October 2, 2008

Fashioning a national leader: Green Party leader May requires a makeover

In the recent federal leadership debates, the Green Party leader adopted masculinist-politico outfits.

Many female politicians feel and look comfortable wearing the standard uniform.

However, May did not during the debate.

And what do her clothes say? For better or for worse, the dress of female politician comes under greater scrutiny (though both male and female dress choices make an equal impression).

The take-away: May IS NOT Margaret Thatcher. Nor is she Hilary Clinton. She doesn't have to be.

May's masculinist suit choice had a negative impact on her visual branding. May wearing an out-dated Ghillie collar - that's a suit jacket with a shirt-like collar - paired with an open shirt collar OVER the Ghillie was the most notable.

It's just too much. Look at the collars. They crowded the face and presented too many downward angles which gives the impression of slumped posture.

I'd like to see her finally put together some of the elements she's relied on in the past to construct a polished and complete look that says "Hey, I'm not a 'suit'", all the while,
demonstrating she's fit to hold office and stand in Parliament.

Here's my Elizabeth May debate makeover:

1  Drop the dated Ghillie - it is so early Nineties and NBA draft choicey. Instead, May should wear a standing collar like a Nehru or Mandarin collar that will cast shadows on her neck and strengthen her jawline. Trust me, it would have shaved perceived years and pounds under the unforgiving TV lights, something everyone has to worry about when stepping in front of a camera.

2, Wear a melton or felted cropped jacket or even a Bolero-like shrug instead of the smooth serge found in a business suit may be an option. Something more matte, more homey, comfy, and feels like a sweater BUT looks like business wear. May likes black and she should keep it black...
3. ...but I think a nice satin ruffle of green or even an ivy embroidered along the collar and the lapels would be a perfect way to put the green on the Green Party's leader.
4, A green patent leather belt. Make it wide and have it sit at the thinnest part of her torso. Perhaps just below the bust. This will give her a nice waist line and keep eyes above the equator.
5. Finally, a high-waisted A-line skirt down to mid-calf.

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting, I hadn't put much attention into that.

    I believe that since all she did was call Harper a liar and claim that everything was a fraud, she was dressed for the occassion.

    The 1970 hippy dress would have been too on the nose for tv, so she tried to look business-like.

    I "saw" her agenda more than her clothes.

    I like your blog, btw. I'm not big on fashion, but you have a good eye.