Robb Young has written a new book, Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians & Fashion. This expert on lady politicians who get dressed before they do things says that Michele Bachmann is decidedly more feminine in her attire than other women in politics, like Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin. Bachmann, he says, works with a "softer, lighter color palette and a more refined air," while Palin's primary colors are "blunt, loudmouth." Rich Republicans, he believes, might find Palin's look "out of date." But maybe that's just because she's so Alaska-y, another expert on these matters tells The Wall Street Journal:
“Palin works her Alaska-ness, and that can be an excuse for looking flannel-ly and down-vest,” says Daniel James Cole, professor of fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, who’s writing a book on fashion evolution. “But Bachmann is contradicting the casual trend we’re seeing in the men as a female candidate when we’ve never had a female president, she may be working to make sure she’s taken seriously.”
Whereas Clinton is critiqued for wearing mannish pantsuits, Bachmann is now being critiqued for not wearing mannish pantsuits. "The pressure now is to look as if you’re not afraid to hold your womanhood up and be proud of it," Young says. And what about the men? Clinton likes to remind reporters that if she were a man, no one would ask her about her suits. Maybe the pressure now should be to pay as much attention to how the Republican men dress and put them in fake competitions against each other to see who is more masculine. Unless they, too, are under pressure to exhibit their feminine sides.
D.C. Style Report: Bachmann v. Palin [Heard on the Runway/WSJ]