Friday, September 30, 2011

Get Involved: ElectWomen Magazine

We've talked before about how female candidates feel a greater need to be prepared and experienced than their male counterparts do before running for elected office. One way to feel prepared is to read, so I have some reading for you: ElectWomen Magazine. Here's publisher Kathy Groob on why she founded the site:

ElectWomen is a great compilation of original writing and links from around the web on women's leadership and electoral politics. There's also a great community on the facebook page, which adds a much needed interactive element to the conversation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Poor placement

Have you ever been told that a woman with a larger bust shouldn't wear tops with pockets on the chest? It's a common piece of advice, and this clip of Rep. Terri Sewell on the House floor this summer shows us why:

The top is a bit too snug too, which exacerbates the problem. Chest pockets and their accompanying details like buttons, or in this case trim, can draw the eye away from the face and your intended center of attention.

If you'll recall, I had hoped just after she was elected that Ms. Sewell would move on from distracting clothes before she appeared on c-span. Not so far.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The hidden benefit of scarves

We've been talking about scarves a whole lot lately. Here's some more! These two examples illustrate well what the right scarf can do (and not do) for your complexion.

Here's Nancy Pelosi with a positive example:

And here's Cynthia Lummis with a less successful attempt:

Do you see the benefit? It's color! Scarves are a great way to bring complimentary colors (for you) close to your face. For Pelosi, the scarf helped soften a dark suit. For Lummis, the scarf was the same ale color as her jacket, blouse, hair and skin tone, which washed her out. Maybe she should have tried something like this instead:

Monday, September 26, 2011

The most pattern-y pattern of all?

Senator Hutchison spoke on the Senate floor last week in support of the Cornyn amendment. She wore a black jacket with a pattern:

As you may recall, we have seen this problem with patterns on television before. But this one is particularly dizzying. And if you're one of my readers who doesn't usually click the "play" button on these posts, let me clarify that this jacket is black. There are no colors in this pattern.

It's difficult to tell from this footage, but I suspect this effect is the result of not just pattern but also texture, which can also bend light in a way that is confusing to a camera lens.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Senator Hagan knows how to tie one on

Senator Kay Hagan participated in a press conference this week on international trade. She wore a brown suit, and a scarf:

If you missed our Tie one on event in New York last week on how to tie a scarf, you need look no further for a role model than Senator Hagan. She got this one just right by demonstrating one of the basic rules I taught that day: when tying a scarf, don't pull to tight. You're not tying your shoes, you don't need to make a strong not. Think more about draping than tying and the rest will fall into place.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lisa Murkowski spoke last week at a press conference for the Senate "oceans caucus." She wore a beige heathered jacket:

Once again, this jacket is too big in the shoulders for the senator. This seems to be a chronic problem for her.

Don't let it happen to you too: in a modern fit, the shoulder pads of a blazer should line up with the outer edge of your shoulder. If you can push the shoulder pad in towards your neck, the jacket is too big. The rest of it can be taken in (or let out) but the shoulders need to fit if you're going to buy the jacket.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Event: Tie one on

Image by Leigh Viner
One question I've heard again and again from my readers and clients is: "How do I wear this scarf?"

On Friday, September 16, the Style of Politics will host Tie one on. Bring your favorite scarf for a free informal lesson over drinks and fashion magazines! Not into scarves? Just bring your burning fashion questions!

Stop by any time between 5:00 and 6:30pm at the Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. For more details and to rsvp, click here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Print power

Last week, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers contributed to the Republican House leadership weekly press conference, as she often does. She wore a black and cream print jacket:

As we discussed before. prints can be challenging to wear simply because the print must be just right or it can go all wrong. Here's why this one works:
  • The smooth edges of the print compliment the sleek, smooth lines of her bob hairstyle.
  • The robust cream color (instead of more common stark white) warms up the color palette and takes the edge off the color contrast.
  • The print is varied, abstract, and in proportion to her features, which keeps it from drawing too much attention.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So many events, and you're invited!

