New Jersey Fashion Statement: We’re from the Government, Here to Help

Photograph by Julio Cortez/AP Photo

New Jersey Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick walks near a home damaged by Superstorm Sandy on Nov. 29, 2012, in Ortley Beach, N.J.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s personalized embroidered fleece jacket is so two weeks ago.

The outerwear now sweeping runways — well, the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged Seaside Heights boardwalk, anyway — is a little black number modeled by Assemblyman Jon Bramnick from Westfield, the highest-ranking Republican in the lower house.

Windproof, waterproof, wrinkle-resistant. State seal emblazoned on the front, “NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE” stenciled on the back: This jacket, like the one worn by the 50-year-old Republican governor post-disaster and during a “Saturday Night Live” comedy sketch, has icon potential.

“I got them for all my members a few years ago,” Bramnick, 59, a trial lawyer, said yesterday as he and colleagues viewed the devastation during a five-hour bus tour escorted by state police. “It’s not fleece, though.”

Bramnick’s look isn’t likely to jump the aisle, according to Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, 60, from East Orange, the highest-ranking Democrat in the house, which her party dominates.

“To put it simply, the Assembly Democrats lack Minority Leader Bramnick’s dashing fashion sense,” Oliver said in an e-mailed statement.

Christie on Nov. 12 retired his go-to jacket, a staple during tours and press conferences after the worst Atlantic storm in history hit the coast, costing the state an estimated $36.9 billion and leaving 38 people dead.

The fleece’s next big moment may be as an auction item to raise money for hurricane victims, the governor has said.

 

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