For a minute, it looked like it was just going to be one of those stories about how Democrats dress confidently and well, while Republicans are fashion criminals.

Indeed, the New York Times’ “Fashion & Style” report on Hillary Clinton's Saturday speech headlined on "Why It Matters that Hillary Wore Ralph Lauren" began this way:

At her campaign opening rally on Roosevelt Island on Saturday (to be distinguished from her campaign announcement, in April), Hillary Rodham Clinton donned her now-signature look: a bright blue pantsuit with a matching bright blue shirt underneath. She stuck out a mile, matched her H campaign logo — which was also the design of her stage — and looked appropriately patriotic, especially when standing next to Bill Clinton in his red polo.

So far, so expected, especially given her debut Instagram post: a series of red, white or blue pantsuits hanging in a row with the caption “Hard choices.”

Mrs. Clinton has been extremely clever at co-opting the whole fashion-in-politics thing, defanging it and using it to demonstrate her quite developed sense of humor. It’s a tool for her these days, and not just when it comes to image.

Okay, you could have fooled me on that “quite developed sense of humor.” Hillary is one of the least funny politicians ever to wear trousers.

But that wasn't the only surprise. Republican women who wear expensive clothes are routinely called out. But not Democrats. A Democrat could show up with the Hope Diamond and the press would notice instead the Republican's expensive shoes. But this article was actually critical of Mrs. Clinton's choice of a pricey Ralph Lauren pantusit ensemble for her big day. Yes, journalistic history was made, when the reporter penned these tepid but unmistakably critical fashion notes:  

[Lauren's] personal narrative — Bronx boy made good — pretty much embodies the American dream. The clothes he sells are, in part, based on the aesthetics of that dream: the West, and the Gatsby version of Long Island. He understands sartorial stagecraft as well as any designer on the New York Fashion Week calendar, if not better.

Yet there’s a possible weak spot in the relationship. Because for a candidate who has been pushing her connection to, and understanding of, the middle class — and whose speech while wearing the pantsuit was largely about closing the income gap — Ralph Lauren is a relatively inaccessible brand. It is also one often worn by and beloved of that sector of the population, the chief executives and financial wizards, she somewhat disavowed.

An average Ralph Lauren Women’s Collection pantsuit, which this was — not, in other words, a style from the more accessible line, Lauren Ralph Lauren — is a few thousand dollars (a pinstriped wool jacket alone, for example, is $2,450 at the online store). That is out of reach for most voters.

It might not matter, given that voters also want their candidates to look presidential, which generally means good. Except that one of the story lines surrounding Mrs. Clinton has been how she is out-of-touch with those she claims to represent. It seems to me that working with a famous and high-end designer could provide ammunition for the opposition. And why even take that chance?

But maybe the fashion issue, with its potential sexism charges, is just too touchy for anyone, except fashion people like me, to go there.

Personally, if I were working out sartorial strategy on her team, I might suggest the issue be avoided entirely by opting for a contemporary label like Theory, which is known for its pantsuits, professional dressing — and anonymity. Its chief executive, Andrew Rosen, is a fashion mogul who has made something of a personal mission out of saving the New York garment district.

Bear in mind that the writer, Vanessa Friedman, isn’t exactly criticizing Clinton for her expensive taste in pantsuits but rather indicating that Republicans might seize on this. And I further note that Ms. Friedman even ends with fulsome praise for Clinton.

Nevertheless, this is a big moment: never before, to my recollection, has a liberal journalist taken note of a Democrat's taste for wearing designer clothes that most Americans could ill afford. Republicans are routinely mocked or raked over the coals whenever they wear expensive clothes. Heck, Robin Givhan even mocked the children of Chief Justice John Roberts for wearing traditional, proper kids attire to their father's swearing in as a Justice on the Supreme Court.

So this is history. I do not know what it means. I do not know if it means anything. But I can’t help but think it is not a good omen for Mrs. Clinton. It is not good when even scribes with liberal papers notice that the Empress is wearing damned expensive clothes.