Friday, October 30, 2009

Pelosi announces health care bill

Nancy Pelosi wore a rose and gray checked blazer for the announcement of the health care bill yesterday. This color works well for her, but the pattern is too fuzzy for her. The Speaker has sharply defined features, and she should wear a sharply defined print to compliment that.

Clinton in Pakistan

The Secretary of State again wears this great aqua color, this time with a stand up collar and some texture to the fabric, both of which are flattering to her jawline and neckline. I'm not crazy about the dark shirt underneath because it creates too sharp a contrast in comparison to her coloring, but overall this is a great look for her.

Regina Benjamin

Now that Regina Benjamin has been confirmed as Surgeon General, I thought we should revisit the day President Obama announced her nomination. It was July, so we're a little off on the seasons, but mostly, I want us to look at her hair:

(skip to minute 10 for Dr. Benjamin's remarks)

Dr. Benjamin would be much better served with a side part in her bangs instead of a center part. With the part in middle, the shape of her hair echoes the shape of her lapel, which isn't really very flattering.

I do like the way her suit fits, with the top button just under the bust - any lower and the lapels would likely gape open, any higher and she might have a gap between buttons. This is an important feature for a woman with a larger bust.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kirsten Gillibrand on gay rights

Kirsten Gillibrand met with LGBT activists in New York yesterday, and I like everything about what she wore except the color. I don't think this much black is doing her fair skin any favors. Even if she had swapped out the black shell under the jacket for a color (pink?) that would have been enough.

But her makeup is lovely. Rose shades work very well with her hair and eye color. The necklace is a good length for the shape of her face, and having two strands instead of one adds some visual interest.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Andrea Mitchell interviews Nancy Pelosi on being a woman in Congress

Nancy Pelosi discussed being a woman in Congress with Andrea Mitchell this week. The segment is about 10 minutes long, and it's worth watching.

Around minute 5, she asks the Speaker whether it bothers her that people discuss her hair and makeup. After all, no one had those discussions about, say, Tip O'Neill. Nancy Pelosi has the expected response that she's here to do a job, etc. Of course, I frequently think about this issue too, and the conclusions I've come to are these:

1. Life isn't fair, and people are going to talk about what women in politics wear. We can't ignore it just because we don't like it.
2. It is possible to minimize some of those discussions by dressing well (and by "well" I place primary importance on appropriateness and suitability, not beauty or trend).
3. There's nothing to stop me from talking about what Harry Reid or Rahm Emanuel or John Roberts wears, and I just might do that. There's just so much ground to cover...

Michele Bachmann: A Color Comparison

I almost don't want to write about Rep. Michele Bachmann's clothes because articles like this lead me to believe she may soon go the way of Sarah Palin in scrutiny of her wardrobe (among other things). But these two recent clips demonstrate very well why it does in fact matter what color you wear.

The first example is from her remarks on the House floor about global warming back in April:

She's wearing slate gray, as she often does. This is a great color for her. Her hair color looks warm, and it makes her eyes look bright (hard to tell in this video, but check out this photo).

In contrast, the second example is from her remarks at the Heritage Foundation in response to Keith Olbermann's criticism:

The brown color of this blouse is almost the same color as her hair, making her look like one big splotch of brown. It also looks too big for her, and appears to be maybe corduroy? That's a pretty casual fabric. All of those elements add up to an unusually sloppy look for the Congresswoman.

Both gray and brown are good neutral colors, but not all neutrals are created equal!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clinton on nuclear proliferation in North Korea

I love this navy/acqua color combination on Secretary Clinton. It brings out her eyes and warms up her complexion. The lapels of this jacket are maybe a little wide, but other than that, it's great. Also, notice that the earrings match the necklace, matches the shirt, but it all works and doesn't look frumpy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rosa DeLauro

I was browsing the photos of the day on Roll Call, and I happened upon Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. I had sort of the opposite reaction to Valerie Jarrett yesterday. I looked at Rep. DeLauro and I kind of wanted to find something wrong with her look, but I can't. She looks great, mostly because she looks like herself. You can tell that what she's wearing suits her own personal style. It's a little creative, a little earthy, but crisp and professional and put together.

