Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In the height

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina spoke to the Columbia Tea Party last week. She wore a teal jacket:

The governor has chosen well from this spring's palette of popular colors with this soft green.

What's most notable about this jacket, though, is the design details; epaulets and flap pockets on the chest could be overwhelming for some. It works here because of Haley's specific proportions - she is tall and has an average size bust. Women with larger busts or shorter statures may well find this style difficult to carry off.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Find the Fit

Senator Lisa Murkowski had questions for Janet Napolitano in a recent Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing. The senator wore black:

We could have a discussion about the pros and cons of wearing a shinier black satin jacket during the day (tricky, but doable) but I would prefer to discuss fit here. This jacket is just a bit too big for the senator. Notice that it sags around the arms and floats away from her body at the shoulders. The lapels are somewhat out of proportion too, which adds to the "too big" look. Not a disaster by any means, but perhaps not the best possible choice.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How to wear gray

Senator Boxer spoke on the Senate floor this week about Planned Parenthood and women's health. She wore a gray blouse under a pink blazer:

This combination works so well on the Senator because the contrast between the shades of pink and gray is low, similar to the low contrast between her skin and hair color. The heathered variation of the gray blouse makes this a less formal look (as do the big hoop earrings) but the structured jacket keeps her looking appropriate for the Senate.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just a little bit longer

Hillary Clinton recorded a message last week about the 2011 Hours Against Hate campaign last week. She wore red:

Her necklace is attractive and visually interesting, but it's much too short for her. At this length, it cuts off the line of her neck, emphasizing the loose skin there. It almost looks uncomfortable. If this necklace were longer, reaching down near the top of her red blouse, it would work much better, emphasizing her second balance point.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Highs and lows of the budget debate

So it turns out that we won't be writing this week about what our elected officials wear in a government shutdown after all. Here's what Senator Claire McCaskill and Rep. Marsha Blackburn were wearing on CNN on Friday night:

These women have opposite challenges: McCaskill's neckline is a bit too high and Blackburn's is a bit too low.

For McCaskill, we can see readily where her neckline should be - right along where her necklace is. The fact that her necklace does sit there helps this look, but it would be better if we didn't have that extra sliver of white above it, hiding the lower part of her neck.

For Blackburn, her neckline isn't so low that we're seeing cleavage (thankfully) but it's still not at the optimal point. For the shape of her face, she would be well served by a neckline that's 1.5 to 2 inches higher. Sometimes a camisole is a very simple way to achieve this, and that might have worked here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

All about the bangs

This is National Public Health Week, and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson recorded a message:

Ms. Jackson has kept a short hairstyle since we first saw her on camera for the EPA, but this is a new style that is shorter on the sides and longer on the top. It's a chic look for her, adding height on the top and elongating her face with long bangs.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pop the collar

Here's Eleanor Holmes Norton in her office, discussing DC home rule:

Raising (or "popping") the collar of a blouse when it's paired with a structured jacket can look a bit aggressive.  But here she pairs it with a two-tone sweater, which looks much more dressed up with the crisp white blouse underneath. An excellent, elegant outfit.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Not white, not blue

John McCain spoke to Charlie Rose last week about Libya:

The Senator chose a pale green dress shirt and a muted red tie. These aren't colors we're seeing a lot of in menswear lately, but they work well for him.

White can be problematic on television in general (too reflective) and the difficulty is compounded for those with white or very light hair color, as the hair might look "dirty" in comparison to the shirt. This leads many men to choose blue dress shirts, which works fine, especially for those with blue eyes. But this green color compliments the Senator's skin tone better than a saturated French blue would, and it has the benefit of being a little bit unusual.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Scarf lesson

Rep. Donna Edwards wore a scarf last week on the House floor, as she discussed the budget:

My clients often tell me that scarves are the hardest accessory to wear, because tying them seems hard. I hope this example will show you that there is no "right" way to do it, it's all in what works for you and your body. In this case, draping the scarf in a long and wide shape across the chest adds lots of visual interest to an otherwise plain dress.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Great shape

Here's Senator Hutchison last week, discussing the budget and the economy:

This cornflower blue is consistent with her usual pastel palette. What I want you to notice is the shape of the neckline. This jacket and blouse work so well for her because the neckline echoes the shape of her jawline. It's a subtle effect, but a beautiful one.