August 3, 2017

"The net effect is femininity that hasn’t been stiletto-weaponized or armored up as much as turned into an access point."

"No matter her words, they are framed by a style steeped in cheerful Hallmark history. That is bound to inform how they are received. If much of the administration still channels Wall Street (the Oliver Stone version), Ms. Sanders offers visual reference points of Main Street (the Fox version)."

The last paragraph of "Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the Optics of Relatable Style" by Vanessa Friedman in the NYT. Friedman is a fashion writer, and I accept the politics-and-fashion genre of writing, even though it does have a much greater impact on women than on men. Women could just take up wearing dark suits the way men do. Since we don't, we're giving writers much more to write about.

By the way, I'm so tired of the from Wall Street to Main Street cliché, but Friedman did put a twist on it, making it not the real Wall Street and Main Street, but media representation of it. So I guess it's kind of okay. And this is fashion writing, where the cliché is more commonly from the boardroom to the bedroom.

I hate clichés in writing, but it might be good for serious people to wear utterly predictable clothing. Men have their suits, and Sanders has her "stack-heel beige pumps and a ubiquitous single strand of pearls... a series of almost identical knee-length, round-neck dresses in colors like red, green, black and fuchsia."

(How does fuschia can get into a "colors like" sequence with red, green, and black? That's rhetorical question. I'm just making a stray observation about the careless use of "like.")

26 comments:

Michael said...

I think one thing that deserves a really serious treatment is how Hillary Clinton's fashion choices affected her candidacy. On the one hand, it's incredibly dull to see a whole lineup of guys in charcoal gray suits and red or blue ties; I see no reason to hold women to the same standard, though obviously many political women have gone that way. Still, especially with older women, if you wanna do some loose Eileen Fisher sweater fashion, go for it. Break the mold a little.

But Hillary really took it far with her Mao suits made out of Persian rugs and stuff like that. On the one hand it seems almost like a Kinsleyan fashion gaffe-- the most buttoned-down individual letting her individuality out mutely through clothing. I kind of respect that. At the same time, if you're already stereotyped as an authoritarian, why dress in a way that's going to prompt the Dr. Evil jokes (and, more seriously, make people wonder if you're hiding not just old lady spread but health devices?) It's just curious that her candidacy, so rigid and artificial, had this one sort of bohemian aspect to it, and I wonder if that had a negative effect of making her seem less serious or just weird to some voters.

rhhardin said...

it might be good for serious people to wear utterly predictable clothing.

Shorts and white tee-shirt. Imagine how much better politics would be just for a start.

Women are hot in white tee-shirts, too. There'd be no question that they're women.

It almost always matters whether you're a man or a woman. That motivates the differing dress codes, so that you can always tell.

White tee-shirts would do it, though.

Ralph L said...

What's an access point?
Weaponized, up-armored, and stand down are the next clichés

rhhardin said...

Gender-fluid could wear plaid.

Bay Area Guy said...

To be utterly predictable, Hillary wore pants-suits, but then she wore that Ming the Merciless, big open neck collar shirt, which wasn't utterly predictable, but hysterically funny.

rhhardin said...

Access point is a metaphor. Someday it will be a cliche.

traditionalguy said...

Confirmation Bias demands cliches positing the other that we all hate.
But cleavage will always be cleavage. Some weapons are eternal.

The Godfather said...

OK, I give up: What color is "like" red, green, black, and fuscia?

dustbunny said...

In 'Better Call Saul' Jimmy dresses in a series of neon red, green, bright blue, yellow and fusia colored suits in order to get fired without cause from the law firm. I don't think women in the firm wore those colors either. The chemistry of color is important in a serious world, but not in media or entertainment.

tcrosse said...

Some day I hope the Smithsonian can display Hillary's Oven Mitt pant suit, a truly historic garment.

Ralph L said...

What color is "like" red, green, black, and fuscia?
The Huckabee tartan after a few washings.

clint said...

Behold -- Black fuchsia, amid red petals and green leaves: (and fuchsia-colored buds)

http://eattheweeds.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/p_101448092.jpg

Apparently this strain is called 'Diva White'.

via: "Flamboyant Fuchsia" (http://www.eattheweeds.com/flamboyant-fuchsia/)

Titus said...

She has come a long way baby. I think Mooch coached her. I loved his style of dress.

