Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson, surly libertarian city parks director and jazz saxophonist
Pawnee, Indiana, Fall 2009
Series: Parks and Recreation
Episode: “Ron and Tammy” (Episode 2.08)
Air Date: November 5, 2009
Director: Troy Miller
Created by: Greg Daniels & Michael Schur
Costume Designer: Kelli Jones
By design, little attention is paid to Ron Swanson’s clothing throughout Parks and Recreation. In fact, Ron’s style could best be summed up by saying he dresses like a non-threatening suburban dad, as opposed to Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), who basks in the show’s sartorial attention with his “Brooks Brothers Boys” suits. We even learn, in “Ron and Tammys” (Episode 4.02), that Ron has only spent $40 on clothes in the past five years.
That said, there is one thing that gets Ron to care about what he pulls out of his closet that morning… and that’s his activity from the night before.
In the spirit of yesterday’s St. Valentine’s Day holiday, here’s hoping that many of you have reason to waltz into work feeling like Ron Swanson in a red polo…
What’d He Wear?
When Tiger Woods feels invincible he wears a red shirt and black pants. Ron wears the same thing after he’s had sex.
Tom Haverford is often eager to explain the origins of Ron’s wardrobe, offering the above summary for the outfit’s first appearance in “Ron and Tammy” (Episode 2.08) and an abridged version at the close of the second season… unfortunately, his second explanation is quickly followed by the revelation that Ron is dressed in his post-coital garb after an encounter with Tom’s ex-wife Wendy (Jama Williamson).
Ron’s “red shirt” is a a bright red performance polo, likely made from polyester or a synthetic blend. This golf-oriented garment well suits the intended homage to Tiger Woods’s Sunday attire as well as Ron’s competitive nature. The shirt appears to be a size too large even for Nick Offerman’s ample physique with the short set-in sleeves bunching over his elbows. The shirt has three gray-toned plastic buttons on the top, although Ron typically only buttons the bottom one, occasionally exposing glimpses of his white sleeveless undershirt beneath it.
There appears to be a red-stitched manufacturer’s logo just above the edge of the left sleeve that appears to be the shape of a “U” or “V”. Folks better versed in performance attire – or perhaps the Parks and Recreation wardrobe team – may be able to shed more light on this.
If you’re looking to channel Ron (or Tiger, for that matter) in the future, Hanes offers an affordable and better-fitting performance polo available through Amazon. Of course, Tiger’s longtime association with Nike may make that brand’s Victory polo in “university red” a better match – also available on Amazon.
Ron continues his Tiger-inspired look with a pair of black slacks. Both of the outfit’s second season appearances find him in black double reverse-pleated wool trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, button-through back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms. His black leather belt has a rectangular gold-toned single-prong buckle.
Ron seems to have a knack for getting other men to unknowingly comment on his wardrobe before they are subjected to the knowledge that he is wearing it after a romp with their own romantic interest. “Hey, Ron… great red shirt!” compliments the energetic Chris Traeger (Rob Lowe) in “Lucky” (Episode 4.18) before learning that Ron is celebrating his one night stand with Linda (Danielle Bisutti).
For this fourth season appearance, Ron is wearing essentially the same outfit as the second season but he has swapped in a pair of flat front trousers and a belt with a silver-toned steel buckle.
Better suited for his professional surroundings than on the green, Ron wears a pair of black leather bluchers that are a frequent element of his office attire, worn with black socks.
If you’re the sort of person who’s curious about Ron Swanson’s underwear, the previous day’s mad dash into a motel reveals his forest green cotton briefs, an appropriate color for an outdoorsy fellow like Ron. The briefs have light gray piping.
From the first episode through the last, Ron Swanson always wears a stainless Citizen AV0031-59A Eco-Drive watch, calibre 2101, with a 45mm case and 23mm stainless bracelet. The white dial has three black sub-dials.
A similarly styled Citizen Eco-Drive chronograph – the BL5400-52A – can be picked up on Amazon for less than $230 (as of February 2017), but the AV0031-59A is still available from retailers like Jomashop, where it is currently listed for $345.10.
It should be noted that this isn’t the only one of Ron’s sports heroes that he channels with his wardrobe. When coaching a youth basketball team and presenting his now-famous “pyramid of greatness” in “Go Big or Go Home” (Episode 3.01), Ron rocks a Bobby Knight-style bright red sweater, white shirt, and brown slacks. (Schur explains in the DVD commentary that Ron’s poster of Knight from the pilot episode had to be removed for legal reasons.)
How to Get the Look
According to Mike Schur’s DVD commentary for “Ron and Tammy” (Episode 2.08): “This is one of the most accidentally prescient things we’ve ever done. We had this joke that when Ron has sex, he comes in the next day dressed like Tiger Woods… and this was long before the scandal broke.”
- Red polyester performance polo with three-button top and set-in short sleeves
- Black wool double reverse-pleated trousers with belt loops, straight/on-seam side pockets, jetted button-through back pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black leather belt with gold-toned square single-prong buckle
- Black leather derby shoes
- Black socks
- White ribbed cotton sleeveless A-shirt/undershirt
- Forest green cotton briefs with light gray piping
- Citizen AV0031-59A Eco-Drive stainless wristwatch with white dial, three black sub-dials, and stainless 23mm bracelet
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the entire series. It’s available on Netflix, but the DVDs include commentary with gems like this insight from Nick Offerman himself from “Ron and Tammy” (Episode 2.08):
A very resonant piece of information with the audience… they really love the ‘brunettes and breakfast food’ talking head.
Offerman’s published books are also a good deal of fun to read:
- Paddle Your Own Canoe
- Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers
- Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop
And if you’re curious about the line to which Offerman was referring…
I’m a simple man. I like pretty, dark-haired women and breakfast food.