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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Politics and fashion are like apples and oranges.

The other night, I ran into someone I've known since high school, which was a long, long time ago. I happened to be wearing my black Bass Weejuns. My friend not only noticed I was wearing them, but claimed that he always associated them with me. I was flattered, even though some of you may think they are less than cool. I happen to think they're pretty fashion-y. I've been wearing them, in different sizes, since the second grade. Several years ago, they were discontinued, at great cost to my personal style. I have to find them on EBay now which is a total pain. I explained all this and more in a letter to Bass; they haven't responded and I hate them. None of that, however, is my point. My point is that I like being remembered for my clothing choices, because I don't have a message. I'm sort of a fun little piece of fluff.

Politicians, on the other hand, have a higher purpose. I won't say I don't care what they wear, because I do, but not in the way you might think a harmless piece of fluff like myself would. I don't want to have any recollection of what they wore, because I don't want to be distracted from what they said. I want their clothes to be as unremarkable as possible. I've made less than kind jokes in the past about a lot of women in Washington wearing what appear to be black or navy Ann Taylor suits from the early nineties. Frankly, I think that's just fine; nothing could be less memorable.

Not surprisingly, female politicians catch more flack for their clothing choices than men. Of course we all heard about John Edwards' four hundred dollar haircut, but that's the exception, not the rule. Men have a nice uniform, for every occasion. They rarely violate the code. I did notice, at a recent debate, that Senator Edwards chose a pale blue, flowered tie. Why? To go with his frou -frou haircut? The fact that I remember the tie at all proves that it was just too flashy.

Women don't have uniforms, yet. There have been attempts in the past, like the recently revived blouse with the attached scarfy-thing at the neck. It failed as a uniform and seems to have been revived as a retro fashion statement. I guess the black or navy Ann Taylor suit from the nineties comes close, but it's not very well cut, is it? I'm not sure if we women could ever settle on a uniform. After all, different body types call for different clothes, n'est-ce pas? I think Senator Clinton comes as close to giving us a prototype for a woman's business uniform as possible. I have no recollection of most of what she's worn. I think the way she dresses is perfect, neither in nor out of fashion, neither too flashy nor too staid. I'm thrilled to see that she doesn't waste time reading magazines about clothes. It chaps my you-know-what that people even mention the clothes of politicians. If she wants to show a teeny, tiny bit of cleavage every now and then, can you blame her? She is a beautiful woman after all, which is hardly her fault. And she doesn't even have to spend four hundred dollars on her hair.

Namasté, y'all!

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