The Internet has exploded in outrage over Hillary Clinton’s reported $12,000 Giorgio Armani jacket, which she wore to a New York primary event in April.
It’s comical how @HillaryClinton wore a $12,495 coat while addressing the topic of income equality…
Michael Quinlan (@das_Q) June 8, 2016
Because NOTHING drives home a Hillary Clinton speech about Inequality like a $12.5K Armani coat. And Now on sale! pic.twitter.com/ooJY8cczgz
Thomas Paine (@Thomas1774Paine) June 8, 2016
But why do we care so much about the sartorial choices of our politicians, especially when they are women? Is that fair? Is it sexist?
Lauren Rothman, a Capitol Hill stylist and the author of Style Bible: What To Wear To Work, thinks Clinton’s style is judged unfairly.
“Women are going to be talked about for what they’re wearing, whether it’s from Kohl’s or Bergdorf Goodman,” Rothman says.
“She’s dressing for the job she wants in that [$12,000 coat]. That requires an executive wardrobe that isn’t flashy I think she’s doing that.”
Women politicians have long been scrutinized for their wardrobe choices.
Sarah Palin was criticized for her half-a-million dollar clothing budget in 2008. Michelle Obama has been chided for going sleeveless; she made national headlines when she donned amarigold Narciso Rodriguez gown, sans sleeves, to the 2016 State of the Union. She also garnered criticism for the$12,000Carolina Herrera dress that she wore to a French state dinner.
Of course, Clinton isn’t aiming for second-in-command or a third turn as First Lady. She’s gunning for President of the United States, with the power suits to fit the job.
“Clinton is in a different role than these other women. Her wardrobe is going to have a different presence that’s going to inspire people in a different way,” says Rothman.
The recentNew York Postarticleabout the $12,000 jacket alsochastises Clinton’s past style, describing it as “dowdy” and “matronly,” while simultaneously criticizing her new sense of dress.
“As first lady, Clinton wore frumpy pastel skirtsuits,” the Post article read. “As New York senator and secretary of state, she attempted a more serious look, wearing pantsuits in a rainbow of colors so mocked that they sparked memes.”
Clinton is damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t.And yes, that’s problematic.
Contrast it with the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, whose Brioni suits are upwards of$8,000(notcounting the heavy tailoring fees that often accompany menswear) but haven’t attracted nearly as much attention.
“I look forward to the day when the media shines a light on Clinton’s Anne Klein suits, [which] are affordable,” says Rothman. “But then, no one would care.”
Or would they just call her style cheap, too?
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