STYLE POLITICS – leading with style

merkelMy daughter-in-law texted me just after Theresa May had disappeared with husband, Phillip, into number 10 …

“What is T.M. wearing???!”

The simple answer… “Clothes”.

Of course, the simple answer is no answer and the question asked is not a cat scratch from one woman to another but a genuine appeal to understand why a woman who has just become the leading politician in Britain seems not to understand what that means.

And no, this is not about bad taste or good taste.

And yes, I know that the woman above is not Theresa May BUT it could be. Read on dear reader!

It is about no taste at all.

Is this important?

Should our politicians (male & female) sort their clothes out before they change the world? (Lisa Armstrong. The Daily Telegraph. 9.07.16)

The simple answer … “Yes”.

That is not to say that what is required from our female politicians is to look like Maggie Gyllenhaal’s character in The Honourable Woman (glorious though she was) but it is to say that they should be conveying the same message. They should be studies in of female empowerment.

Clothes that fit their body, their personality, their aims . The shapes and silhouettes should move seamlessly and in sync with them and, at the very best, be an extension of themselves.

If nothing else they should present a positive image to the world and certainly an image that projects who they are and what is important to them.

If this acts as a shell to protect them from the trials and tribulations of leadership – even better.

Some have already achieved this (I am quite serious here) –Jeremy Corbyn .. Michelle Obama .. Geoffrey Archer .. Christine Lagarde.

If anyone thought that Theresa May’s outfit when visiting the Queen and pro-offering her talk to the nation was “fashion with authority” I beg to differ.

The collar of the jacket fought with the necklace. The necklace was too heavy for the cloth of the jacket and dress and the wrong colour for her own colouring and was at variance with the dress neckline. What a yellow piece of chiffon sown onto the three quarter length jacket was supposed to do I am not sure. It certainly didn’t create anything other than an annoying diversion to the line of both dress and jacket.

Even the shoes – and Theresa May does make some very good shoe choices – were drab.

On the bright side they did fit her feet quite perfectly and show off a well-shaped ankle and calf. And, the hem of her skirt fell just at the right pace to show off a damn fine pair of legs.

So, to answer my daughter-in-law … Theresa May was wearing an outfit that made her look dull and old-fashioned not a professional, approachable and new-thinking leader.

At times of such political excitement and turmoil it is ENORMOUSLY important that our leaders wear clothes with which the led can connect, identify and be assured by.

Nicola Sturgeon has a really good go – she often works with colour really well but her clothes are often too tight making her movements less fluid and expressive than they should be.

Angela Merkel wear suits that work with both her body and personality – strong in line & tight in weave of cloth. The look is marred by the choice of a baby blue or blurry beige and the addition of a fiddly out of scale necklace in an effort, I imagine, to feminise the look.

There is no need for them to make themselves look womanly by wearing a masculine cut navy suit and white blouse with soft frill – unless it suits them of course.

These women do not have to enter into the world of power dressing – women who want to be on a par with men. They are above these men already.

What they need to do is dress like the leader they want us to believe that they are.

Which is why Jeremy Corbyn, Michelle Obama, Geoffrey Archer & Christine Lagarde have got it so right:

Jeremy Corbyn – a man of the people. Anti-establishment. Serious and of few words.
Michelle Obama – energetic & contemporary. Intelligent and forward thinking.
Geoffrey Archer – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His dress & demeanour conned us all, which is just what it was meant to do.
Christine Lagarde – sharp, chic, expensive. A banker to her beautifully manicured toes.

Amal Alamuddin (Mrs Clooney) knows how to do it. Joe Cox knew how to do it. Mrs May can learn how to do it.

What we need from Theresa May is the appearance of one who is thoughtful & aware & subtly powerful. Who is incisive, persuasive, approachable. In touch!

A sizable majority of the British people have just let politicians know that they neither like nor trust them. Dressing in the blobby, dull, shapeless garb of a middle aged, well-off and conservative woman is not going to work.

Her clothes need to instil confidence not create barriers between those within the political circles and those who aren’t.

Her clothes should speak of just that. Their shape should help her to stand and move and sit flawlessly.

The scale of patterns & accessories she wears should make the very best of her own physicality.

She should use colour to energise & engage so that even on “bad days” she looks the best that she possibly can.

To be taken seriously she needs to dress seriously. Those animal print court shoes are a great start!

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