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Sarah Palin Fashion
Sarah Palin spent more than $150,000 on a fashion makeover in preparation for her vice-presidential campaign.
Critics have been down on Palin for a September spending spree, paid for by the Republican National Committee, which provided her with a complete wardrobe for the campaign, plus hair and makeup consultants, and a few extras for her kids and husband.
The governor of Alaska, who used to campaign wearing fleece, is now apparently donning designer duds, purchased at retail prices from high-end department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, according to financial disclosure reports.
While a wardrobe costing $150,000 may seem over the top at first glance, style insiders say the fashion math makes perfect sense when you consider Palin's previous small-town lifestyle and wardrobe, the media glare that is focused so intensely on her appearance, and the high-powered global role she's going after.
"We hear the number and we say, `Wow, that's a lot of money.' And it is a lot," says image consultant Diane Craig, who as president of Corporate Class Inc. has helped political leaders style themselves for the campaign trail.
"But in the end, with the work she has to do, the people she has to see, the places she has to go, it's not unreasonable.
Even considering the hefty $150,000 budget, Palin is probably not buying at the high end of the designer scale, says Suzanne Timmins, fashion director for HBC.
Speculating that the vice-presidential hopeful might need 10 gowns, 40 suits, and 20 pairs of shoes for the arduous campaign, Timmins estimates Palin would have spent about $3,000 on each gown, $2,100 for each suit, and up to $500 on each pair of shoes.
"It's the starting point for designer labels," notes Timmins. "It's not design-design, like Chanel ... She's not buying Louis Vuitton."
Forty suits might seem like a lot, but Craig notes that repeats aren't necessarily practical on the campaign trail.
"It's not like you can send it to the cleaner. You've gotta have it the next day and you're in another town."
While agreeing it wouldn't be hard to spend $150,000 on spotlight-worthy clothes, Fashion magazine editor-in-chief Ceri Marsh says the amount Palin dropped on designer duds runs counter to the image she's trying to create.
"When you look at how she's trying to sell herself, there's a bit of a disconnect," explains Marsh. "When you are a conservative Republican, who has criticized (her opponents) for reckless spending, when you're painting yourself as queen of the hockey moms, you're opening yourself up to attack."
Whatever she spent, female politicos agree it's unfair to focus too much attention on Palin's wardrobe.
"Women are really judged much more on their looks than men are," notes Marsh, who admits she's a political junkie and has been following the U.S. campaign closely.
But whether Palin's high-priced makeover created a style that will go down in the history books is up for debate.
Craig calls her look "fabulous" and "appropriate for her." But others beg to differ. For example, Marsh's biggest compliment is that Palin hasn't made any major fashion errors.
"I don't love her new look," says Timmins. "She looks like she's trying to achieve a midwestern lady going to the PTA.
"I think Hillary Clinton was held to a different standard in her primary race," Palin said in an interview.
"Do you remember the conversations that took place about her, say superficial things that they don't talk about with men, her wardrobe and her hairstyles, all of that? That's a bit of that double standard."
"It's kind of painful to be criticized for something when all the facts are not out there and are not reported," Palin said.
"That whole thing is just, bad!" she said. "Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are."
Frankly, to be brutally honest... I think Sarah Palin looks really badly dressed. She dresses like my mom and its embarrassing to think about how my mom dresses. Socks and sandals, that sort of thing. She looks like her fashion consultant is a redneck.
How she managed to blow $150,000 on clothes and still look like a redneck is amazing.
Labels: political fashion
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