Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: A study in casual wear

If you spend enough time watching C-SPAN, you could be forgiven for believing our elected officials spend their entire lives in suits and pearls. But if last week's recess reminded me of anything, it's that the wardrobe definitely needs a change for the "everyday" events back in the home state. My favorite example of casual dressing these days is Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

There is as much to think about when getting dressed for recess events as there is on the Hill, maybe more. You have to consider the event, the venue, the season, and of course your own personal style. But for a member of Congress, particularly in an election year, I might argue that the most important element of dressing at home is location, location, location. Regional styles that might be questioned or even ridiculed in other places are practically required at home, reminding your constituents that you're still one of them. That might mean cowboy boots in Texas, turquoise jewelry in the southwest, or a down parka in Alaska. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen represents South Florida. For her, hometown dressing is all about bright colors and natural fibers.

She wore a sky blue linen camp shirt to mail her Census form:

Pink to cruise the Miami River:

Lemon yellow with cut out detail on the sleeve for a veterans' event:

And a purple t shirt for a high school sporting event:

Now, you might want to say I'm cheating with this last one - this is clearly a team shirt in the school colors. But these kinds of shirts almost always come in two colors - one like this and one on a gray or black background with the other colors highlighted in the logo and mascot. For her, the purple works. But if it doesn't work for you? Switch to the other one. As long as you're not wearing the opposing team's color, that is.

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