When Pope Benedict XVI resigns from the papacy at the end of this month, the Vatican would lose one of its most stylish men. He is credited to have brought back fashion that has been unseen for decades, often mixing it with his personal style sense.
In 2007, Esquire magazine awarded him the title "Accessorizer of the year," for his ornate papal habit that the Pope usually pairs with red leather loafers. The magazine pointed out that the pope earned this title after making a pair of simple shoes his signature accessory.
"The point is: Have a signature. It could be a pocket square or a chunky watch or a tie clip, but make it your own."
While many publications speculated that the red loafers were Prada slip ons, the shoes are in fact handmade by Antonio Arellano in a tiny cobbler's shop in a street off St. Peter's Square.
Apart from his shoes, the pope has an eclectic taste in hats. In 2010, the pope was pictured wearing a white baseball cap while on a stroll around his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. On other occasions, he has worn an Italian Bersaglieri hat, a large-brimmed Mexican hat called the sombrero, and a saturno, a hat shaped like the planet Saturn.
But one hat that had people talking was the camauro or the Santa hat that the pope wore in the first year of his papacy. While the camauro has always been a part of the wardrobe since the 12th century, it caused a minor uproar when Pope Benedict XVI wore it for the first time.
"I wore it only once," Catholic News Service quoted the pope as saying. "I was just cold, and I happen to have a sensitive head. And I said, since the camauro is there, let's put it on. But I was really just trying to fight off the cold," he said, adding that he was not trying to make a pre-Vatican II fashion statement.
The pope said that he had consciously not worn it since that day "in order to forestall over-interpretation."