Mike said...

She dresses modestly, as did Dana Perino (despite the author name-dropping Chanel). This alone will bring out the cultural warriors who don't like it when women choose on their own to behave modestly. If you are forced to wear a veil, well that's cool with the SJW crowd for some reason, but choosing to dress in a classic style somehow marks you as a neanderthal. There really was no point of the article at all, which only briefly mentioned the styles of two prior women in Sanders' job, no clear topic or elucidated point. Does the article only exist to, in 700 words or so, simply sneer in Sanders' general direction?

I accept the politics-and-fashion genre of writing, even though it does have a much greater impact on women than on men.

This is a stupid pseudo-genre of writing which exists in all examples I have seen (especially that horrible hack who writes for the WaPo) to do two things: direct derision towards conservatives for their fashion choices and praise liberals for their fashion choices. Have you ever read an honest appraisal of the pantsuit queen's fashion?

tcrosse said...

Fashion writing, however elevated, however related to Larger Issues, comes right down to peddling schmattes in the street from a pushcart.

Sebastian said...

Shorter MSM: Sanders is deplorable.

"even though it does have a much greater impact on women than on men": Is there any MSM content that doesn't? Soap-opera women and Upper West Side magazine editors are their prime audience. Of course, you could argue that the impact on deplorable hillbilly men is greater, since they treat the MSM nonsense, on fashion or anything else, with universal disdain.

madAsHell said...

The net effect is femininity that hasn’t been stiletto-weaponized or armored up as much as turned into a
......union of bitter, scorned women well past their sell-by date.

Bill Peschel said...

The best part of fashion-politics writing is that you don't have to expend mental effort on policies that affect us far more than what the person targeted is wearing.

In this case, how Sanders destroyed the university she was in charge of running.

Getting back to her writing, I'm caught up in parsing this graf:

"No matter her words, they are framed by a style steeped in cheerful Hallmark history. That is bound to inform how they are received. If much of the administration still channels Wall Street (the Oliver Stone version), Ms. Sanders offers visual reference points of Main Street (the Fox version)."

If I remember right, "Wall Street" (the Oliver Stone version) is a Bad Thing to be compared to, although I can't connect it to specific criticism of Trump. Apart from hiring millionaires, he doesn't seem to have done anything about the recent run-up.

And what is "Main Street (the Fox version)?" I've read Sinclair Lewis, but this doesn't sound like it.

What context did I miss?

Molly said...

Men's fashion (normal business dress) has frozen in time for about 100 years. Here's a photo of the signing of the social security act in 1935. https://www.ssa.gov/history/fdrsign.html

And the men's suits shirts and ties are essentially the same as you would find at a Congressional hearing today. Has there been a time in the last 500 years when men's fashion did not change in more obvious ways? What makes this particular fashion so immune from innovation?

MayBee said...

I would pay Sarah Huckabee Sanders $5 to wear to a briefing that get up Hillary Clinton wore to her Hamptons Fundraiser.
That would be so genius.

bgates said...

But cleavage will always be cleavage.

I misread that as "Butt cleavage will always be cleavage."

Titus said...

MayBee the fundraiser was in Ptown. Cher was there! But I agree that get up was hideous.

Titus said...

Flyovers can't tell the difference between The Hamptons, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and the Cape.

Coasties can't tell the difference between Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas.

Mike said...

Bill might be thinking of a different Sanders.

Gretchen said...

Fashion politics are pretty simple the fashion mavens LOVE anything Hillary or Michelle Obama wore, and some of those outfits were seriously hideous and unflattering. Remember Hillary's outfits that looked like Chairman Mao mated with an oven mitt or the below the boob belts on Michelle. Neither women were particularly attractive, and neither is Ms Sanders. She wears plain clothing, and is a serious person. Who cares??? She seems pretty sharp, and by choosing plain dresses she's taken her clothing off the table for discussion. Sadly the lefty fashion police like to act like women shouldn't be judged by appearance, then do just that.

mikeski said...

What makes this particular fashion so immune from innovation?

1) Dudes don't care what they look like.

B) Women are beautiful, men are utilitarian. Statistical proof thereof. If the female mindset is "you're all butt-ugly, but we love you anyway", what need for fashion?

iii) Fashion designers have more fun coming up with new female fashions.

(See also: men in shorts.)