As a costume designer, allow me to breakdown the feel good, bad assness of Hillary’s stunning She’s Got the Power nomination suit. Firstly, it’s a nod to the Suffragettes, who wore white in all their marches. White is also the color of Grecian ideals and togas, like that worn by blind Lady Justice; blind as in “Hear what I’m saying. Don’t ask who I’m wearing.” When she walked out, it said ‘Leia / Luke is here to rescue us from that creepy, wannabe Darth Vader!’ And ‘Look, an Angel of Mercy! But she’s wearing pants, and not messing around! We’re saved!’ ‘She’s an alabaster pillar of strength! She belongs in the WHITE HOUSE!’ She couldn’t be more super heroine presidential if you put a cape on her and flew her around the room like Superwoman. Hey, that’s a good idea!
The threads weren’t the important thing last night, when Hillary made herstory for women. That’s why no designer name was publicized (thanks, humble creative citizen!), and the color alone let do its work. We don’t judge the leader of the free world like that. See, having a woman president can put a real dent in the imagined power of the Fashion Police. It can help change what the threads mean for everyone, and that can only be a good thing.
Clothes can be groovy fun, a real life GIF to express our ‘Current Mood’. But we’re too divided and categorized by what we wear. Women are told to sex it up, then tone it down, then turn it inside out and call it fashion; maddening! Men are issued some suit or uniform upon hire, and told not to think about it, which leads many to consider a print shirt on a store hanger with abject fear, because it’s not supposed to be ‘their deal’. Shaking up our stratified fashion system can afford us all a bit more freedom.
Men often get depressed and cranky wearing The Suit because it can be so boring, and constrictive. Nobody wants to feel like another cog in a briefcase clone machine. Let them loosen up a bit, wear a color, fling off the tie, stick a flower in their lapel, if there is a lapel, maybe there’s a Nehru collar, a’la Ghandi! Why not? The PRESIDENT sometimes wears one. It looks good on HER, the most powerful person in the world, so, yes, ‘why not me’?! Aren’t we all tired of men in the work place looking like they’re headed to some dark day in history?
Women; we get the long and short end of the stick. We’re given more freedom of choice, but that comes with expectations laid out in glossy manuals that confuse the best of us, and a caveat that there will be a panel of judges to say who wore it best at the end of the day. Have fun, contestants! We dread strangers and co-hosts always thinking they can just grab our proverbial collar to check our labels. Nobody would hound our PRESIDENT over that, so back off suckahs! Our appearance isn’t your national concern.
As Hillary ascends to the highest job in the land, we can all expect to benefit at the closet of life, feel a bit easier in front of the mirror, because, really, who cares? She’s the next goddamn President of the United States.