Politics is one of the rare facets in life that almost everything can be measured by. Finance, family values, the power of the media – it is a constant reminder of the influence we have on it and the effect it has on us. Style is a little like that, and when those two worlds collide, things really start to get interesting.
Style is arguably the trait that proves politics to some degree superficial, as most things are at some point. This becomes most evident when we look at women in politics. Ah, women. Unfair though it may be, having that extra ‘x’ chromosome sets us up for more scrutiny, especially those women at the top. Three examples of how style has documented the rise and rise of the female politico:
1. Margaret Thatcher.
Like her or loathe her, The Iron Lady was a one off. While I didn’t have the experience of growing up under her government (somehow I just don’t think ‘The Cameron Years’ will come off as so gritty…), we can all agree she was one of the most influential and interesting politicians of all time. The same is true of her style.
The hats, the pearls, the co-ord suits – all reflected an aspirational and uncompromising style of leadership. The presentation of a bold character through both her actions and appearance make her remembered among a long history of stuffed shirts.
2. (The Force That Is) MICHELLE OBAMA
Oh, Michelle. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… As one of the most highly regarded First Lady’s of all time, Michelle Obama is paving the way for professional women in the limelight. The Obamas, perhaps more than any First Family in history, have capitalised on the idea of the Presidency as a role which goes beyond the candidate, and extends to the whole shebang – Facebook and Twitter providing intimate details of their lives, meaning you cannot help but love them. Michelle (much like our homegurl Kate Middleton) is covered up without being dowdy, fashion forward without being cringeworthy, and utilities US brands without looking like a flagpole. In a word, she KILLS IT, and is more than capable of holding her own next to her hubby.
3. Theresa May
I’m going to cite Theresa May here. Stay with me. Initially when I came to write this post, I was going to hold her up as possibly the worst example of power dressing of all time; the space suit jacket was a difficult one to get out of my head:
It just has ‘Stylist Sabotage’ written all over it. However, after a little more digging I came across a plethora of style-related Theresa May articles. And boy does this girl have balls. I can’t say I envy every bland trouser suit and ill-tailored blouse, but there is a glimmer of hope. She appears to take risks, which for a politician is as common as a pig with wings. She’s not compromising an interest in fashion for a high-profile job, and while there’s definitely an appointment at Daniel Galver in order, she’s making an effort. Which is admirable, regardless of her appalling attempt at being Home Secretary.
What’s important is that any woman in the public eye is not reduced to her outfits alone, but that we appreciate that it is a uniquely female perspective on style which can make us stand alone. The personal appearance choices make tell us about the people we are and the world we live in – and the women at the top should feel responsible for this.