Style Like Ruto: 5 Kaunda Suit Designs & Factors to Consider

Many Kenyans have recently embraced Kaunda suits, inspired by President William Ruto’s newfound affinity for the attire.

President Ruto has been seen donning various types of Kaunda suits in different colours, setting a trend that many Kenyans are eager to follow.  The President has mainly worn the five types of Kaunda suits, including; long sleeve, short sleeve, short collar, long collar, and shirt finish.

As the Kaunda suits trend continues to gather pace, it is likely many people will hop onto the craze without properly considering the right attire for various occasions such as work meetings, gatherings and weddings. 

To help you navigate this trend, interviewed fashion designer Ashok Sunny, who is credited with tailoring some of President Ruto’s suits. 

President William Ruto wearing Kaunda suits for an official bank event in Nairobi on August 18, 2023 ( far left) and wearing the suits for interdenominational prayer events (middle & right) in Kakamega and Vihiga counties on separate dates on August 2023.


Here, we will highlight the top five designs and the key factors to consider when selecting the right Kaunda suit for your needs.

Short Sleeve 

Short-sleeved Kaunda Suits are the most common across the world. 

The suits adhere to the traditional Kaunda suit style, typically featuring four pockets, with the shirt sleeves extending just below the elbow, although some prefer to have them above the elbow. 

Fashion designer Ashok Sunny recommends wearing this type of suit during hot weather conditions

On certain occasions, people choose to wear plain t-shirts underneath, as exemplified by President Ruto when he initially sported the suit during his visit to Djibouti in June.

Long Sleeve 

In contrast to the short-sleeved design, the long-sleeved Kaunda suit features sleeves that extend all the way to the wrists.

“If it is a very formal event like work then a long-sleeved will be good,” Sunny advised.

President William Ruto speaking during a church service at Bungoma County on Sunday, August 27, 2023.


Short Collar 

These Kaunda suits feature short collars reminiscent of the bishop collar or the mandarin collar, making them ideal choices for informal occasions like weddings or evening dinners

“We usually choose the colour based on skin tone. If it is something formal then you do not want the bright colours. If it is something informal and you have a lot of wiggle room then you can choose the colour you want depending on the skin tone,” he advised.

Long collar

On some occasions, people may opt for Kaunda suits featuring extended collars reminiscent of standard shirts. 

These Kaunda suits offer the flexibility to integrate various design elements, including short sleeves and long sleeves. 

The choice of colours for these suits can also be personalised to align with a person’s preferences.

 Sunny recommends taking one’s skin tone into account when selecting the colour to go with.

President William Ruto (in Kaunda suit) received by Nakuru County leaders during a thanksgiving ceremony in St Mary’s Catholic Church on Sunday, June 2, 2023.


Shirt Finish
These suits are crafted from lightweight materials, resembling shirts in their appearance. 

They feature a shirt-like finish, complete with long collars. 

Shirt-finish Kaunda suits are best for casual or semi-formal occasions outside of the office setting. 


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