I do think it's a little bit hard to see her face behind her glasses, but I think that's mostly just this shot. I looked for some video for you, but it appears that her speech on the importance of women workers at the Center for American Progress was not as high on the journalistic agenda today as a certain someone else's trip to the Mandarin Oriental in New York for a fundraiser.... but I digress.

She sticks to this mossy green palette a lot, and it works well for her. Everything fits beautifully. Mostly, I just think she looks like a lot of Connecticut women I know, and that's a good thing.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Valerie Jarrett appears on Meet the Press

Technically, there is nothing wrong with what Valerie Jarrett wore on Meet the Press this week. Her coloring should support a deep plum color. The clear fittings on the front of her glasses let us see as much as possible of her small-ish eyes. And yet, and yet. The more I watch this clip, the more I see what I would have chosen differently for her. Once again, we're on the jewelry: her necklace is being swallowed by her suit jacket, and the pairing of the pearls with crystal (diamond?) earrings comes off a little immature, like a high school kid wearing her "good" jewelry for a college interview.

I would also go with a smaller shoulder pad in the jacket. See how they almost turn upwards a little on the outside edges? And the color I'm certain looks great in person, but I think it may be getting lost in the television translation and it comes out a little bit too muted.

Like I said, there's nothing wrong with this outfit, per se. She looks professional. She just doesn't look as authoritative as she could.

Hillary Clinton on Sudan

I could write a lot about Hillary Clinton in this forum, and at some point in the future I probably will. Let's focus on today for now, when she spoke about a new strategy for relations with Sudan. Secretary Clinton, who is often criticized for wearing bright colors, wore brown. I wouldn't have imagined I would ever recommend this color for her, given her light hair color, but I really like this. The lapels of her jacket are the right width and the jacket has a high stance - also good for someone with her proportions.

The only item I would change is the necklace. It's too heavy looking and too short. It cuts off her neck in an unflattering way. I would have recommended something that would echo the V of the jacket lapels, like a pendant on a chain.

I like her hair this length too. She needs that little bit of length in the back to, um, flatter her jawline. The highlights are just a tad too stark in the front.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Political fashion history: Madeleine Albright

I'm sure you've heard by now about Madeleine Albright's new book Read My Pins: Stories a Diplomat's Jewel Box and the accompanying exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

I haven't had the chance to get over to the exhibit yet myself, but the New York Times had an interesting interview a few weeks ago. This might be the most literal example of applying one's clothes to the practice of politics I've ever seen. If Aaron Sorkin had written this story into an episode of the West Wing, the television critics would have torn him to shreds. But if you ever doubted that people notice what you wear in politics, you shouldn't now.

More to come if I can make my way over to Columbus Circle!

Janet Napolitano on the Daily Show

Here's another positive use of the red jacket: Janet Napolitano on the Daily Show. Her coloring takes the red well. Her necklace is the perfect length too. I just wish her white top had a scoop neck instead - the V fights with the shape of her face a little bit. But overall, she looks professional but at ease, which is perfect for late night television.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Janet Napolitano Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Olympia Snowe

I'm sure you noticed Olympia Snowe in the press this week after she voted with the Democrats to move the health care reform bill out of the Senate Finance Committee. She looked great doing it:

The sharp contrast between her black blouse and light jacket compliments the contrast between her hair and skin tone. Her jewelry is tasteful but still interesting, and matches her outfit well. This is a great example of how far too much is made of a fear of being "matchy." Sometimes matching is very elegant.

Senator Snowe also wears her hair longer than a lot of women in politics. There is no rule that your hair has to be shorter as you get older. If you care for it well and keep it out of your face, long hair can be a great look, especially if you have a strong nose like the senator does.