Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When is a disaster area like a baby?

Senator Kay Hagan surveyed damage from Hurricane Irene this week on the eastern shore of North Carolina. She wore a white shirt:

This crisp button-down shirt paired with dark slacks is a bit more formal than Senator Landrieu's polo shirts, but still appropriate for the situation, provided you have access to an iron. She looks authoritative while also having literally rolled up her sleeves in a messy situation.

I would have perhaps not chosen such large earrings, though. Imagine a disaster area is like a baby - you might lose anything that's dangling or delicate.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Visual pinball

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin spoke to the Washington Times editorial board last week. She wore a white shirt and black blazer:

The governor has five distinct visual focal points in this outfit, causing your eye to bounce from one to the next like a pinball:

large embroidered crest *PING!* gold button *PING!* sparkly brooch *PING!* diamond cross pendant *PING!* chunky earring *PING!*

Try to stick to one or two strong visual details in an outfit. Your audience won't notice enough to be grateful, and that's the whole point.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Consdier more than just the date for white shoes

Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta participated in a formal "conversation" at National Defense University. Secretary Clinton wore a signature monochrome pantsuit and white pumps:

You've probably heard the "rule" before about no white after Labor Day (or before Memorial Day), and this rule is most commonly applied to shoes and bags specifically. Whether you adhere to this rule or you don't, there's more to consider when choosing a white shoe than just the calendar. A white shoe or bag will "pop" or stand out significantly more when it's close to another, colored item of clothing. In this case, her pants come very close and touch her shoes (obviously) which makes the white color stand out. They also stand out as the only non-blue part of her outfit, on a stage where she is visible from head to toe.

My advice in this case would probably not be to draw the eye down to the shoes in this way, so I would recommend a beige shoe instead. It's still light and summery, but would blend more seamlessly in to the rest of the look.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Get Involved: Running Start

And now for the next installment of our Get Involved series: Running Start.

Running Start stands out in it mission to get not just women involved in politics, but very young women and girls. You can read more about their mission and programs on their website here. I had the opportunity a few months ago to attend an event for DC interns and young professionals with Rep. Jackie Speier, and it was clear that they view their mission as not just training and organizing, but inspiring young women, and they know just how to do it.

They recently awarded the first Christina Taylor Green Scholarship award, and I could tell you about it, but I'd rather let Diane Sawyer do it:

Ellie Van Houtte wrote a great post about this organization as well, which you should definitely check out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wardrobe versatility

Are you a new employee at the EPA? Because if you are, you may have seen this message from Administrator Lisa P. Jackson:

For this appearance, Ms. Jackson chose a white jacket and a black top with a very unusual neckline. It features a keyhole opening in the center, with a metal and fabric chain that goes up around her neck, presumably like a halter. Technically, there's nothing wrong with this top. It doesn't show too much skin or cut to low and reveal cleavage.

But the feeling of it, the spirit of it is sexy. The whole idea of a keyhole is to reveal a little bit of skin for the purpose of suggesting more skin. The chain going from her neckline up around her neck all attached demands visual attention that makes you wonder how it works, and how she got it on this morning. A regular top with a regular necklace doesn't do that, even though the lines are very similar. I wouldn't recommend it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Connecticut State Rep. Pat Widlitz recorded a message last week about a paint recycling law the legislature just passed. She wore black and white:

The lines of this outfit are perfect. The jacket fits her, the scarf is elegantly arranged at her neckline without being too fussy. But the black and white color palette is much too harsh for her.

Some color near the face would have served her much better, with a lower level of contrast. Maybe like this:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bachmann wins in white

As you probably know by now, Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll this weekend. She wore a white suit:

This suit returns to her achromatic theme of campaign dressing, and although it's not as business-like as the black and gray we've seen in her campaign announcement or the debates, it's still a far cry from the soft sweater sets of last year. The jacket is shaped and darted, but noticeably loose on her body, a clear attempt to avoid too much body-consciousness in her clothes. Although the long nails point back towards that overt femininity, it's still notable that her look is less girly-girl than it used to be.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's baaack!

Color has returned to Michele Bachmann's official campaign wardrobe. And not just any color.

For this Iowa campaign ad, she wore canary yellow:

After weeks of gray, Rep. Bachmann appears to have chosen a jacket for this video that we saw at least once before: when she introduced Sarah Palin at a Minnesota campaign rally last April.

This choice is significant for two reasons:
1. It diverges from her apparent strategy of trying to look more "neutral" by wearing mostly gray, black and white and toning down her jewelry, at least in the mainstream press.
2. The previous look was widely commented on as being unserious and dated, although that may have just been a result of her close proximity to Palin's outrageously over-accessorized look that day.

This jacket is actually a lot more successful in this video because she's by herself and in a natural setting, which can offset the bright saturation of the color. When she was surrounded by other people in harsh stage lighting at the rally, the color drowned her out. This jacket depends heavily on context.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The stunning return of Gabrielle Giffords

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made an unexpected but timely return to the House yesterday. She wore blue:

No commentary here, I just wanted you to see the footage. May none of you ever need advice for what to wear after something as terrible as what this woman has been through.