stuck in the mittle

Is Ann Romney Sending Secret Messages With Her Clothing?

Please explain. Photo: CBS Photo Archive/2012 CBS Photo Archive

First Lady Michelle Obama has been hailed as a woman of the people because she frequently pairs designer outfits with items from stores found in the average suburban mall. Now Ann Romney is taking Obama’s every-woman approach a step further by sporting ensembles that, to put it delicately, clearly weren’t devised by a fashion stylist.

Today, the New York Times attempts to get to the bottom of Ann Romney’s confoundingly inconsistent campaign style (catalogued here by The Cut). Though her husband’s conservative fashion choices sometimes make it seem like he’s auditioning for a movie about a guy running for president, so far she’s eschewed the brightly colored dress-suits and boring cardigans favored by many politicians’ wives. Instead, Romney has been spotted “Wearing breezy wrap dresses, form-fitting sheaths or mismatched prints that cautiously flirt with runway trends.” And let’s not forget her defining fashion moment thus far: The $990 Reed Krakoff blouse emblazoned with a giant seagull soaring into her armpit.

Experts are divided on what message Romney is trying to send to the American public with her fashion choices. Image consultant Sandy Dumont tells the Times that this may be a “deliberate” effort to counter her husband “because he’s such a stiff thing.” (Though Esquire notes that the candidate let loose recently by only rolling his sleeves to mid-forearm.) Another theory is that she’s purposely wearing less sophisticated outfits to show that just because someone own horses and enjoys dressage (whatever the hell that is), doesn’t mean they aren’t relatable. In fact, one of her wrap dresses is so generic that it might have come from Target! (Though fashion sleuths say it totally didn’t.)

Political analyst Taylor Marsh has come up with a more shocking theory, based on Romney’s bird-print top. “I hadn’t seen her do something so individual,” she explains. “I really think she was saying: ‘This is who I am. I like this shirt. So take your best shot.’” Surely a political spouse couldn’t simply be wearing clothes they like. Let’s keep studying that seagull to see if it’s sending some kind of subliminal message on behalf of the GOP.

Ann Romney’s Secret Clothing Agenda