Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Paul Ryan's clothes don't matter. There I said it.

The internet discussion of Paul Ryan's image has reached critical mass. Yes, everyone from Pulitzer Prize-winner Robin Givhan to the twitterverse is talking about his hair, as we noted earlier this week.

But it's not just the hair. It's the lack of a tie. It's the ill-fitting jacket. It's his overall "hotness."

And now, in a way only possible in the internet age, people are talking about how much people are talking about what Ryan looked like at Romney's announcement: here's Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Beast.

All this discussion of image and hair and clothes reminds many of us of the last time the Republicans announced a vice presidential nominee. Jen Doll draws it out for us on the Atlantic Wire.

But here's the thing: Paul Ryan will soon go back to wearing ties and jackets that fit. And then this discussion will be over. Blogs like this one and fashion columnists might continue to have something to say about what colors he selects for the vice presidential debate and so on, but barring a major gaffe, this will be the last time we see his wardrobe discussed on CNN. There will be no close scrutiny of photos to try to identify the designers and prices of his clothing on morning network talk shows. And while we might see endless references to his blue eyes and "boyish charm," they will appear in preface to whatever it was he actually said or did. And in this way, Ryan will benefit greatly from the accident of his gender. He will not see his wardrobe become an entire conversation independent of anything else he says or does, as it has for Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, or any number of the women who have appeared on this blog. Women must work much harder just to draw the focus away from their clothes. This is why I write this.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The hair ticket

Much has already been made of Mitt Romney's slicked back hairstyle. Now that he's added Paul Ryan to his campaign, we might expect even more follicle-based discussion. Here they are together at the announcement:

Clearly Rep. Ryan has been using some hair products, too. It remains to be seen whether Ryan's famed boyish quality will make Romney look more the elder statesman or actually less appealing. I expect it will be the former. And people are already talking about it. Buzzfeed has lots of pictures, too.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The scarf has it

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito was on Fox News this week to discuss the coal industry. She wore a scarf over an orange blouse:

This look is very successful for the setting. Here's why:
  1. It's soft and casual but still professional - exactly what is needed in these "town hall" style appearances. 
  2. The scarf brings softer colors closer to her face, preventing the hot orange color of her blouse from reflecting on to her skin under the bright television lights.
  3. Although orange is actually a good color for her (a difficult one!) the color palette of the scarf works well for her too, as does the round organic pattern.
  4. See how the scarf is just draped around her neck? Not too structured, not too fussy. Just put one on and forget about it.