Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Political fashion history: Geraldine Ferraro 1984

March is Women's History Month, so let's have a look back at what women in politics were wearing in the past. Today: Geraldine Ferraro's Vice-Presidential run in 1984.

When I started looking at some of the iconic press photographs from the campaign, I was struck by how feminine her look was. For example, here's her Time Magazine cover from July 23, 1984:

She's wearing a dress and long pearls. Not a suit, not black. Of course, this dress is that bright red that we know so well in politics today as The Red Jacket. But there's no hint here of "dressing like a man" that we hear about (and fear) for women in politics today.

The shapes she wore were feminine too. Look at this campaign photo:
Dusty blue, pearls again, and a soft shape to the dress with a decidedly girly short-sleeved jacket.

We can contrast this with what Sarah Palin wore as a vice-presidential candidate 24 years later:
While this Valentino jacket later became infamous for its price point, no one argued with it style, which was structured, covered up and achromatic. Practically the polar opposite of Ferraro's red, delicate dress. I'm not sure if this is progress or not, but it's notable.

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