Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A scarf, as I was saying

Secretary Clinton gave a statement yesterday on recent leaks of classified documents. She wore a dark jacket, and a scarf:

This outfit is a perfect example of what I say all the time: anyone can wear any color, you just have to wear it the right way. I wouldn't ordinarily recommend a black jacket for her, unless she pairs it with a bright scarf near her face. And that's exactly what she did here. The variation of two different colors in the scarf provides added visual interest without being distracting.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Give thanks for your style sense

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Here's a Thanksgiving message from Senator Kay Hagan:

What do you think of her double strand pearl necklace?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Collins in color

Susan Collins testified on air cargo security during a meeting of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.  She wore blue:

There seems to be a bit of "conventional wisdom" floating around that wearing a suit in a color is somehow automatically out of style and looks "dated." I hope this example shows you that isn't true. She looks professional, vibrant and strong amongst her male colleagues.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Patterns on television, busy background edition

Rep. Jan Schakowsky was on PBS NewsHour last week to discuss the budget deficit. She wore magenta plaid:

This bold plaid and oversize collar might be distracting no matter what was behind the Congresswoman. But the bright city lights in this background are particularly problematic in combination with this print. The only place we're not looking is her face, unfortunately.

Her best choice for this program might have been a light gray jacket paired with a magenta blouse under it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rookie mistake

Terri Sewell has just been elected to Congress, the first-ever African American woman from Alabama. For an interview on CBS News, she fell into the red jacket trap:

The trap goes something like this: "Politicians wear red. I'm a politician now. Therefore I should wear red." But the red glows, brighter than her face or anything else around her. It takes over the picture until we can see nothing else. No jacket should do that. Hopefully she'll choose something less distracting before we see her on C-SPAN.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Casual and dry

Florida's political leaders have shown us before how to do casual in the heat. Now we look to the Pacific Northwest to see how casual on the water. Washington Governor Christine Gregoire toured the Puget Sound last week:

Governor Gregoire's jacket is significant for its colors: white and periwinkle blue. So often we default to black or primary colors in weatherproof garments, to the detriment of the overall look. But they now come in almost as many colors as our other clothes do, and we should take advantage of the variety, especially if we know the cameras are coming along for the ride.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Twinkling texture

Nikki Haley held a press conference last week to announce her transition team. She wore a textured tweed jacket:

The texture and color variation of this jacket create excellent visual interest without being distracting. And it's neutral enough to be worn many times without looking like a "repeat" - something that's harder to accomplish with a print.

I would have liked a little color added to this look, either in a scarf or maybe an earring. But it's a great look overall. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Rep. Michele Bachmann went on the O'Reilly Factor last week to discuss her Congressional agenda. She wore a twinset:

There are some matters of style that are subjective, that we can debate back and forth the possible merits of a particular look.

This is not one of those times.

The beading on the cardigan AND the shell AND the big necklace AND the dangling earrings makes this look a study of excess. It's so distracting. If you're going to wear a garment with this much heavy beading, you need to leave the jewelry at home.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fashion awarding politics

Last Monday evening, I attended Glamour's Women of the Year awards in New York City. This event, now in its 20th year, has frequently highlighted leaders in politics, including Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Condoleezza Rice, Ann Richards, Olympia Snowe and Barbara Mikulski.

But this year they took a somewhat different approach, and honored "Our World's Female Heads of State" collectively, as represented by:

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia
President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania
Prime Minister Iveta Radicova of Slovakia
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar of Trinidad and Tobago

who were able to attend the event. Here they are from my upper balcony perch, with their awards that were presented by UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice:

I'm not sure if their power was fully understood by the assembled audience of fashionistas (would they have paid more attention with Angela Merkel on the stage?) but they were some of the most eloquent speakers of the evening for sure. Here's their advice for us:

It was a surprisingly inspiring night!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


If you missed it, check out our election night coverage on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lame duck (advice) session

With election day less than a month away, we're all BUSY. But soon the lame duck session will be upon us, and there will be no excuse not to have our lives - and closets - in order.

To that end, you have another chance to get the advice you need.

Who: women, men, politicians, candidates, staffers, policy wonks, political junkies and those who aspire to be.

What: the advice you need. Maybe one of these:

When and where:
  • Washington DC, November 6-7
  • New York City, November 13-14

How: Call Christina at 908-642-2745 or email styleofpolitics@gmail.com for a confidential appointment.

Happy Election Day!

I'm sure you already know, but today is election day. Please vote. To find your polling place, click here and enter your home address.

I hope in reading this blog this year, you've had occasion to consider the way we judge our candidates, particularly the female ones. And I hope that when you vote, you will think about whether you have chosen these candidates based on the words coming out of their mouths, and not on the pictures they present on a screen. (That is, after all, why I'm so committed to using video in this forum.)

Here's Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff with their final thoughts before the election: