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Political Fashion Icons

Political Fashion Icons

by Nicole Phillips

There’s very little in our world that remains partisan at the moment. Thankfully, one thing that tends to bring us together here is our love of fashion. Fashion though, does not get a free pass when it comes to its share of political controversy. Fashion is in fact very political. From the scrutiny female politicians have received for their personal style to the pearl clutching critics who criticized Michelle Obama for wearing shorts (on vacation), women who hold political positions or who are married to those in office, are constantly under a magnifying glass that is unfair in many ways and frankly, something that men in politics rarely encounter.

Fashion itself, for the most part, is non-partisan. It transcends party lines and regardless if your heart bleeds blue or red, we lovers of fashion can unite in admiring the style of some of the most powerful women in the country. We can be not only inspired by their spirit but their enviable wardrobe as well.

Here is a look at some of the most notable women in the political world, past and present and the looks inspired by them

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

A champion for equality and gender discrimination, Ginsberg served as the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court. Her judicial sartorial style was conservative with a hint of flare, most notably seen in her elaborate and sometimes ornate collars and statement clip-on earrings. Small but mighty, people always took notice when the notorious dissenter spoke. Naturally, a subtle nod to the supreme style maker is a blouse with an exaggerated collar and understated detail.

Kamala Harris

This herstory making Vice Presidential running mate is not known for over the top fashion choices. Her style is simple, sleek and chic but fits her ambitious personality. We’ve seen her step out in the forever classic, Chuck Taylors which she has paired with a perfectly tailored blazer, skinny jeans and her signature pearls of course! We’re inspired by her effortless, get-the-job-done, style and we’ll be wearing a great plaid blazer to try and recreate her looks.

Jackie Kennedy

When people think of fashion and first ladies, Jackie O is likely to come to mind immediately. After all, she is and will forever be known as one of the most undeniably iconic women in fashion. From her oversized sunglasses to her Chanel suits, Kennedy knew that being a first lady meant that she would constantly be in the public eye, so she dressed accordingly. We’re inspired by her love of color, boat necks and sheath dresses. This timeless dress is something we could easily imagine her wearing.

Hillary Clinton

Say what you will about the politician, diplomat, lawyer, writer, public speaker, former senator, Secretary of State and first lady, her style has evolved dramatically over the years. From her matching, pastel skirt suits when she was a first lady to her iconic power pantsuits that she has said were an anti-distraction in hopes people would focus on what she was saying versus wearing. Who doesn’t love a beautifully tailored pants suit to help you get the job done?

AOC

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — the youngest woman to ever serve in the United States Congress and someone who is known for her brilliant speeches and fearlessness when met with opposition from male powerhouses, has also sparked controversy with her style over the past few years. From her signature bold, red lip and gold hoops, AOC keeps it chic with bodycon mini dresses and bright color. One of our favorite looks was a beautiful, chiffon dress she wore to a summit in Copenhagen that we are inspired by for the holidays.

Nancy Reagan

An actress and then a first lady, Nancy Reagan had a personality that matched her charismatic and notable actor husband who served as President during the 1980s. A fiercely devoted wife and lover of extravagance, Reagan was also an unconventional first lady, hiring an astrologer to help protect her husband after an attempted assassination. The former first lady was glamorous and her signature color, red will forever keep Reagan the iconic, glamorous star she was born to be.

Condoleezza Rice

American diplomat, political scientist, civil servant, and professor who was the first female African-American Secretary of State and the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor, Rice is truly a woman to be admired. While she was more known for her leadership style than her fashion style, her fashion choices remained understated but classically feminine. We’d sometimes see her in a colorful dress at big events, but it was her structured blazers that stood out and is a constant wardrobe staple for working women.

Michelle Obama

What can we say about Michelle Obama? She will forever be known as a former first lady that holds the title of iconic, style maker. Not just a former first lady, but attorney and author too, Obama is someone young women will eternally look up to. Her fashion choices have met their share of controversy though, from wearing shorts on vacation to her sleeveless dresses, but we think her style was perfection. We love her use of prints and interesting necklines, which is why when we see a beautifully printed A-line dress, we will always think of the stylish former first lady.

Sonia Sotomayor

The first Hispanic and Latina member of the highest court in the nation, Sotomayor is a force in the courthouse that is to be admired. Known for her blunt and direct demeanor, she plays no games and during her confirmation hearings she was warned to keep her nails neutral — which she did. Then at her confirmation reception celebrating her appointment, she proudly showed off her iconic red nails (which also is said to have inspired fellow Bronx native, AOC.) While Sotomayor likes a bold nail, she keeps it reserved when it comes to style, and you can find her frequently wearing a great, classic, power blazer.

Stacey Abrams

American politician, lawyer, voting rights activist, and author who served in the Georgia House of Representatives, Abrams became a household name when she ran for Governor for Georgia in 2018. Founder of Fair Fight Action, an organization to address voter suppression, Abrams is a political figure that we’ll sure be seeing more of. We love Abram’s effortless, tailored suits but her blue dresses with interesting necklines is what gets our fashion hearts going.

Sandra Day O'Connor

The first woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court, O’Connor is a name that even if you’re not into politics, you know, and why her legacy will live on forever. She grew up on her family’s ranch in Arizona and her style remained somewhat modest and utilitarian throughout her career. She was a meticulous and methodical judge and her fashion, though reserved, reflected her nature. We’re inspired by her understated and unassuming outfits that kept people focused on her words more than her wardrobe.

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