The question above -what should women policiticans wear? – is one I normally ignore. It shouldn’t matter what a woman politician wears – what matters is how good she is at her job. And if she’s Prime Minister, or Home Secretary she must be pretty bloody good.
Then I saw Theresa May wearing those pearls while she was making an official announcement about the London riots last night and I suddenly minded very much what women politicians wear. I definitely don’t want them to be wearing that.
I went back on to Twitter – where I was glued until nearly 2 a.m. last night, feeling sicker and sicker about what was unfolding in the city of my birth – to find someone else had already posted a sarcastic comment about them.
There was just something jarring about the Home Secretary wearing oversized ‘fun’ beads on such a dark night in the history of Great Britain. Then she showed up on the news again this morning, sporting a jaunty little choker. (Not this one, but something similar.)
It just seemed so frivolous. I could imagine her getting ready, fossicking around in her jewellery box going, Hmmmm, the heart choker, or the bright blue beads?
She hasn’t got time for that right now. She’s the one who should be persuading the Prime Minister (who had the sense to wear a black tie for his announcement this morning) to get the water cannon sent over from Northern Ireland.
Then they need to rush through emergency legislation permitting the use of rubber bullets, and mobilise the army to drive tanks towards the mobs of 15 year olds who are looting shops and burning down buildings, just because they can.
The whole thing is making me – your typical lily-livered liberal – want the kind of response normally demanded by right wing tabloid readers (see list above, just add ‘bring back the birch and National Service’…).
But this isn’t the moment to be wondering what has happened to our society to lead to such a loss of the rule of law, it’s just got to be stopped.
A generation raised on junk food and Grand Theft Auto, and bombarded with information about the lifestyle of an over rich elite no better them (Jordan, Peter Andre, Cheryl Cole, John Terry et al), has to be put back in its box. Then we can start sorting out what caused them to grow up so morally, as well as socially, impoverished and try to change it.
What? Where was I? Oh yes, Theresa May’s stupid jewellery. You can see why she thinks she needs to get with the flirty accessories. She first came to fame in British politics when she took to the stage at the Tory conference in 2002 wearing leopardskin high heels and she’s been working an attention-seeking shoe ever since.
But now she’s Home Secretary, she really needs to put aside such childish things. She’s doing a very grown up job and it’s time she started dressing like one. She clearly loves glamorous clothes, which is fair enough, but not during working hours. It just doesn’t fit the gig.
If she needs some help, I suggest she checks out former French cabinet minister, now the head of the IMG, Christine Lagarde, who has written the rule book for how women politicians should dress.
Of course, Ms Largarde is French and very beautiful, which gives her two extreme advantages, but beyond that she’s shown that the best way for a woman politician to project authority is to play down her clothing as much as possible.
The simplest sharp tailored suits, in dark colours, set off by a white shirt or T shirt. That’s it. In short, a female version of male politician’s dress, enlivened – as a male politico might wear a jolly tie – by some small pieces of good jewellery. Not something that looks like it came out of a Christmas cracker.
Despite the odd segue into red suits, I think Australian PM Julia Gillard mostly gets it and I like the way she has made the white tailored jacket – appropriate for Australia’s bright light – her signature. (Although I have already had comments from Aussie readers shooting me down on this – tell me more, I want to know what you think…)
These pictures of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, show exactly how the dark suit looks so much more authoritative than the bright one. They really need to leave jolly brides’s mother colours – in clothes and accessories – to the Queen.
So nothing fussy, nothing bright, nothing ‘fun’. Politics is a very serious business – especially at the moment – and requires very serious clothing.
Got it Ms May?