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Independent Counsel

Our nonpartisan panel doles out style advice for both sides of the barricades.

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The Protester
(1) “Hats are always in,” says RNCNotWelcome.org, an activist Website that urges protesters to wear baseball caps to avoid surveillance cameras. But baseball caps are so boy-band. Instead, suggests Bouwer, why not take a tip from Madonna (or Monica) and don a stylishly subversive French beret? Very soixante-huitard. (Stars wool beret, $65 at Lola.)

(2) Vintage may be the rage, but is that Terminator tank top sending the right message? Try Marc Jacobs’s Hillary tee instead. And show your solidarity with the right color. “Red is a color of war, hence protest,” says Cassini. “If I were the leader of the protesters, I would say, ‘Protesters! Stand in line. I want you to have red T-shirts.’ ” (Marc Jacobs T-shirt, $55 at friendsofhillary.com.)

(3) According to radical-activist resource Madisoninfoshop.org, riot squads may mark protesters with paintballs. A streak of paint would ruin your new Rogans, but splash some on camo cargos and you’ve got a retro eighties look for free. How East Williamsburg! (Submission pants, $95 at Amy Chan.)

(4) “There’s a good chance you’ll be trapped in pens, so you don’t want to be standing in high heels,” notes Yaeger. What could be more comfy—and this-minute—than a Birkenstock-style sandal in gunmetal metallic? (Kors Grand Prix sandal, $150 at Bloomingdale’s.)

(5) “Everyone’s going to need a fabulous backpack to put their equipment in,” says Bouwer. Don’t forget hand sanitizer, Band-Aids, and a bandanna dipped in watered-down vinegar to combat tear gas, recommends RNCNotwelcome.org. (Adidas Y-3 backpack at adidas.com; buttons from Revolution Books.)


The Conventioneer
(1) “Enough with the sparkly convention hats,” grumbles Givhan. Just think how elegant the delegates would look if they opted for simple black chapeaus. As Mr. Kenneth can attest, big hair is a red-state prerogative, so don’t let anything diminish your ’do. Instead, suggests Rivers, cement your hair into submission with Nexxus Phyto-Organics Resilient Hold spray. (Straw hat, $95 at Buffalo Chips Boot Co.)

(2) “Washington women love coordinated skirt suits, but they could improve on those dowdy St. John’s knits,” says Givhan. For a look a bit more fashion-forward than Nancy Reagan’s go-to label, Bouwer suggests Versace. Sure, it may seem a little European, but last we checked, Italy was still in the coalition. Besides, if you squint, doesn’t Donatella look an awful lot like Ann Coulter? (Versace suit, from the fall 2004 collection.)

(3) In these troubled times, it’s best to tuck away the Valentino and affect a more populist look. Message tees are always popular. “Political wives should avoid wearing T-shirts that say I’M WITH STUPID,” snickers Rivers. But if you want to make a statement, says Bouwer, why not make it with a little extra sparkle? (T-shirt made to order, $17.95 at iheartgwb.com.)

(4) True, this pricey Hermès purse may whisper “I’m French,” but it also screams “Thanks for the tax cut, Mr. President!” (Kelly bag, $5,000 and up at Hermès.)

(5) When it comes to shoes, Givhan yearns for a frisky update on the chunky-heeled loafer. This pair by red-state superstar Kate Spade is sexier than the footwear favored by most politicos, but won’t raise eyebrows at the prayer breakfast. (Kate Spade spectator pumps, $295 at Saks Fifth Avenue.)

The Experts
Marc Bouwer, couturier to PETA poster girl Pamela Anderson
Oleg Cassini, Jackie Kennedy’s favorite designer
Robin Givhan, fashion editor, Washington Post
Kenneth Battelle, First Hairdresser to Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush
Joan Rivers, Court TV pundit, red-carpet Republican
Lynn Yaeger, “Street Style” columnist, The Village Voice


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