Aside from the hype over what Michelle Obama wore to the president’s inauguration in 2009, fashion and politics aren’t typically mentioned in the same sentence. It is for this reason I felt it might be enjoyable for myself and my readers to dive into my life as a fashion designer and politics junkie, taking a look at some of the most powerful women in Washington D.C. that are also best dressed for their role in public life.
The names and comments on my list will not be affected by my personal political views. Don’t get me wrong, it will be one difficult task to compliment Minority Leader Pelosi on her Armani suit choices without slipping in a dose of my trademark “pow! stop being a commie!” But I, your humble analyst, will remain a professional.
So let’s begin! I’ve separated my list into Democrats and Republicans of an equal amount to dispel any myth that I can’t adhere to my above pledge to Norquist regarding being apolitical in this commentary. (Wait, maybe that was a different pledge...)
Since I wrote about the irony behind Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a previous article, I’d like to start with her. Vogue recently did a photo shoot with the DNC Chairwoman wearing a sampling of $2000 dresses, amidst a campaign where she personally targeted Mitt Romney on his wealth acquisition and being out of touch with so called “normal everyday Americans." So if not for a Vogue photo shoot, how does Mrs. Schultz rate in the style department which should be an important part of her day to day life, considering she heads the Democratic Party. I would love the opportunity to do a custom fitting for the Congresswoman and my advice would be to wear more silk printed scarves so to freshen up and feminize the dark suits she wears for interviews.
Lets move on to another DC powerhouse, one who I think dresses beautifully for her very important role, America’s Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden. Wife of our Vice President Joe Biden, Jill has exceptional taste, embracing her body while understanding how a well tailored dress can truly put forth a sexy yet serious silhouette. In her role as Second Lady, Dr Biden has brought attention to the sacrifices of our Military families, and those wounded in combat. Besides this, she raises awareness for female specific health issues such as breast cancer. If that weren’t enough, she teaches full time in a Virginia college. Her attire must reflect these very important roles and must not come across as too flashy, or as if she were dressing for the Paris runways. I think she is a hit in everything she wears. Notice how beautiful her dresses look on her body; how they lay flawlessly, and how she looks like a million bucks, without even trying. That is the tell tale sign of a woman who absolutely feels comfortable in her own skin and how her own confidence brings out the life in the garments.
From America’s Second Lady to America’s top Diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has often been the target of fashion crazed writers and pundits for her abundance of colorful pant suits and ill fitting jackets. I have to say, over the years, things have improved in that department. I’ll begin with the object of much controversy, the colorful column of color pant suit, treading delicately not to disrespect the variety of shapes a woman’s body can have. The Secretary has chosen many tasteful and elegant options; its about knowing what works, and what does not, and hope she continues to do so going forward. See how great she looks when she wears a colorful jacket married to black pants, with a silk scarf around her neck tying the outfit together.
From the woman who is fourth in line for president to the woman who used to be second, we focus our attention onto Nancy Pelosi, now the House Minority leader following the 2010 election. Oh how it pains me to admit I like her choice of suits, considering I disagree with 110% of her policies (that extra 10% is for any future bills she intends to pass which I won’t like then either). She is an example of woman who recognizes her position in government, and how the right clothes are part of the right message she wants to put forth to those she meets with. I’ve selected a series of images showing the Congresswoman in different settings, showing how she clearly has a sense of her own style, and how dressing one’s age does not mean resorting to a frumpy or dated look.
Moving from politicians to pundits, lets look at Kirsten Powers, someone I consider to be a very talented analyst and really sleek dresser. As a columnist for the New York Post and the Daily Beast, as well as a Fox News contributor, Kirsten Powers reflects the modern woman, balancing her many tasks flawlessly and dressing the part meticulously. What could be a very boring hum drum dress code for a person writing and discussing the current political climate, Kirsten is one example that dispels this myth. From her colorful dresses, to clean and modern silhouettes, I find that she embraces her own style and she looks perfectly comfortable in it. Looking back in my memory of all the TV appearances I’ve seen of her, there was never an occasion she didn’t come across chic and in control of her appearance. Note how she wears dresses with light cap sleeves to accentuate her shoulders, effectively beginning the hour glass shape. She also threw in a daring purple camisole under a bleach white suit to minimize the “lawyer look” and finally how she wears a chocolate dress but insures it has just the right amount of femininity to it, with the neckline pleats. Have a look at these pictures and I’m sure you’ll agree with me.
