The long general election campaign grinds on in the UK. It is not much fun and not very interesting. Until the women burst forth. All our big parties, like most of our big companies, are run by men. But some of the smaller ones have taken a risk and employed women to lead. Leaders of small parties may feel less contrained and able to speak more freely and naturally – what a relief. How are they doing in the style stakes?
Although I oppose Scottish independence I thought Nicola Sturgeon was by far the strongest speaker last week. She also looked pretty good. We know that Nicola is really a natural brunette rather than a redhead. Nevertheless the strident orange jacket made her stand out in the group. She is looking quite stylish these days with a much better hair colour and cut, a slim and toned figure, very high heels and bright business suits. In the light blue she looks washed out, thin lipped and her hair colour is awful. In the second picture her hair is darker and she looks pretty sassy.
Leanne is the leader of Plaid Cymru. She was less impressive than Nicola, but she is spirited and lively. I liked her red dress and it certainly gave her profile on the night. She is an attractive candidate but the black bolero was down market and the sort of thing women wear at weddings to keep the chill off and hide their upper arms. I have no idea what her natural colouring is as she has worn her hair blonde, brown and red in recent years. But I think she looks strong and radiant in bright colours – implying her own colouring is bright. These jackets and the neat hairstyle give her more authority and gravitas than when she wears her hair down, with a cardi.
Natalie is the leader of the Green Party and until recently was famous for performing very poorly in a radio interview about housing (how I longed to help her out!). She was much better in the leaders’ debate. However Natalie has great difficulty in deciding what to wear. I think her wardrobe personality is “natural” in that she doesn’t like dressing up or being too formal. She has light colouring, possibly also muted but I think she needs to wear a structured and slightly deeper coloured jacket to give her authority. The picture on the right – with groomed eyebrows, and a bit of make up is far more impressive than the first picture. But she could do with a better hair style – this one looks uneven (I think she is naturally blonde but bleaches it brassy as well), lank and actually makes her face look a bit square. During the Leaders’ Debate she chose a white blouse and grey jacket – which I felt was too “safe” for a radical leader. This colour scheme is one frequently chosen by men (second only to navy and white) so I feel she would have stood out more had she worn a coloured jacket instead. Blonde women with light colouring might consider a white or cream jacket for impact, or a good shade of pink. But of course green is the best colour if you lead the green party – it’s about finding the right shade of green.
A few days later we had a Scottish Leaders’ debate. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, also proved women can lead. She was powerful too.
Ruth is a relatively young (36), gay and feisty. She has a shaped figure, and great legs. She usually wears a well-fitted, structured jacket which flatters her figure and gives her an air of competence and control. At the leaders’ debate she wore a bright orange jacket, a slim skirt and high heels – looking more like a leader. The grey jacket below does nothing for her – she has bright blue eyes and dark brown hair, so she can get away with stronger colours and more contrast – as with the navy and red combination.
whilst the women all look neat, none really have what I would call style! It’s all very safe! The men however look awful! At the Leaders debate, their choice of shirts and ties were awful. Their suits were crumpled and ill fitting! As for the photos above, Jim Murphy’s suit is clearly off the peg, the jacket is too small and I’m sorry Jim, David Beckham’s the only older man who looks good wearing a thin tie! One final observation, and not wishing to be controversial, but surely Nicola’s stylist should have advised her on the importance of having the right ‘support’!
I agree the women all chose a safe rather than stylish look and what you said about the men is true too – I really disliked that light grey tie on Ed, and both he and Farrage looked ill and sweaty. And in terms of Nicola’s “supporters” my guess is tha she has lost quite a bit of weight and hasn’t been refitted with a decent bra.
Such high profile people…do they own a full length mirror…maybe not or at least the wives should tell the men that their ties are a distraction rather than a help. Women politicians walk the fine line between looking stylish and frumpy. Drab colors, poor bras and brassy hair just make them lose their clout and drama. As job seekers know, you are judged on the first 10 seconds you enter the interview office, so too are these women being judged on everything but their views.
I think that is the point. Many serious women (politicians, scientists, economists, etc) want to be judged on their views and knowledge not their looks. But if they don’t pay attention to how they are presenting themselves their work, views and approach will fall by the wayside. They, and their appearance, will become the story. I always say you pay attention to what your leaflet says – pay attention to how it looks as most people won’t study it. You are part of your brand and message.
As a youngster, I probably ruled out quite a few professions just because of not being able to stomach the idea of dressing so non-offensively.
All these women could hire you as their style adviser and shopper: I can’t imagine how they even have time to browse for stuff. Maybe you could design them outfits and I could make them!!
I on the other hand welcome rules which I then attempt to circumvent, break or bend. I think it possible to be a female political leader and still look stylish, approachable and serious. However if I had to wear a trilby on the fish counter at Sainsbury’s or a Traffic warden outfit I admit I would struggle.