Friday, January 27, 2012

The image of fur

Senator Boxer was on MSNBC this week discussing America's dissatisfaction with Washington. She wore a gray jacket with a fur collar:

It's not completely clear to me if this is real or faux fur (my guess is faux just from the texture) but the effect is the same either way in this case. As one communications expert said to me: "It just looks like she's wearing a fur coat--not exactly the right visual for a party trying to talk about how Washington works only for the wealthy."

Fur trim is a tough look to pull off in the daytime, no matter what message you're trying to convey. But this is a particularly unfortunate juxtaposition. You don't have to be trying to make a political statement with what you wear to make one when you get dressed. In this instance, the statement doesn't even have anything to do with the politics of wearing fur itself and whether that's ethical. It goes more to the iconography of fur. It's what the fur implies about the wearer. Namely, wealth and privilege.

This is not a new issue for Washington, so there's no excuse not to make a conscious decision when choosing those garments.

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