Style File: Hillary Clinton
Posted on 09 November 2016
Hillary Rodham Clinton once said, “If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.” She wasn’t kidding; for much of her time as in politics, Clinton garnered more attention for her hairstyles and pantsuits than her intellect.
Throughout her time in politics Clinton has held the position of First Lady of the United States in 1993, Senator in 2001 and then Secretary of State in 2009. She now runs for 2016 presidential nomination, if she wins she will be the first female President of the United States. Clinton is arguably most well known in the fashion industry for her fashionable early ’90s power suits and pantsuits (which grew in popularity during her unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid) and supremely popular inauguration gowns. Fortunately for Clinton, her abilities and aspirations have (mostly) eclipsed her clothing choices.
Bill Clinton took office as president in January 1993, making Clinton First Lady of the United States. She is considered one of the most empowered and involved first ladies in history, maintaining a prominent and active role in US politics as she had done pre-election. Her wardrobe as first lady consisted of conservative length skirts with brightly coloured coats, emblematic of Jackie O’s time in office.
In 1998 she became the first first lady to appear on the cover of Vogue. She was photographed wearing a deep red Oscar de la Renta gown, in a regal yet demure and elegant pose, a pose that embodies the way Clinton has carried herself throughout her political career.
In the run up to the presidential election Clinton chose to bring American Vogue editor Anna Wintour into her team of advisors as her personal fashion consultant. Wintour, a popular Democratic party supporter, has been advising Clinton on key wardrobe choices for big moments throughout her campaign. So far her involvement includes reaching out to designers to provide outfits to Clinton, which unlike so many other celebrity figures, Clinton pays for herself.
Clinton’s presidential bid invited designers to reconsider the relationship that women have to power and how it manifests in fashion. Designers have responded in ways that have been inventive, charming and reassuring. They have refused to be caught up in all the old clichés of polished jackets and below-the-knee skirts.
From public appearances to the presidential debates, Clinton’s wardrobe has been sartorially strong this election season. Unafraid to bright colours, statement coats and, of course, her trademark pantsuits, Clinton has been bold yet classic in her wardrobe choices. Her style said unequivocally 'I’m here, and I’m here to work' but they do not compromise on her femininity.
Clinton has evolved from a bespectacled young woman with a mane of long hair and hippy style to a groundbreaking politician whose style has grown and changed with society and culture, each new haircut or shift in clothing is a reflection of the ways in which her life - and the lives of women in general - have evolved. Clinton is both a product of her time and emblematic of it.