Hillary Clinton officially stepped down from her position as Secretary of State on February 1.
I couldn't help but think, whose hairstyle are they (that would be the infamous "they") going to pick on now? Whose pantsuit or hair length or accessories will they go after?
Certainly with 20 women now in the senate, there are plenty more to choose from.
But like in so many other areas, Hillary Clinton holds a unique position. An article on The Look on Today entitled Hillary Clinton steps down, but (reluctant) style legacy endures (well worth the read) pinpointed for me one of the major reasons she was so rigorously targeted for her style choices.
The fascination with Clinton's style stems more from her former status as first lady, said Robert Watson, director of American studies program at Lynn University."
Ah, so it was Hillary Clinton's position as First Lady that seemed to allow her style to be fair game on the political front. Because that high profile position has a lot to do with style, espcailly since the days of Jackie Kennedy, which upped the expectation on every First Lady after her — and Michelle Obama has again raised the bar.
But like so many midlifers who make career and life changes, it's tough for other people to catch up to us. Not that Hillary didn't try:
Clinton herself tackled the subject in December of 2010 while traveling in Kyrgyzstan, where she was asked about her favorite clothing designers. "Would you ever ask a man that question?" she replied."
However, she did more than try. She has succeeded in changing public opinion towards a host of things: her personality, capabilities and, yes, her style. In a speech at Women in the World, Meryl Streep noted that while she played powerful women, Hillary Clinton was the real deal. As Michael Tomasky in Newsweek points out:
A December Gallup poll had her as the most admired woman in the world, and No. 2 on the list (Michelle Obama) wasn't remotely close."
So what have we learned about style from her?
- Even if you have a hairstyle that's working, you can still change it.
- Sometimes you just don't have time to get your hair cut.
- Not matter how busy you are, you still have to accessorize: This picture montage shows Hillary Clinton in 112 different countries that she's visited, impeccably and appropriately dressed and accessorized — just thinking about it makes me tired.
- She has taught us a lot about grace under pressure.
- She has taught us you can come back from criticism, loss, public humiliation, and yes, a bad hair day, and triumph.
- She has taught us that the less you care about what other people think of you, the more they can see who you are and what you're made of.
Personally I can't think of better style lessons right now. But I bet there are more in store.
More style lessons from powerful women:
- Billie Jean King Keeps Breaking New Ground
- Ellen Barkin: Stylish & Sexy at 57
- Why We Need Betty White
- Evelyn Lauder - Beyond the Pink Ribbons
- 7 Things About Meryl Streep You Didn't Know
- Gloria Steinem, Feminist Fashionista