January 18, 2007

Do you want your politicians to wear something more adventurous than a dark suit?

Do you get nervous when they get at all unusual? Like the first picture here. Or is it something about the way that is unusual?


MadisonMan said...

I like variety. We need more politicians who will have a trademark look, like Gov. Dreyfus and his red vest.

But you can't look too slick -- Boehner comes to mind. It's a double standard I have. I mistrust fashionable male politicians, but think fashionable female politicians haven't been smothered by their handlers.

bearing said...

I'm not a Pelosi fan, politically speaking, but none of those outfits struck me as particularly odd or inappropriate or adventurous.

Maybe by now it's just normal that we have women politicians, and concurrently normal that they should dress like women, not like men --- i.e., in a style that has some expression to it, either of the person she is or the person she aspires people to think she is.

What would be weird, would be if she (or another woman politician) dressed in wildly varying styles, so that it seemed to express one person one day, another on a different day.

Although they appear different, all of these outfits are pretty consistent message-wise: businesslike, feminine, colorful, tasteful, fashionable. (I don't much like the poncho, but what can you do? They're popular right now.) The most conservative of the outfits, the skirted business suit, is tempered by being purple. I wouldn't be surprised if she has some high-end advisors in this department, but I wouldn't criticize her for that either.

Hell, if I was going to be in the public eye as often as she will be, with people *cough* commenting on my clothes and hair, you bet I'd hire someone to teach me how to put on my mascara.

Again, the thing that is different about women public figures and their clothes is that women's clothes are permitted to be more expressive. I do not see it as sexist that there is a great deal of commentary on those clothes. The reasonable assumption is that those clothes are carefully chosen to send a message; therefore it is equally reasonable to expend effort to try to decode that message.

Remember Condi's boots?

(And we do it with men, too; imagine if the President appears at a press conference jacketless with sleeves rolled up... wouldn't you imagine that was done for a reason?)

bearing said...

madisonman, see, I think fashionable female politicians likely have fashionable handlers. :)

Boy, this conversation is a little bit stiffer with the moderation on.

Tim said...

The fawning report strikes me more than her clothing (although that first outfit is odd...) - for who she is and from where she comes, she's entirely consistent - but for the NY Times, it's nothing more than another opportunity to plump up one of the leaders of their political party.

tjl said...

In Pelosi's case, it's not the clothes that are unseeemly, it's the obviously extensive cosmetic surgery.

Here we have a powerful political figure who goes on about how we need to spend more on The Children. We can plainly see she's spent enough on updating her face to feed entire villages full of children for years on end.

"Mistrust" doesn't begin to describe the cognitive dissonance.

Fritz said...

One can only imagine if Pelosi were a Republican. Designer outfits! What about the poor! Her shoes were made in a sweatshop!

Anonymous said...

I want to see a politician show up for some event somewhere wearing a t-shirt (not white), shorts and sandals (no socks). And look comfortable doing it. A big event with lots of media.

It would drive the fashion folks nuts!

kimsch said...

Al, could it be a white t-shirt if it were a Tony Bahama t-shirt? Or should it be a black Dark Side of the Moon t-shirt?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Al. You mean dress like normal people dress rather than an overlord? I tried to imagine it and after a good laugh gave it up. If a politician tried it I think he or she might wind up institutionalized. But you couldn't imagine the CEO of GM to show up to a board meeting in shorts and sandals either.

Which is why I aspire to no level of responsibility that requires me to wear a suit and tie. The money would be nice but I can't imagine being constantly suffocated like that. I'm good for about 15 minutes and then I'm looking for the door so I can rip off my clothes like a werewolf baying at the full moon.

Anonymous said...

Golden Rule of public fashion - never wear a colour that can have you mistaken for a piece of fruit.

Avoid lime green or banana yellow, but above all keep totally away from orange orange!

Oh and if anyone's ever visiting these shores the house rule is - only wear brown west of Ascot. (It's a racing fraternity, total class snobbery thing.)

AllenS said...

I think that it's high time that we give some consideration to repealing the 19th Amendment.

Al Maviva said...

I don't see what the problem is. I mean, if Dennis Kucinich can wear a tinfoil hat, why can't Nancy Pelosi wear colorful business suits?

And Gerald, I'll have you know that I wear dark suits at work regularly. Your impunity towards us, the overlords, will not be tolerated. You are hereby ordered to proceed directly to Brooks Brothers to receive your punishment. Yes, that's right. A tie that you have to tie yourself. None of this clip-on crap.

Anonymous said...

Two words: Robin Givhan

Nick said...

It's amazing how the party of the person affects the spin so much, even when talking about fashion. Remember when Condi was photographed with those leather boots? I don't remember the initial fashion reporting being that positive.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Considering she probably grew up wearing the traditional Catholic schoolgirl uniform, I think this is just a uniform of a different sort.

St. John's Academy to St. John's Knits.

vbspurs said...

I'm not a Pelosi fan, politically speaking, but none of those outfits struck me as particularly odd or inappropriate or adventurous.