There are so many wonderful fashion events coming up in September, I hope I see you at at least one of them!

Thursday, September 8: Fashion's Night Out
This annual shopping event has grown to encompass many stores in many cities in just three years. My advice is to wear something that makes you feel good, bring a positive, easygoing attitude, and be ready to shop. The point of this event is (supposed to be) to get shoppers in the stores, so you can score some good deals or extra goodies, or both. I'm philosophically opposed to the FNO parties which include a cover charge, which I'm seeing quite a bit in DC this year - if the party aspect has surpassed the shopping aspect, that retailer has lost sight of what Fashion's Night Out is all about.

In DC, the locus of events is in Georgetown, but there are events happening on U Street and elsewhere as well. If you're wondering where I'll be, I hope you're following me on twitter where I will post the Style of Politics schedule.

In New York, there is a truly dizzying schedule of events, both large and small. In my experience, the small ones are the best - sometimes you even get to chat with the actual designer or founder of the stores. I also want to clue you in to a special "FNO pre-game" event from 4-7pm at New York Vintage. Stop by for a drinks, cupcakes, and a raffle, and tell Megan that I sent you.

Tuesday, September 13: Missoni for Target
People are seriously salivating over this latest designer-discount collaboration. It's not the easiest stuff to wear, but the low price point lowers the risk, too, so start scoping out your favorites. The full collection will be available online at midnight (plus a few exclusives), but going to the store is half the fun. To that end, I'm planning a jaunt to the Columbia Heights store when it opens at 8:00am. Anyone looking for a little free shopping advice or just something fun to do before work is welcome to come along - just email me to let me know you're coming. Yes, it's early. Just have some coffee and think zig zag.

Friday, September 16: Tie one on
Image by Leigh Viner
This is a Style of Politics exclusive in New York. Bring your favorite scarf for a free informal lesson over drinks and fashion magazines. Not into scarves? Just bring your burning fashion questions, or your strongest opinions of the new collections. For more details and to RSVP, please go to the event page. There should be some surprise goodies to take home, too.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Haley attacked by stripes

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley visited a Bosch facility in her state last week. She wore a striped blazer (sorry, the sound on this isn't great):

Oh my there is a lot going on with this jacket. We're not having our usual "patterns on television" problem, but it's making me dizzy just the same.
  • The stripes are variable widths and have serrated edges, which makes the pattern much busier than a smooth edged, even width stripe would be.  The stripes on the sleeves are also not matched up with the stripes where it joins to the body, which is additionally jarring.
  • The lapel features silver studs about the size of a nickel, adding an additional set of focal points.
  • To this she further adds her usual jewelry: a cross and a US/SC flag pin.
All these details just completely take over. It's really hard to look at anything else.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Blue on Labor Day

It's Labor Day - a day of rest for most of us, and a day of casual clothes. For her Labor Day address, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson chose a cotton blazer:

This cornflower blue works for her, although the epaulettes are adding an unnecessary distraction on what is already a busy outfit. And while Labor Day is casual, the setting of this video is not - cotton jackets and leather bound books don't go that well together. Too bad they couldn't find a bit more relaxed spot for this one.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Get Involved: Kirsten Gillibrand's advice

Here's a quick Q&A with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on getting involved in politics. Not exactly groundbreaking advice, but enthusiastically delivered:

It's really interesting to me that she notes that she did not one, not two but three different training programs for women candidates before she ran for office, and she recommends doing so to young women considering a run. I'm of two minds about this advice to some extent. It's not that I don't think the programs have value - I've even highlighted some for you on more than one occasion. It's just that we might do well to remember that not only do most male candidates not go through so much candidate training (especially at the most local levels), but the very idea often doesn't even occur to them.

For more on how men and women tend to make different decisions about political involvement and running for office, I insist that you read Madeleine Kunin's Pearls Politics and Power.