The Business of Dressing Politicians

Did you know that Anna Wintour is the semi-stylist for Hillary Rodham Clinton? The image wars are real.

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The Business of Dressing Politicians [image source: zimbio.com], crowd ink, crowdink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
The Business of Dressing Politicians [image source: zimbio.com]

The digital age is upon us and as we may all know, in today’s heavy-media-focus world, image is one of the key communication tools for politicians (or anyone) when it comes to their personal branding and election campaigns. They are like actors and other celebrities. A lot of major American politicians employ stylists and image consultants. The business of dressing politicians really comes with a unique series of challenges.

Why is It Important?

Because the way they dress and portray themselves is important to the public. Most importantly, clothing can really support a politician’s agenda. Most of Barack Obama’s suits are by tailor Martin Greenfield, whose Brooklyn business supports US jobs and cost a relatively modest $2,000. Last month, Clinton was lambasted for wearing an Armani jacket that reportedly cost $12,000 to deliver a speech on income inequality. And yet Trump’s Brioni wardrobe-ready-made Brioni suits retail for $5,250 to $6,900 – has attracted little criticism in comparison.

Clinton’s Style

Clinton’s style is pretty obvious, she has settled into a uniform of brightly colored pantsuits and jackets by US designers. Advisors from the fashion industry can play major roles. Clinton has been consulting American Vogue editor-in-chef Anna Wintour on her wardrobe choices for key moments of the campaign. Wintour has approached designers to procure outfits for Clinton. However, Clinton’s campaign also pays for her clothes.

Trump’s Style

Suits, suits, suits. Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has worked with personal stylists including Philip Bloch in the past, has been wearing Brioni suits, Hugo Boss, and Armani suits, on the campaign trail. There is only one scenario under which politicians can wear labels: if the designer who wants his name to be shared publicly, and when you finish wearing it you can return them to that designer. But overall, as a politician, it might not be appropriate to constantly wear labels.

Let’s not forget that in the UK, the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, came under fire for using taxpayers’ money to pay the salaries of an “image consultant” for himself and a “special adviser” to assist his wife Samantha Cameron with her style and social diary.


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Eros Liu is a Melbourne-based writer, sucker for fashion, pop culture fanatic, and strawberry milkshake enthusiast. He is also an occasional coat hanger. Currently studying a Master of Commerce at RMIT University, specialising in marketing, Eros is working at CrowdInk. For a while, he worked as a fashion freelancer for Target magazine/RAMP magazine in Shanghai. He’s also had the pleasure of working for ELLE magazine Hong Kong as a personal assistant and then he accidentally splashed two flat whites on the beautiful marble table on his first day. It was all very The Devil Wears Prada.