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Sarah Palin and the clothes that disappeared

Sitting here on Saturday morning, the pre-Thanksgiving duties are looming, but for the moment, I’m reflecting on this past week and all it held: Sarah Palin, Oprah, together. Well let’s start there. Old wounds have been reopened! I’m talking about me, not Sarah. I was so happy, well, no, first I was stunned when Sarah Palin came on the scene. I remember the night she was announced by McCain as his running mate and being an image consultant, I studied how her clothes were put together and I thought, wow, she really looks the part! And I meant that in a good way. Why shouldn’t she? She’s running for the 2nd highest position in the country. Then weeks go by and suddenly her clothes are the hot topic in the press. Just the opposite of what should happen with a great, well-put-together image.

Wearing clothes that match the position you’re going for is what should keep the focus off the clothes and on the message. When clothes and the position are a disconnect, clothes get in the way. Dress like a surfer dude when you want to get a position at a bank and no matter how qualified you are, no one will trust you.

Never before have I seen such a fuss made over image, over a GREAT image. Put your politics aside, please. Just stay with me here. She was dressing the part of a woman in Washington, running for office, not a soccer mom in Alaska, as would you or I, right? And my head is not in the sand, I do know that the bill was high and the subject of who was paying for it was being questioned–but I would have certainly expected that someone somewhere would have said, “Let’s pay for some campaign outfits for her. We’re putting a woman in the spotlight. Let’s be sure she looks the part.” It’s not a discussion with men, although it should be. But fewer things can go awry with a suit, a shirt and a tie.

So I remember the day Sarah got on TV and said the clothes had all gone back to the stores, Saks and Neimans, and she was back to wearing her consignment clothes. She was breaking every rule I’ve ever written: tell the public more info than they need to know. “This old thing? Oh, I got it at the consignment store.” A woman should NEVER have to say anything about her appearance except for “Thank you” to a compliment. Clothes should be your silent partners, making you look great without anyone having to know where it came from, how much it cost, who’s aunt it belonged too–save all that for the “sports talk” of fashion, when you’re just hanging out talking about the sport of clothes. But to national media? NO! Consignment clothes may be your secret weapon, but don’t advertise it. Just smile and accept a compliment.

I think every politician should have an image consultant helping them with their clothes, making clothes easy so they don’t have to think about them, let alone, defend them! We should all have image consultants helping us understand how clothes can support us in life  through the incredible language of clothing that few people understand consciously. Clothes need to become that non-issue in our lives so our time and energy is opened up to do what it is we are put on this earth to do! And that we allow clothes to be the supportive agents that they can be. I’ve always said, in order to forget about clothes, you need to focus on them once in a while . . . easiest to do with a professional at your side. Then you can completely forget about them.

Okay, enough of my soap box. And I didn’t even get to Oprah. Okay, more later.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    December 1, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Brenda, I am so happy to read your comment. Can you imagine if Sarah Palin had shown up in anything unattractive while touring our country? She would have been crucified, and woman everywhere would have been asking why she hadn’t sought help from a consultant. She looked polished and professional, as did Hilliary, but in a different way. I wonder why these commentators haven’t brought the public’s attention to how much Mrs. Clinton’s understated Armani suits cost! I teach school, and I strive to look appropriate and updated everyday. Your books and tips have helped me accept and embrace my middle ages! Style, my own as well as others, has always and will continue to pique my interest.

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