Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

July 28, 2016 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com ARTS

The versatile style of Hillary Clinton


A chronicle of the
candidate’s fashion

over the years



Summer Senior Arts Editor and Daily

Staff Reporter

Hillary Clinton’s wardrobe has

been the talk of Washington media
during this election cycle, but she’s
no stranger to the commotion. From
her years as First Lady to the advent
of her political career, Hillary Clin-
ton has seen a variety of stylistic
transformations, all equally iconic
and defining for the time and era of
her personal career.

Clinton has sported a variety of

looks during her time in the public
eye, each and every one distinctly
representative of the role she’s had
to play. During her time as First Lady
of Arkansas, a primp and proper
demeanor warranted a no-nonsense
bob coupled with pinstripe dresses
to humanize her to state constitu-
ents as she worked to bring atten-
tion to social issues such, including
the Arkansas school system. As her
husband took the Oval Office, Clin-
ton took to stronger, more assertive
colors and silhouettes (later adopt-
ing her signature shortcut) as she
took on nationally-defining initia-
tives, like helping to establish the
Office on Violence Against Women.
Pant suits of all types of colors
become her norm as Clinton tried
to level with her male counterparts
in her run-up to becoming Senator
of New York (and later Secretary of
State under the Obama administra-
tion). But why the different phases?
Was Clinton moving with the ever-
evolving psyche of fashion, or was
there something more fundamental
to her stylistic progression?

For men in business, dressing

the part is a simple task. A well fit-
ted suit and tie largely does the
trick when it comes to “professional
dress.” For women, the decision
is more nuanced, requiring many
more moving parts. Skirt or pants?
A solid color or patterned? Muted
or bright colors? The most difficult
aspect of this cascade of decisions is
treading the fine line between look-
ing fashionable while maintaining
professionalism (and avoiding any

Nina McLemore, CEO of Nina

McLemore Designs — specializing
in professional apparel for women
— has styled many prominent
female political figures today, Hill-
ary Clinton included. McLemore
discussed this phenomenon in an
interview with The Daily, speaking
about the perfect balance required
in today’s political landscape.

“This points to the divide, or fine

line, I would say, that women walk
between looking frumpy or dull and
being too sexy,” she said. “It’s a very
difficult line to manage.”

McLemore said, for Clinton, she

does not have much time in her
busy schedule to consider what she
wears, but still needs to display an
air of confidence in her attire.

“She doesn’t really have time to

focus on her wardrobe,” she said.
“She needs to wear clothes that are
attractive but are also displaying
confidence and power.”

Comparatively, McLemore said,

Michelle Obama — a woman of
similar education and means as
Clinton — dresses in a more tradi-
tionally feminine way, largely as to
not distract from President Barack
Obama’s role as the dominant figure
of the White House. Instead, she
characterizes herself in a more sup-
portive and mothering light, a stark
illustration of the difference in roles
the two women play.

“Michelle is a very strong, very

smart, very well educated woman,”
she said. “My guess is that she has
chosen to portray an image that is
not so strong and not so hard edge
… I think she wants to come off as
a youthful, energetic mother rather
than a strong powerful woman.”

Clinton has occupied both of

these roles in her style. As First
Lady of both the United States and
Arkansas, Clinton’s look harkened
back to days of Jackie Kennedy vibe,
sporting skirt suits and dresses. She
also opted for more feminine colors
and patterns.

As First Lady, Clinton’s held a

role of having to be a mother to her
family, while simultaneously hav-
ing to convey aspects of that role in
pronounced ways for the public eye.
A shift came when Clinton’s politi-
cal aspirations came to fruition in
the race for New York’s Senate seat.
Suddenly, Clinton former image
was exchanged for a persona that
more assertively exuberated confi-
dence and professionalism.

In this stage, dresses were

turned in for her signature famous
bright pantsuits and strong red lip-
stick. Clinton went from embody-
ing Jackie Kennedy to channeling
Angela Merkel, shifting her fashion
as she changed roles.

Clinton’s style remained largely

the same throughout her tenure
as both Senator and Secretary of
State. Her hair was kept longer than
what she currently sports, and she
often wore her hair tied up with
a scrunchie. For Clinton, this was
an easy fix to weathered hair after

hours of travel when she had to look
photo ready after spending hours on
an airplane. It illustrated the weath-
ering aspects of her job at the time.

Per McLemore, hair is one of the

most important aspects of a wom-
an’s look. For women with longer
hair, she said, having a neat, up-do
conveys the most professional and
assertive look.

“I think it is much better if you

have longer hair to pull it back or
put it up,” she said. “And not have it
hanging on the front of your jacket.”

Back on the campaign trail,

Clinton once again rocks her short,
fluffy cut and has kept the pantsuits
— but with a twist. Clinton now
employs an arsenal of designers and
has shored up her wardrobe bud-
get to match — the New York Post
reported that Clinton likely spent
$200,000 on her campaign ward-
robe, including a $12,495 Giorgio
Armani tweed jacket she wore for a
speech about inequality.

However Clinton isn’t the first

female politician to do so. According
to the New York Post, Sarah Palin
received $150,000 worth of cloth-
ing from the Republican National
Committee while running for Vice
President in 2008. It’s a challenge
that crosses party lines.

Relative to Clinton’s world of


nized) style, there’s something to
be said about the stylistic aspect
(or lack thereof) in the lives of her
male colleagues and counterparts.
Donald Trump, her latest adver-
sary, seemingly does not exist in a
world with the same pressures or

expectations, illustrative of the dif-
ferent difficulties the two face when
it comes to their approach toward
the public eye. McLemore says she
believes Trump has variations of
only one suit.

“When I was looking at what

Donald Trump wore, it appears to
me that he has one style of suit,” she
said. “He has a tailor that just makes
it for him over and over again. He
just changes the fabric for some.
There is no uniform for women.

Politicians like Clinton seem-

ingly have to grapple with a kind of
stigma unseen by their male coun-

According to McLemore, humans

are hardwired to immediately asso-
ciate power with male figures who
are tall, handsome and dressed in
a suit. Women, on the other hand,
have to work to break this image.

“We have become to recognize

the CEO as the person in the suit
and the tie,” she said. “Women are
not that image.”

And Clinton recognizes just

that. Her stylistic progression is
indicative of a woman whose self-
awareness has supplemented her
career successes. The kinds of
challenges she has had to face in
her professional rise are far from
the conventional tribulations male
politicians face, and her answer
to those challenges echo strongly
for women who find themselves in
a similar place. From her role as a
doting and caring mother, her pub-
lic image experienced an upheav-
al in her transition to becoming
the politician we know today.


Is anybody listening to me? Bueller?


You know you make me want to shout! Put my hands up and shout!

Back to Top

© 2024 Regents of the University of Michigan