When Sarah Palin traded up from her Naughty Monkey shoes, she traded up. According to financial records, the Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 on her clothes, accessories, hair, and makeup. Extravagant shopping sprees took place just after McCain announced her as his running mate, according to Politico:
According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.
The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.
The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.
True, $150,000 is a lot of cash. Given the down-home hockey-mom role that Palin has been asked to play for the GOP, splashing out on Valentino is not smart purely from an image perspective. And she doesn't have to dress like a fashion editor.
However: Palin is arguably the most famous person in the world right now. She used to joke that her favorite designers were Patagonia and North Face, but they won't cut it on CNN. And after Hillary proved earlier in the year that female politicians will receive extra fashion scrutiny whether they like it or not, it's not surprising that Palin wants to look good. Remember that she's the poorest of the four politicians who are running. (Michelle Obama shops at H&M, true — but Michelle Obama isn't on the ticket.) Plus Palin's not getting any freebies from design houses, which typically support more liberal candidates.
Still, did she really need to spend that much money? We tried to figure out what Palin's shopping list might have looked like, after the jump.
Sarah Palin's Saks Fifth Avenue Shopping List:
• Armani jacket $1,295, with matching pants, $575. Total: $1,350
• MaxMara Sovrana cowl-neck jacket, $965, with matching skirt, $340. Total: $1,305
• Donna Karan tweed jacket, $3,995, and matching skirt, $2,695. Total: $6,690
Ralph Lauren Collection cashmere turtleneck dress (to pair with a jacket), $2,498
• Two pairs of Wolford tummy-control hose, $52 each. Total: $104
• Salvatore Ferragamo Nerissa suede pumps, $750
• Jimmy Choo Hallie knee-high boots, $1,195
GRAND TOTAL FOR FOUR OUTFIT POSSIBILITIES: $25,129 before tax.
Sarah Palin's Neiman Marcus Shopping List:
• Eli Tahari contrast-stitch skirt suit, $498
• Kay Unger New York three-button jacket, $240, paired with Kay Unger New York crêpe trousers, $175. Total: $415
• Badgley Mischka Nikki military jacket, $578
• Escada belted jacket, $1,490
• Escada zip-front jacket, $1,850, paired with matching wool pencil skirt, $650. Total: $2,500
• Fleurette belted coat, $1,125
• Fendi leather jacket (we know you're thinking she'd never wear Fendi, but this is subtle Fendi), $2,660
• Valentino button coat, $5,590
• Versace buckle-toe pump, $750
• Yves Saint Laurent tall boot, $995
GRAND TOTAL FOR SIX OUTFIT POSSIBILITIES: $16,601 before tax
At those rates, with her remaining budget Palin could have purchased around four more outfits at Saks and around twenty more outfits at Neiman Marcus for a grand total of 34 outfits. Now, McCain picked Palin on August 29. That's 67 days of campaigning until November 4, so in theory she has enough clothes to repeat outfits just once, maybe twice as we get closer to Election Day — or, with smart mixing, maybe she doesn't need to repeat at all! After all, she's giving televised speeches daily and being photographed, so wearing repeats is a no-no. Look how much flack Anna Wintour gets for it.
In conclusion: A $150,000 clothes budget might not be the wisest use of campaign money. But given the demands of Palin's job, the figure is not as outrageous as it seems at first.