Robin Givhan points — ouch — it out:
... the cardigan shimmered glamorously under the lights.... she picked at the wounds... The fashion industry may have long argued that spangles are not just for the cocktail hour and beyond, but that philosophy has made little headway in the world of campaign politics. So to see a politician — someone who is ostensibly not the star of the rally but a supporting player — dressed in such a bold manner, was to see someone who has come to steal the spotlight rather than share it.Oh! The needles were out for Donald Trump? I would have thought they were armor against all her attackers. All the little pricks. The needle dicks.
Palin’s cardigan was not ugly — not exactly, not terribly — but it was distracting... Instead of listening to her, one tended to just look at her.That never happened to me, but I had YouTube playing on my iPhone which was lying on the counter as I did one thing and another, including taking a bath. Isn't that how you do video of political speeches? Also, I'm not a fashion critic, except when the spirit moves me.
The cardigan was flashy. It was proudly outside the realm of vetted political attire. It wasn’t safe and it wasn’t decorous. It was vaguely gaudy, with a hint of kitsch. And for a political affair it was inappropriate — which in the politically disruptive universe of Palin, made it perfect.I agree! It was perfect. A sweater full of needles. What a message! Be the metaphor. But Givhan should have woven in Palin's use of clothing metaphor. In her million-pricks cardigan, she said:
[H]e’s got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debate on his sleeve, where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted to duck and hide. They didn’t want to talk about these issue until he brought ‘em up. In fact, they’ve been wearing a, this, political correctness kind of like a suicide vest.So get out of that suit of opinions that's killing you and slip into something softly knitted on your side with thousands of needles sticking out at everyone else. You can do it, and it will look way cuter than that political correctness outfit you'd thought was de rigueur these past 20 seasons.
ADDED: Clothes as armor was a Jackie Kennedy idea:
This was a woman who, upon learning that her husband had won the presidential election, confessed: "I feel as though I had just turned into a piece of public property. It's really frightening to lose your anonymity at 31." And who, a few weeks later, in a letter to Oleg Cassini, the designer charged with furnishing her official wardrobe, was pleading: "PROTECT ME, as I seem so mercilessly exposed and don't know how to cope with it."
The solution was a closet full of body armor... [T]he result was a tour de force of optical illusion: These were clothes that recognized Jackie's central position on the national stage without ceding an iota of her privacy. These clothes were Parisian in inspiration and unfailingly Modernist in cut, but their starchy fabrics and formless shapes were designed to guarantee not front-page coverage in WWD... but protection from the insatiable hordes.