Monday, October 27, 2008

Palin's Pricey Image Upgrade

The world is all a-flutter over the cost of Sarah Palin's new wardrobe acquisitions. According to, 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.)


RobFromGa said...

Comment here…
How many regular women have sufficient wardrobes to be able to change a few times a day, every day, and look Presidential at the same time. No mention of the fact that each of Obama's Hawaiian "vacations" each cost $500k+ to the DNC. Or how he and his wife can afford their clothes?

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S Chambers said...

All the furor over Sarah Palin's wardrobe is a tempest in a teapot. When you look at all the slush money the Socialist Obama accepted over the years it is minor in comparison.

As Rob said in his comment, the socialist Obama has wasted literally millions of taxpayer dollars on himself and his wife. Then again, that is what corrupt socialist politicians do.

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Philip Graves said...

I agree with you entirely. Just think how much consumer goods companies spend on packaging - it's the single most important piece of marketing communication: it speaks to you everywhere the product is trying to be bought and goes everywhere the product travels too. Imagine how much it would cost to replicate that with any other form of advertising!
Great post

Romance Coach, Online Dating Coach said...

I think she is doing a great job. Fabulous. Feisty. Feminine.

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April Braswell

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Lin C. said...

I find it interesting that Palin now mentions when she is wearing "her own clothes." Apparently, even she thinks that the republican party spending $150,000 on her wardrobe was too much.

Jennifer Skinner said...

I saw that, too! She made a point of sharing her second-hand finds. All very interesting...


David J Parnell said...

appropriate appearance is obviously so important... Not looking the role communicates so poorly on your behalf... I am sure it was mismanaged money though...

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Matthew Shields said...

Hi , Jenn
She is a Sarah Palin is a great woman. It’s amazing though how as rob said so much attention has been cast on her when clearly the other party is much worse
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Darryl Pace said...

I think Sarah Palin is a great woman and great example of what is good about America.

Darryl Pace

Lisa M. McLellan said...

I'm sure they will still pick her apart even with her $150000.00 wardrobe. But I do understand the image thing. I went for a job one time that was a level above where I was in the company. I wore sweatpants and stretchy pants everyday, not to the interview of course, but to work. I was by far the best in the area but was told later it was the image that was the issue. The girl who got the job came in in suits everyday.
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DIYlawyer said...

I don't care if it is on the republican party dollar in fact I think they should spend 10 times that much on her wardrobe, as long as it is not on my dollar.

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ChristineB said...

I think all those clothes will be a lovely parting gift for Ms. Palin when she goes back to Wasilla on November 5th.

Oh, wait a second -- she's promised to donate everything to charity after the election. (How much does 150K for say, three outfits a day for two months work out to on a per wearing basis? About $833, by my calculations.)

Craig Ernst said...

I agree entirely w/ Steve Chambers. The whole affair is a non-issue. Wanna bet that McCain and Obama both wear bespoke suits that cost several thousand dollars each? And how often can they wear them and just get away with just changing shirt and tie, compared with how often Palin can wear the same outfit and not get ridiculed by the media? Of course, this is the same unfairness that plagues everyday women, too, as compared to us "lucky" males. ;-)

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Scott Bel said...

with everything that's going on in this country I think Sarah's clothes are the least of our worries.I mean let's get serious with throwing billions of dollars maybe trillions and hemorrhaging economy and we are worried about a few close off the rack at Neiman Marcus. Let's give little perspective.

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JohnWShoemaker said...

I think Paris Hilton spends $150,000 a month so she never has to wear the same outfit twice. It doens't bother me at all...if you have it spend it.

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