Hillary Clinton Could Take Fashion Inspiration From TV's Best-Dressed Ladies
Your editors flip around the dial to give the Democratic candidate a few makeover ideas.
Here in Month 688 of the 2016 presidential election, there is no shortage of media outlets to visit for thoughtful, substantial commentary on the candidates, the issues, and the stakes. So let's go a different way and talk about something frivolous and dumb: the fashions. Since nothing is more boring than what men wear (give it up, post-award-show fashion coverage; no one cares whether some dude's stylist picked him out a tuxedo jacket with lapels 3/4 of an inch narrower than the one he wore last time!), this has not been a topic of conversation with regard to the candidates since...well, since the last time Hillary Clinton was running. And while she's wearing a lot of very fancy designers and has landed on a very becoming hairstyle, we've discussed the fact that she could be a little more adventurous in her wardrobe choices. Ms. Clinton, if you're reading this, and we know you are -- you can't stop tweeting us about the Again With This podcast on 90210! -- we want to help you out with some fashion inspiration from the best dressed ladies on TV, present and past. Let's start with a "once and future": Diane Lockhart.
Yes, let's -- because I must strenuously disagree that our future president's hair is becoming. Well, actually, that's not true. It's becoming...stiffer and stiffer with each passing day. I get that a busy candidate on the go just wants to keep it simple, but the effort that clearly goes into ironing it, pressing it back, and pomading it into that Dogboy oblong is not "simple." Neither is Diane Lockhart's, but it IS flattering, age-appropriate, retro-chic without going dated, and will work with different colorways. (I do like Mrs. Clinton's blonde. Her colorist nailed it.) It's not so utilitarian; I feel like Clinton has problems finding the fun in her look.
Diane does have perfect hair -- so perfect that I maybe don't trust anyone else to be able to pull it off (other than you, of course, dear wife). But yes, if Clinton's team had hairspray enough to get it done, I would be all about it. Diane is a walking look book, from head to toe, at all times, including when she's in bed. Clinton seems to have locked in on the long, boxy jacket/dark pants story, but there's no reason she couldn't mix it up with a long-sleeved sheath in a fun print and -- most importantly -- a bold statement necklace.
I would like to see Clinton get away from the stand-up collars. Whatever the logic is that has made that a uniform for ladies of a certain age, it's no longer effective, because now your eye just goes straight to the neck, and to the crepe that collar is theoretically trying to disguise. I'd like to see something softer -- maybe not as fluttery and layered as Camille in Parenthood, but the occasional open waterfall cardi over a dress wouldn't kill her.
Yes, the biggest problem with her look the night she clinched the nomination was that jacket: I'm sure it looked very cool on the hanger, but whenever she raised her arms, you could tell how stiff it was.
I agree that a softer outerwear story would suit her -- Camille is definitely a great reference point for this concept. And here's a thought for when Clinton needs to go a bit more cazh, at a state fair or the like: Orphan Black's Mrs. S. Pairing a long buttondown over some two-way stretch jeans? Topping it with a cool leather jacket? Pair of low-heel boots? RIGHT?
AND A GUN. ...Okay, never a gun, but yes, that's an area of fashion Clinton has never explored. And here's where I say that I don't think Clinton considers fashion something that she "ought to" care about -- that she's busy with important things (true) and can't be seen as wasting time with frivolities like pops of neon (false; a patent orange belt would look great on her) because that plays into male-privileged ideas of women as concerned with fripperies. Well, here's what: Clinton is incredibly smart and perfectly capable of thinking about peace accords while also sparing ten minutes to try out a dress-over-pants narrative. I mean, you can't tell me nobody is leafing through InStyle on a G8 conference call.
All this by way of saying that I think she's tried to low-tone the idea of herself as fashionable because it opens her up to double-standard bullshit, and also I suspect she's never thought of herself as pretty or soignée, so hurling her directly into the Mindy Lahiri end of the pool is not going to work? But she has a very similar silhouette to Mindy and could easily modify some of Dr. Lahiri's lewks for her complexion. Madame President: stop hiding your butt. This is Kardashian America, for God's sack.
And what better way to signal her ability to broker compromise even in trying circumstances than by mixing prints? Though I get that the attempt can be scary and takes a lot of confidence, and that Clinton may not want to open herself up to that kind of scrutiny or judgment. So she could start with baby steps by taking inspiration from another female presidential candidate: Mellie Grant. Do a classic shape that flatters an hourglass figure -- but do it in a primary colour. (Exception: no short-sleeved boleros. Mellie needs to cut that shit out too.)
It is scary at first; caring about anything is scary, and the press loves nothing more than a "Clinton is the worst at woman" round of stories. But she's calling Chappaqua home these days; why not look over at the Hamptons for some summertime style inspiration -- Revenge? Victoria's shteez is a little villainous-evening for a statesperson, but Clinton could do worse than emulate Victoria's posture. (Or copy her Chair Of Scheming.)
I would also love to see Clinton throw it WAY back to her Wellesley style -- that famous Life magazine shot of her in the stripey pants.
Because maybe it will also revive the tough feminist firebrand she was back then. WKRP In Cincinnati is streaming on Hulu; surely there's an intern who can start Pinteresting some shots of Bailey Quarters.
There really are not a lot of people who could pull off the avocado turtleneck and plaid flares with a macrame necklace and government-surplus Sophia Petrillo specs. If you are one of them you have a duty to rock it daily, with some caramel-colored leather platforms so you can look Putin level in the eye while you decline to take his shit.
She is welcome to borrow my Fryes. I am a patriot.
And if the only way he is going to respect her is if her wardrobe signals him that she is a fellow supervillain AND fearsomely organized? Dr. Mrs. The Monarch has shown us all the way.
Though...okay, that is a lot of cleave to bring to a General Assembly, so I'll allow an Eileen Fisher cardigan with holes in the back for her wings.
Hey, I was going to suggest she take a page from the Underwood playbook, hit the rowing machine, get a Claire crop and skive off to New York for a romantic weekend with an old flame. Your suggestion is, I think, more workable. hee.
As long as she doesn't try to make like Alicia Florrick in the ugly zippered jackets. She's already done the Good Wife bit. That arrow in her logo points forward, not back.