The world is all a-flutter over the cost of Sarah Palin's new wardrobe acquisitions. According to Politico.com, the Republican vice-presidential candidate recently spent $150,000 on clothing from Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. The issue appears to be not that Palin is going for an image upgrade, but that it is being done on the the Republican party's dollar.
Since jumping into the political limelight alongside John McCain, Sarah Palin's image has been scrutinized. Her hair, her glasses, her shoes -- well, everything, really -- have all been up for comment. A quick Google search shows just how many out there have something to say. Much of it is good; her "soccer mom" style has resonated with many women.
But Sarah Palin was facing accusations that she was not President material...something every VP ought to be...and her image had a great deal to do with this. "Soccer mom" just won't cut it when it comes to putting our trust in someone as a potential leader of the country. We associate image so strongly with authority, with ability, and even with intelligence. The hair, the glasses, the shoes all "mean" something to us...they send a message. And the message was the wrong one. Not for soccer moms across the world who adore her down-to-earth style. But for those looking to cast a vote for a competent vice-president. With this in mind, it is no surprise that a makeover was in order.
But what about the issue of the money? I agree with what Senior New Yorker editor Hendrik Hertberg had to say concerning the use of the party's funds: that all of her clothes cost less than showing a single 30-second spot a single time on a single network during prime time.
"Forking a little dough over to Nieman Marcus is no worse than forking a lot of dough over to NBC, or, for that matter, to some polling firm so it can focus-group the emotional valence of phrases like 'too risky' and 'not ready.'"
Whether or not you agree with the clothing expenditures, the whole affair is a fascinating study in the importance of image...and just how strongly we react to the smallest details of appearance.
See you next time...same blog time...same blog channel....
(For more information on wardrobe planning, please visit my wardrobe planning website.)