A complete bag wardrobe...

A complete bag wardrobe

cute skirt, 3 ways...

cute skirt, 3 ways


Chic lit: Summer reading...


I love having the time to read about fashion and style — not just the obvious how-to books that I devour (of course) and my usual diet of magazines and blogs, but also fiction and memoirs on the subject.

I really enjoyed this one on my flight to California — a memoir of a high-end Jewish milliner in Vienna just before (more…)

You know you need a new head shot when &...

Jen_02©Rebecca Emily Drobis  Business Portrait I am a HUGE fan of fabulous, up-to-date, and stylish head shots, like this beautiful one in black and white. It’s just a fact that today, our first impression is usually digital. A prospective date or employer checks out our online presence, and for most of us, a picture will be part of that profile. (more…)

‘Not an empty dress’: Alison...


Just in case you still thought that appearance had nothing to do with success at work and in life more general, here’s a reminder why it does.

Yesterday, in her victory speech after winning the Kentucky Democratic primary, which now puts her head to head this fall against longtime Senator Mitch McConnell, newcomer Alison Lundergan Grimes referred repeatedly to the accusation that she’s just an “empty dress.”

That label was pinned on her last fall by GOP strategist Brad Dayspring in an interview. (Read about it here; more here and here if you missed it the first time around, which I somehow did.)


As a wardrobe consultant, my interests now are: how will this play out going forward? And how will she dress for the remainder of the campaign, with the issue of image and appearance having been raised and brought to the fore?

Yesterday, during her victory speech, she was dressed for the high-profile event that it was — in powerful red, hair loose but polished. It was the outfit you might expect for this situation.

She loves red — and it is perfect for this situation. Red screams power and authority and is perfect for the woman who wants to command attention, and to do so as a woman. And when the rhetoric around this campaign centers on “dress,” what better for a Democratic woman running for office in a reddish state than to coopt the red for her own purposes? (In other words, why stick to blue when red suits her purposes better?)

The entire issue is relevant when McConnell has positioned himself — in speeches and in his voting record — against what some see as traditional “women’s issues.”

I would have preferred for her to have claimed the term “cheerleader” for her own ends, as she seems intent on doing with the idea of the dress. She’s not an empty dress, she said in her primary victory speech — and she’s also not going to dump the idea of traditional femininity as a way to circumvent the Republican attach. She’s claiming the dress — and showing how absurd and sexist the idea of an “empty dress” is in the first place, conflating as it does stupidity and femininity.

Here’s a little more perspective on Lundergan Grimes and how she’s positioning herself.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how image figures into politics in this situation (and vice versa).

(As an aside, in browsing images of the campaign, I came across one of Mitch McConnell in a camel sport jacket and white shirt, sans tie. It’s his attempt to use his image strategically — ditching the dark suit in favor of a look he hopes is more warm and approachable.)

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