alexis Tsipras
Tsipras, seen here addressing the Greek Parliament on Feb. 5, sans tie. While he doesn’t make a habit of rocking high-profile denim, his understated attire gives his party license to push the boundaries of professional wear, resulting in regular sightings of casual blue.
Photographer: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images
 Yanis Varoufakis
Yanis Varoufakis
Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis has earned a reputation for donning among the most audacious work outfits. Here, he arrives to meet U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne wearing a shiny jacket and black jeans.
Photographer: Matt Dunham/AP Photo
Gabriel Sakellaridis
Gabriel Sakellaridis
Sakellaridis (right), Tsipras’s communications director, wears jeans on the way to his government’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 27.
Photographer: Milos Bicanski/Getty Images
Pablo Iglesias
Pablo Iglesias
The business-very-casual trend is evident beyond Greece, having spread to leftists in Spain and Italy. Here, Iglesias, secretary general of Spain’s Podemos party, complements his jeans with a relaxed ponytail and what look like friendship bracelets at a December party conference in Barcelona.
Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg
Pedro Sánchez
Pedro Sánchez
Sánchez (left), the leader of Spain’s Socialist party, sports denim bottoms, while black-slacks-wearing Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and Dutch Labour party leader Diederik Samsom practically fade into the background at a July Democratic Party political meeting in Bologna, Italy.
Photographer: Luigi Mistrulli/Sipa via AP Images
Matteo Renzi
Matteo Renzi
Italian Prime Minister Renzi, seen here campaigning in Rome in May 2014, has welcomed Tsipras’s election, saying he’ll no longer be seen as “a dangerous man on the Left,” according to British newspaper the Telegraph. An additional benefit: It makes Renzi’s distressed denim look a little less avant-garde.
Photographer: Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Beppe Grillo
Beppe Grillo
Grillo, a comedian, blogger, and co-founder of Italy's Five-Star Movement, drops to his black-denim-clad knees and salutes supporters during a rally in Rome in April 2013.
Photographer: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Even the right wing has a history of succumbing to denim’s charms. In the above photo, then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy makes an early foray into the land of the underdressed, leaving a hotel after his election in Paris in 2007.
Photographer: Pierre Hounsfield/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images