Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Clinton finds the separation

Secretary Clinton spoke at the African Growth and Opportunity Forum last week. She wore a gold suit:

This is a lot of one color, especially one that's so close to her skin tone. What makes the outfit work? The accessories!
  • The chunky necklace in a darker color creates a strong visual separation between her skin and her outfit. The length of the necklace is just right too - wearing large beads too tight around the neck will make you look like you're choking, even if it doesn't feel that way. This is particularly important for women of a certain age, who tend to have looser skin on their necks.
  • The jaunty pocket square helps break up the solid color further down the outfit.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A look for every leader

Judy Woodruff hosted a panel of current and former women heads of state for a discussion on foreign aid and assistance programs last week. Their outfits varied widely:

Sometimes it's good to remember that even when we think of women's clothing in the US being so "variable" the variation we employ here is really just a small portion of the global spectrum.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why does Melissa Harris-Perry's hair look like that?

I know I have a number of readers who mostly just read this blog - that is, you don't play the video, or don't play it for very long. But today, I hope you'll make an exception. Find some time on your lunch break, save it for after work, but watch these clips.

Over the weekend, Melissa-Harris Perry devoted nearly half an hour to a discussion of hair because, she said, the subject of her own hair makes "regular and frequent appearances" in the emails she receives from viewers.

First, a primer and vocabulary lesson:

And while that primer was a much needed public service, there's more.

My favorite quote: "It's amazing that it's considered revolutionary to wear my hair the way it grows out of my head." My sentiments exactly - I was so relieved when I discovered Lorraine Massey and her staff, people who didn't view my hair as something that needed to be tamed in to submission! In DC you can have an equally revelatory experience at Parlour - tell them you want a Deva cut, which is dry. Yes, your hair can be cut the way it grows out of your head, too.

There's lots more of the MHP roundtable, that you should watch as well, on the business and socio-historical contexts, which includes Surgeon General Regina Benjamin's recommendation that hair should not take precedence over health.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Soft but strong

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers took on the medical device tax issue at the Republican House press conference last week. She wore a silk blazer:

The color, fabric and style of this jacket ensure that there's no risk of confusing it with something a man would wear. But this is still a look of clear strength.  Here's why: it's fitted, but not tight, and the whole look is streamlined, with no accessories or jewelry and a very carefully coiffed hairstyle.

Monday, June 11, 2012

When tone on tone is out of key

Rep. Shelley Berkley gave a floor speech last week on student loans. She wore a beige suit with a beige top under it:

A tone on tone color palette can give you a very streamlined look. BUT not if the clothes themselves slouch. In this case, Rep. Berkley really should have kept the jacket buttoned to complete the streamlined look. And then I would have chosen a bright top to peek out over the top of the jacket. It's such a small part that would show, it's better to make it a little more noticeable - this beige color blends so well in to her skin that it would basically look like nothing at all.  Maybe something like this instead: