Am I alone in feeling this is a still from a 1980s TV programme about power in the city?There is something rather old-fashioned about this photograph, don’t you think?
There are two groups of men. The older generation – proud of their hair – wearing baggy sack suits that pool at the hem, white shirts and boring ties. They are shaking hands (or perhaps just touching the tips of their fingers) and looking deeply into each others eyes. Everyone else is merely decorative.
To their left it looks like three power couples. The men (Trump juniors) are tall and handsome with good haircuts but with a bland samey look. You could switch their heads around and no-one would be much the wiser. One has a Modern cut-off shirt collar and brown shoes. One has a pink tie and a daring blue shirt, but his trousers are at least two inches too long. The final one is ultra-conservative. But these look like city boys
The women all have long, blondish long hair and legs, slim figures and sport body-con dresses – probably “designer” dresses. Maybe even Ivanka dresses. They are glossy and feminine with high heels in light colours to make their legs look longer. They were knee-length or longer skirts and show off their shapely arms. These girls work out. They are smiling and enthusiastic – cheer leaders, hostesses, beauty pageant queens. The king and queen are Ivanka and Jared who are actually the centre of the picture. Maybe this is all about positioning them for the future (if previous US elections are anything to go by).
There are two ladies on the left – maybe posed to the side so the photograph can be cropped at a later date. These two are a bit down market perhaps. Short, a little bit dumpy and frumpy. They look like a somewhat different species. They wear more conservative black court shoes, that match their basically black, high street outfits in jersey fabrics. One has managed a cream, stretch lace top, over a skirt that is just too short for the occasion, I would say. The other women (far left) is Karen Pence, the wife of the Vice President. Bunny suggested I might critique her look, but to be honest Bunny there is not a lot to say. She is Mrs Ordinary America and she dresses like she shops local. Her inauguration dress was made by the same dress-maker who made her wedding dress. I guess ten out ten for loyalty, and ten out of ten for doing what she wants. Is the dress stylish, fashionable, flattering, appropriate? How about the belt? No.
Have you noticed this eye-thing that the wives are forced to adopt? I think Nancy Reagan started it. Now all the women have to model the most intense listening skills, showing the audience that if they are rapt after hundreds of campaign trail meetings, then everyone else will be advised to listen up.
In the line up above Melania is missing, as she was for much of the campaign. And one can’t help but notice she hasn’t really worked out how to dress yet. Despite having a sensational figure and looking really great in her underwear/anything that reveals cleavage the outfits she has chosen since she became the first lady are uncomfortable and unbearably prissy. Compared to Michelle who seemed happy in her skin this first lady seems stiff, uncomfortable and acting out a role. To me the long pale blue gloves and the fussy, bulky neckline were all about negating who she is. Her cleavage is completely enclosed, double wrapped and hopefully forgotten. Maybe Melania will grow into the role and find a way of becoming her “own woman” as she says she is (but we find hard to believe). Obama always looked like he was in awe of his wife and I am certain he really loved her. I am not sure Melania feels loved. Or maybe a little facial enhancement has made her smiles look rigid.
Anyway this week a rumour went round that Trump was insisting that those who work in the White House should smarten up their act. The women should dress like women. And the men needed to look sharp, getting a quality tie round their necks. Maybe this is true, or maybe not. One has no idea what is fact and what is fiction these days. But the rumour sparked a lovely Twitter campaign where women – soldiers, surgeons, high court judges, astronauts – posted photos of themselves dressed for work. This is what dressing “like a woman” looks like. But the modern idea that women at work should wear tight, sexy (but not “cheap”) dresses, barely-there hosiery and high heels makes me want to scream. I do meet women who dress like this in the City, but gradually things are changing as more and more women resist the ridiculous stereotype, dressing for comfort, style and to please themselves.
As for Donald himself I can’t help but agree with GQ’s analysis of how he should get his own house in order first.
I think dress codes have had their day. Do you?