Finally. We have managed to gather what’s left of what passes for an adult mind as we effort this update to the ongoing ‘Politics and Fashion’ saga.
We start with a fun story, Michelle Obama once again sporting classics from J. Crew. In this instance Ms. Obama wore the clothier’s duds Monday night while appearing as a guest on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The top is the Italian Deco Shell, a silk twill tank that is now on sale at J. Crew for $99.99 in certain colors.
The skirt is Crew’s Pembridge-dot pencil skirt in a silk and nylon blend, fabric that is described as a “shimmery jacquard.” The skirt is nothing short of stunning when seen in person. It retails at $148.
Crew also has this piece on sale, now reduced to $89.99. If it holds any appeal for your walk-in, we recommend running, not walking, to the online shop, or dialing up your personal shopper at the local level. Somehow we don’t think many, if any of these items will be around after a few hours.
CEO Mickey Drexler and and the rest of the marketing minds at J. Crew had to be ecstatic upon learning what Mrs. Obama was wearing for the high profile appearance. And the company was wise, investing in a paid advertisement in Google search results. Below, copy from the ad, clearly linking the company and the candidate’s wife:
Inevitably the conversation turned to the controversy surrounding the wardrobe of Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin. In the course of the conversation host Jay Leno asks “What is it, about $60-grand? $60, $70,000 that outfit?” and Ms. Obama answered, “Actually, this is a J.Crew ensemble. You can get some good stuff online.”
Mrs. Obama was gracious in her comments about the Palin wardobe issue:
“A V.P. pick, it’s like being shot out of a cannon. All of a sudden you’re at the center of attention, and you want to look good,” said Michelle Obama, adding she has never met Palin. “You’re living in your home, minding your business, and all of a sudden you’re on the national stage and everyone’s watching.”
We refer of course, to the news last week that the Republican National Committee spent $150,000 on clothing and accessories for Ms. Palin and her family. Those expenses include $49,425 at Saks Fifth Avenue stores in St. Louis and New York, as well as $75,062 at the Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis. Other purchases were made at the Gap in Minneapolis and Lord & Taylor. A story in WWD has more:
“While the FEC records do not identify whether the purchases were made by McCain or Palin, the McCain campaign has not disputed the news reports that the vice presidential nominee and her family made the purchases along the campaign trail, stretching from Minneapolis to St. Louis to New York.”
Above, Governor Palin in Minneapolis at the Republican National Convention. In previous coverage WWD has said Ms. Palin favors Escada, and has purchased items secondhand in Anchorage. Many have suggested the black suit worn by the candidate for the vice presidential debate was by Elie Tahari.
In a follow-up to their original story, Politico.com interviewed a number of stylists and image consultants:
“She is dressing appropriately for the job she is going after,” said Lauren Rothman, a Washington stylist and the principal in the fashion consulting firm Styleauteur.”
“In the narrow confines of political style,” Givhan wrote last month, “the accepted rule is to dress in a manner that implies empathy for one’s constituency — so don’t wear anything too expensive — but also conveys authority. Palin has embraced the former and utterly ignored the latter.”
Senator McCain responded to the outrage on NBC’s “Meet the Press“:
“She lives a frugal life. She and her family are not wealthy. She and her family were thrust into this and there was some — and some third of that money is given back. The rest will be donated to charity…”
Arguably one of the comments that meant the most to us the past several months came from the wonderful Miss Kate, aka Nautical by Nature. In response to our post “Politics and Fashion Part 5, Real Yale Students Talk Gossip Girl” earlier this month she wrote:
“I love how you always show products from both parties Very honorable”
Perhaps it is all the years we spent in broadcast journalism, perhaps it is because we were raised in a culture where one’s honor essentially trumps all else, perhaps it is because we simply believe in being fair in what we write here. But whatever it is, we didn’t post earlier on the Palin wardrobe issue because we couldn’t find ‘the other side’ to include in the post.
We believe Ms. Palin and family suddenly found themselves in a situation where it was painfully evident everyone needed new apparel. All one needs to reach this conclusion is look at photographs and video of the family the day of the announcement, let alone the days before that announcement. What worked well in Anchorage would not play positively on a national stage. So we take no issue with the acquisition of new wardrobes for the family.
And we understand the immense difficulties inherent in attempting to procure this type of merchandise for high-profile individuals. One simply cannot walk into the nearest Macy’s with their Secret Service detail and start trying on suits, if for no other reason than the Service won’t allow it. Period. Our struggle is with the folks at the RNC who know better, who know how poorly this sort of thing plays on Main Street. One need not have completed their courses at American University’s Campaign Management Institute to know the impact this sort of thing has on the electorate. Honestly.
In conclusion, we have finally come to the reality that there really isn’t “another side” to the issue in a textbook sense. So we will attempt to lift the mood by sharing links to two stories related to our post this afternoon. The first is at a site called Jezebel (a tad raw for our taste, but there you have it), a delightful piece with some fun fashion selections, all from J. Crew:
“What if we headed to J Crew.com and picked clothing for Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain, Sarah Palin and the kids? We went on a shopping spree and chose election night outfits and inauguration day ensembles for the ladies…”
Above, a collage from Jezebel showing their picks for Sasha & Malia Obama; for more selections read the rest of the post.
We will leave things here and trust readers to understand our efforts on this one.