Fashion for politicians can be deeply polarizing. No one demonstrates that better than the Philadelphia Inquirer’s fashion critic Elizabeth Wellington. Two all-white outfits worn at political conventions provoked deeply divergent responses.
Melania Trump’s all-white dress was “A scary statement.”
So while Trump appeared flawless on the Cleveland stage Monday night, whether she intended it or not, her all-white ensemble displayed the kind of foreignness that is accepted by her husband’s political party. To many, that outfit could be another reminder that in the G.O.P. white is always right.
On the other hand, “Hillary Clinton looked presidential in an all-white pantsuit.”
Clinton loves monochromatic looks. She’s worn nearly every color of the rainbow. On Wednesday night she stunned in cobalt blue two-piece number. But it’s rare we see her in all white. White is hue that’s both soft and strong. But it was appropriate: Her acceptance speech was a coming out of sorts. Clinton’s white pantsuit is telling us she has arrived. This is surreal. A dream come true.
One might suspect that something more than the hot color of the season is playing into Wellington’s critique.
I agree that Clinton’s presidential acceptance speech look was good. And as anyone who remembers her problems with fashion during the first Clinton presidency knows, it’s even more of an accomplishment than it might seem. Clinton’s work on her appearance has paid off very well. She usually looks anywhere from perfectly fine to downright good.
So imagine my surprise when I saw this absolutely hideous ensemble she wore to a Massachusetts fundraiser:
We’re a divided country, but can we all agree that this is awful? That it takes real work to make Cher seem more fashion-appropriate than you in the same picture? That — and maybe this is extreme — the staff who put this outfit together should be tried for treason?
The muumuu is awful. The pattern isn’t bad in other contexts, but for a major political figure, it shouts “The dull confusion that comes with advanced age” more than “I’m leading in the polls by double digits.” The weeble-wobble of the jacket’s cut is only emphasized by the pockets big enough to hide millions in cash from Saudis. And the layering of the Hamptons housecoat roadmap/camouflage/quarry pattern with the plaid pattern of the pants isn’t working.
I’m not sure if the further confusion of the dotted shoes helps or hurts. Some say it’s triply atrocious but I think it has a bit of the old “stick with the joke that’s bombing until people start laughing” approach ably done by David Letterman in the 1990s.
Seriously, bring back the monochromatic pantsuits! They work!
I tweeted that the outfit was “hideous.” Others were less kind: “obviously a shout out to Edi in AbFab,” “This is Photoshop right? No self respecting women would wear that out of the house,” “what Jackson Pollock would come up with if asked to design camouflage hunting gear,” “‘For her inauguration, POTUS will be wearing a couch…,” “She looks like Rambo’s grandmother,” “Hey! She’s just been freshly re-upholstered!,” “my long lost lampshade!,” and “I can’t decide if this look says housecoat, hospital gown or artist’s smock.”
I wondered who wore it better, Hillary Clinton or …
This blanket with sleeves!
This weathered marble shower curtain!
Or this camo recliner!
Other people have their own ideas:
Well done, everyone.
Listen, a politician’s fashion sense should not determine your vote. But if the Clintons are going to become among the wealthiest Americans thanks to their proximity to government power, the least we can expect of them is to not dress like this.