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Brown comes bottom of best-dressed list

It's not the suits, it seems, but the success of the men wearing them that counts

Take a dark suit, a crisp white shirt and a snazzy tie; it might be a recipe for sartorial success for a Hollywood heartthrob, but it's a fashion disaster when worn by Britain's Prime Minister.

Or so says GQ, the men's magazine whose staff choose the best- and worst-dressed men of the year. One man in a suit – Gordon Brown – was voted the worst-dressed while another – actor Robert Pattinson – was voted best-dressed.

The evidence suggests it is not just the suit that makes the fashion icon but the success of the man inside it: while last year was an unparalleled success for Pattinson, 23, who won hearts with his lead role in the vampire blockbuster Twilight films, it has been less glittering for Britain's embattled premier.

Now, his fashion credentials have slumped too, sinking from last year's third worst-dressed to being first in this year's rankings. GQ staff deemed Mr Brown's fashion sense as "anything but a prime example of British style".

James Sherwood, a men's fashion writer and author of The London Cut: Savile Row Bespoke Tailoring, said the styles of Gordon Brown and Robert Pattinson can't be judged on a level playing field.

"The former is a rather dour, middle-aged prime minister, dressing for his political survival in unassuming made-to-measure suits.

"The latter is the hot new Hollywood poster boy, dressing to dazzle teenage girls on the world's red carpets in suits most probably chosen by a fleet of stylists," he said. "It would go against every fibre in Brown's body to be identified as well-dressed."

The Conde Nast magazine gave a high vote to the Conservative party leader, David Cameron, who came eighth in the list of best dressers.

Professor Iain Webb, fashion writer and academic at Central St Martins, said Mr Cameron's PR background may inform his slick dressing.

"It's probably a case of Cameron wanting to present a total package which gets him on to best dressed lists in magazines like GQ," he said. Mr Brown was not the only politician to suffer indignity. He was joined by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, in third place, the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Il, in eighth, and the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who was likened to "Charlie Chaplin ... with a touch of Laurel and Hardy, more Hardy than Laurel", in fourth.