I'm also not into the whole nancy-pelooza phenomenon, but the lady can dress -- and dress well.

The First Lady. The Secretary of State. The Speaker of the House.

Bush's term has seen 3 women in the highest places in this administration, have excellent taste in clothing.

Well do we remember Hillary's hair-scrunchies and stumpy flat-heels, Janet Reno's cookie-cutter "power suits", and Madeleine Albright's odd penchant for scarves (she had no neck, and is yae-high to a grasshopper. You can't wear scarves, since it makes you look that much smaller!).

What makes it striking is that neither of these three ladies, has gone the traditional route in looking good.

Laura and her pantsuits (she put it on the map), Condi and who can forget those jackboots and Darth Vader togs when inspecting the troops? Plus, Nancy Pelosi and her taste for Versace colours.

I think the reuniting factor is they dress to accentuate their positives, and with a sense of occasion.

A difficult talent to have, for either men or women.


paul a'barge said...

I'm not crazy about that whole "scarf thing." I realize it's become sort of a feminine analog of men's power tie, but when they grow too large in proportionality to the overall outfit, they distract rather than augment.

Given that, at least she's not 1)showing a tramp-stamp tattoo and her midriff or 2)wearing one of those shirts untucked at the waist under a too-short sweater/top.

When did women decide that untucking your shirt was stylish? To me, it just reeks of lack of fashion sense.

Anonymous said...

kinsch - I have no idea what a Tommy Bahama shirt looks like. I was thinking Fruit of the Loom when I said no white T's. My wife and daughter say I'm very, very unfashionable... And I like it that way. A Pink Floyd shirt might be pushing it but if he/she were a real fan I'd be ok with it.

Gerald - I left the Fortune 200 16 years ago. Still do the same work but in jeans and a t-shirt (one from vacation in Colorado right now) or shorts and sandals in the summer. I can't imagine wearing a suit to work again.

Anonymous said...

I think her outfits are very nice in those photos.Those are the
types of things I wear to work.

The exception is the painful and obviously artfully arranged shawl. How uncomfortable is that outfit? No one can possibly be serious about wearing something like that during the day other than for some sort of fake staged effect. The stupid shawl is in the way, would be slipping off, rubbing off your makeup, hinder carrying a purse or briefcase, impossible to get into and out or a chair without getting disarrayed and just a general pain in the butt.

Looking stylish and even somewhat unusual, should also look comfortable and PRACTICAL.

Joe Baby said...

Just beware whenever a politician rolls up his sleeves -- it's a signal that regular folks are about to do some real work while getting yelled at if they get between Smilin' Sam and the cameras.

vbspurs said...

Considering she probably grew up wearing the traditional Catholic schoolgirl uniform


The woman is 66 (BTW, her face looks great for that age), and she's still the little Catholic girl wearing kilts at heart.

And Fritz has a point -- Nancy Reagan and her Adolfo gowns always got ripped by the White House press corps for extravagance, but when Anna Wintour put Hillary Clinton in Jill Sander and Armani, the same corps covered her like a geek staring at his first poster of Alyssa Milano.


Atticus said...

It's not a poncho. It's a shawl, which is cool. Unless she never takes it off, which would be like wearing your trench coat at lunch.

I like making fun of Nancy Palosi but it won't be because she dresses funny.

Anonymous said...

Al Maviva,

Yeah, posting under my real name is suddenly not looking like a good idea. *gulp* Sometimes I just don't think ahead! Ah well, it's too late now. No doubt the satellites are onto my position by now and the shock troops have been mobilized. I, for one, do not welcome our Brooks-Brothers-wearing overlords! You'll never take me alive. . .

Give me liberty (from constricting clothing) or give me death!

quimby10 said...

I agree with madisonman...I love the variety! I'm not a fan of the Bush administration politically, but I think Condi Rice and Laura Bush dress absolutely beautifully and are quite successful in projecting two very different images through their wardrobes. As an even more superficial aside, I wish I knew where to get the fantastic soft red lipstick the First Lady always wears.

Christy said...

I like Pelosi's style if not her politics. Red is one of her best colors and I think grey not so much. The older skin fades a bit and isn't enhanced by grey.

I'm so ashamed. I like the St. John line.

Hey said...

Responsible people should wear suits, men or women. I'd avoid the red (just a bad colour for large pieces and doesn't do well on TV), but thankfully she's not wearing the jewel tone suits that too many well off women of a certain age and wome politicians wear.

Pastels are great for women, ligth colors work for the right seasons/geographies, and dark suits are always wonderful. Pelosi looks good, though Laura and Condi get harrassed for dresing well and a Republican would get class warfare barbs for wearing nice clothes.

Take the chip off your shoulder Ann.

Anonymous said...

What's unusual about it?

Maybe I've been away on the farm for too long, but I always thought that is about what most cosmopolitan, professional women wear in a reasonably formal atmosphere.

vbspurs said...

Take the chip off your shoulder Ann.

But they're the rage in Spring '07!


vbspurs said...

I miss Lamar Alexander's plaid shirts.

They reeked of wood chips and Old Spice.