Who wore it better: Pope Francis or Pope Benedict?

In name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Style.

 

Gabe Bergado

Internet Culture

Published Sep 24, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 10:19 pm CDT

There’s no one more devout about fashion than the pope. 

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Everyone knows that Pope Francis’ U.S. tour is a big deal. But it’s just as important that Il Papa’s threads are mighty fresh. Some might even call Pope Francis a style icon with his chic cassock.

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The thing is, Pope Benedict’s legacy has largely been considered his baller fashion sense. Benedict was always on fleek with his red papal slip-ons and mozettas. Pope Francis’ predecessor liked to serve up looks with a side of sermons, not the other way around. 

While we hate to pit pope versus pope, fashion is a dog-eat-dog world. So who wore it better: Pope Francis or Pope Benedict? We’ve broken it down by different aspects of their outfits for the holiest fashion face-off ever.  

The Cassock

Rolando Mailo/Wikimedia Commons, Sergey Kozhukhov/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)

Both men look majorly lux and lush in their classic white cassocks. Everyone loves a man who can pull off a full-length line of buttons. Plus, buttoning the top button is so in now, all the hipsters in Brooklyn are doing it. But at the end of the day, Benedict takes this round. His mozetta cape just looks a lil’ crisper while simultaneously framing his shoulders in the most flattering way ever.  

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The Bling

Casa Rosada/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 2.0), secdef/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Silver or gold, a classic fashionista dilemma. While Benedict’s ice has that extra intricacy of another chain, the simplicity of Francis’s silver on spotless white just projects couture realness. Yass Francis, you take the win for this match.   

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The Hats

raffaespo/Flickr (CC BY 2.0), valstskanceleja/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

We can’t forget how both men expertly accessorize with their zucchetto hats. Benedict definitely knows how to style his hair in combo with the traditional pope cap, but what’s going on with the alfalfa stem popping up? A cognizant choice or a fashion faux pas? Francis, meanwhile, is showing off his fivehead, a courageous move à la Tyra Banks. Current pope takes the trophy for this hat-off. 

Hands

Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 BR), Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (CC BY SA 2.0)

Palms and psalms, am I right? Can I get a hallelujah for that? But yes, hands are an important look for the pope. He needs to wave, turn pages of the Bible, and bless people and everything. So who wore hands better, Benedict or Francis? It’s really hard to say, because they look so much more natural and effortless on Francis, but Benedict really knows how to accessorize. It truly is a tossup here. 

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Bonus: The Fans

Soldiers Media Center/Flickr (CC BY 2.0), Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

While you can’t wear fans, they are a vital component of every celeb’s image. Benedict knows how to work his angles and show off the garment (especially those posh papal shoes), but Francis’s connection with his fan feels so sincere. Again, it’s just too hard to choose a winner. 

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So glad we judged these men on their outfits instead of what they have to offer the world. We really have our priorities set. Anyway, tune in next time for Who Wore it Better: Pope Francis or Olivia Pope—they’re both fans of white suits with red wine. 

Photos by Rolando Mailo/Wikimedia Commons, Sergey Kozhukhov/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0), Casa Rosada/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 2.0), secdef/Flickr (CC BY 2.0), raffaespo/Flickr (CC BY 2.0), valstskanceleja/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0), Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0 BR), Korea.net/Korean Culture and Information Service (CC BY SA 2.0), Soldiers Media Center/Flickr (CC BY 2.0), Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Sep 24, 2015, 2:37 pm CDT