Moving on to Republicans and a favorite of mine: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice--a woman who couldn’t possibly have earned more respect and admiration of everything she has accomplished from her rough beginnings to a current role as professor at Stanford. Her wardrobe is as varied as her resume, from office suits and shift dresses to evening dresses and ball gowns. I know one of her favorite designers is AKRIS which is a very upscale line from Switzerland that hand tailors each and every piece that leaves their factory. Ms. Rice is another candidate for my best dressed list, as I’ve never once seen her looking less than dapper chic in any occasion whether for TV, or official state business. She also looks good in nearly every color; and always appears incredibly ladylike. Take a look at the different styles for different occasions and notice how you too will agree that she nails each one perfectly, right down to accessories or lack thereof.
From Secretary to Senator, we direct our attention to the Junior Senator from New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte. A bit about her background reflects her more serious style when analyzing her dress code. Once the states top law enforcer, her role as a no nonsense attorney general filtered into her wardrobe picks, from the business suits, to the one color look. All in all, I think it works for her. Definitely more serious, but clearly she does have a style which she embraces, and she wears it well! Have a look at the red ruffle jacket which is both serious and feminine at the same time. The magenta tweed jacket next to it is an absolute attention getter and is fantastic for the cameras and television. The royal blue dress could have been a bit more “pow” but well understand that she is not a celebrity, but a talented senator and has a bright future ahead.
Monica Crowley spends her time writing amazing books, forming extremely powerful points on Fox News, and reigning supreme in the fashion department. She’s another fine example of someone who’s fabulous at mixing politics and fashion in a sporty chic way, yet always keeps the end product sophisticated. I love the clean looks, especially the color choices, and silhouettes. I’ve selected three images portraying three completely different appearance types with each defining perfection; from a fun navy silk blouse, to an “occasion” panel printed dress, right into a professional “speech” look with tailored trousers and a jacket. As you can see, this conservative warrior can be as smooth as ever.
Up next is perhaps the fiercest warrior on the right, defending liberty, exposing tyranny, and masterfully authoring a series of best-selling books making the public aware of what their government is capable of doing, Michelle Malkin. Born in Philadelphia, Michelle first stirred the pot when she wrote a center right article about affirmative action, paving her way to become an electric firebrand for the conservative movement. It’s this same tone that I love about her wardrobe choices; exuding sportiness and excitement. Confidence and experimentation mixed together proves to be a winning combination for this commentator as she wilds up the left with her particular brand of magic. Check out how she is so playful in her styles, the colors she selects, the draping vs. sharp tailoring, never adhering to one set of rules, which is why I feel it most identifies with her professional life, since one never knows what to expect; insuring a very riveting presentation whether it be in person or on Fox News.
Now on to a woman who has it all; experiences in the Justice Department, public relations, having been an advisor and press secretary to President George W. Bush, and currently a Co-host of “The Five” on Fox News, Dana Perino. Self-described “cheerful conservative," Dana’s background and position today requires her to really know how to appropriate her wardrobe to what her day to day schedule dictates; and it’s something she has mastered. Whether it’s a speech given to a group of young women just entering the workforce, or a key note address at a Republican political function; Dana has pre-planned her wardrobe selection to the T, accessorizing it flawlessly, and always ends up being the best dressed woman in the room. Her style is eclectic, exciting, chic, sharp, and sophisticated, all in the same package, at the same time; something that only a woman with confidence can do.
“I don’t wear heels for a fashion statement. I wear them for ammunition” How amazing is that quote? My next subject South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is a serious rising star in the Republican Party and an audible force for conservatives as they brace for an ever changing party. She’s also one terrific dresser; balancing the regality of being a southern governor with a modern take on a “live your life” atmosphere. Going on The View in a cute modern tweed patterned jacket or a Silk Wool tailored jacket for the RNC Convention, she effortlessly looks divine and polished, and looks as confidant in both settings. Vogue did a photo shoot and included her in it, wearing a very casual oversized blouse over white jeans, showing even a super casual Governor Haley looks every bit the Southern Belle. I see great things in Mrs. Haley’s political future, and am already looking forward to her next fashion picks!
So until next time, keep your eyes on the above women and see if my analysis rings true in the coming year! I think they all have their own preferences to how they dress, and work the wardrobe around their day to day activities some are more comfortable than others, but bravo to each being unique and individual!