The leader’s debates are over and the country is still as confused as ever as to which way the election is going to go. The “first lady” fashion debates will however continue for the next week and beyond. Suddenly style is a political issue.
Of course it’s not the leaders the media are focussing on – lets admit it, their style is fairly boring – it’s the wives that have them in a lather. And what fun it has been. The photographers have been falling over themselves for that memorable shot. We’ve had the first maternity clothes, hospital visits (planned and unplanned), frightening red wedge/navy tights combinations and amateur style watchers leaping out of the woodwork to comment.
Yet by all accounts Sam Cam and Sarah Brown have an army of style advisers, whilst Miriam Gonzalez Fernandez, aka Mrs Clegg, has the benefit of her genes at the very least. So why do they go so wrong sometimes? And how would I style them, if I had my way?
Sarah could be an inspiration, as out of the trio of wives she is most like most women on the street. Her hair and make-up are an achievable example to us all – she just needs to wear her clothes and stop them wearing her.
Having successfully moved her away from frumpy office suiting, her advisers are now going through a spell of promoting her ‘hourglass figure’. However she frequently appears to be buttoned up too tightly and she is wearing clothes that are too stiff and structured for her curves.
Sarah, ditch the sturdy jackets and skirts and the dull monochrome colours – the few times you have worn warm colours, patterns and softer fabrics you’ve looked great! Change the rules and go for less fashion and more style – you don’t need to meet Sam Cam head on. Go for dresses to create a flattering, lengthened silhouette and when wearing separates try to create a column of colour – proven to make anyone look taller and slimmer. Why not take heed from your friend Michelle Obama and try a classic, simple shift dress with a short (unbelted) cardigan? Or swap the fitted, boxy jackets for softer alternatives that still show your shape.
What a gift to politics – Sam is tall, slim, impeccably bred and comes with her own style credentials. Her look is distinctive and the little nods to fashion are easy to spot – and copy.
But we must feel a little sorry for Sam. After all she is a key part of the New Conservative brand and her choice of clothes is no longer personal but very political. She isn’t allowed to wear anything too “designer” or too posh and patterns and colours are actually checked against the background of the venue she will be visiting. Jewellery of all sorts seems to have been banned and she has had to fight hard to keep her handbags. No impulse buys for you, Sam!
None the less we all love Sam’s messy posh look and cropped trousers, converses and boyfriend jackets will be in many wardrobes this season. The trick is to understand what you can successfully take from her look and what you can’t – remember that the famous spot dress? It was short sleeved, high necked and had a belt – not for the curvy amongst us.
I would like to see Sam in a little more colour – bold prints and heavy silk fabrics look great on her and will work well with her pregnancy. Typically, her baby weight seems all in the bump at present so now’s a great time to brighten her black with stylish necklaces and earrings as well as the scarves she wears so well. She always looked great, in the now banned, mismatched, retro Boden prints, so once the baby is safely delivered and the election over she needs to lobby for change and make the stylists step back.
Sightings of Miriam have been rare this election season and I half expect her to be besieged by birdwatchers at each appearance. Described as an ‘off duty Penelope Cruise’, Mrs Clegg thinks clothes are ‘frivolous’ and has taken to taxiing around London to avoid being snapped – spoilsport!
Her great fashion moment has been the championing of a bag made from recycled ring pulls, and her fashion disaster has been a pair of braces with high waist trousers. And that’s pretty much all we know.
Yet she’s beautiful, photogenic and works in a world that understands the importance of presentation as well as substance. So enjoy your time in the public eye Miriam – you have confessed that you like to be thought of as clever and sexy, so make the most of the frock budget! Choose vivid blocks of colour and sharp contrasts – strict jackets with lively flowing skirts, and formal trousers with bright silk blouses. If you are going to be our first lady then don’t be reluctant about it – give us some inspiration and add some Latin colour into the grey world of politics.