It had to happen.
No sooner did a New York Post writer point out that Hillary Clinton wore a $12,495 Giorgio Armani jacket while giving about economic inequality than female journalists began falling over each other pointing out how "sexist" it was to point out that Hillary Clinton wore a $12,495 Giorgio Armani jacket while giving a speech about economic inequality.
What this latest instance of criticism really highlights is not just the attention that is paid toward what female politicians and public figures wear, but just how difficult it is to be deemed "acceptably dressed" by the American public when you are a woman. And unfortunately, this $12,000 jacket fiasco (which is now actually a $7,000 jacket fiasco, because the jacket is now on sale) is just the latest chapter in the long, tired history of political women around the world being called out for how much they spend on their appearance.
And here's Bethan Holt of the U.K. Telegraph pulling a long, moralizing face as she tut-tuts:
Setting aside the obvious fact it would be nice to be talking about how Clinton has just made history as the first woman to secure the US Presidential nomination this week rather than her coat, this is surely another depressing sign that Hillary is in a no-win situation. If she makes no effort, she's ugly; too much and she's vain.
What is illogical is the way in which we hold women to a higher standard of style than we do men. Looking presentable and appropriate will pass muster for a man, but we expect more of women. To paraphrase Ginger Rogers, women in politics have to do what the men do, but backwards in high heels and while wearing on-trend yet age-appropriate clothes, patriotically flying the flag for their country’s top design talent and without spending extravagantly.
Well, lady journos, the answer to the above conundrum is pretty simple: We women may not all of us be the fairer sex, but we are certainly the more decorative sex. Indeed, we decorate ourselves in ways that men don't, or a least don't so much: more colorful attire, high heels, jewelry, scarves, hairstyles, and makeup. Mother Nature seems to have designed our brains to do just that, since men are primarily attracted to women on the visual level. It's biology that's "sexist."
I myself don't mind that Hillary dropped $12,000 (or maybe just the $7,000 sale price) on an item of clothing. She's not exactly poor (thanks, Clinton Foundation!), and people are entitled–indeed–ought to look as good as they can afford to look. It's…the jacket. It looks like a horse-blanket–and not just on Hillary but on the tall, gorgeous professional model who shows off the jacket on the Armani website. Indeed, the stiff, God-awful garment looks like a little joke that the usually elegant Armani is playing on his customers to see whether they'll fall for anything bearing an Armani label: He has paired the jacket, woven out of strips of lamb leather and silk, with some unusually ugly kakhi-colored high-water pants plus a pair of sneakers. Not exactly the look you want to project as the first woman president.
The Post reports that Hillary has hired "a team of image experts" to give her her a new, more fashionable aura. I'd fire every last one of them.