What Not to Wear

The time has come for me to address a challenging issue that female elected officials deal with daily, and sometimes hourly as we do our jobs… What should I wear? We have to consider what will work for a press conference, parade, fundraiser and constituent meeting, all in the same day, and often in the same hour. We want to respect our office and the people we proudly represent and serve by dressing event appropriate, and looking professional, as women in high profile positions, and especially as younger elected officials. We don’t want to look so mature that we look dowdy, or so young that we are easily discounted. Sadly, sexism and ageism are alive and well. We want to convey strength and confidence without compromising however we choose to express our femininity/womanhood. We have to consider what photographs well, what fits, and most important of all, what is comfortable.

Lest you be quick to jump on the, this is shallow boat, be honest. The brunt of our work is what I love the most: transforming peoples lives through policy, advocacy and activism, and connecting constituents to services, but there is also a retail component. How often have you been at a political event and someone was whispering about a female electeds snugly fitting skirt, graying hair, pantyhose run or lipstick on the teeth? The extensive walking, the humidity of Charlotte, and the dizzying demands on our time while at the DNC present unique challenges and compound these decisions even more, which is why I have changed outfits 3 times a day for everyday I’ve been here, and I’ll save my hair and shoe issues for another post.

They say the grass is always greener, and sometimes when it comes to dressing and styling ourselves we really do wish we were one of the guys. It seems like they have it so much easier! I’d put money on the idea that our male counterparts are rewearing suits and khakis this week, and won’t be tormented by it for a moment. All while Jesse and I are having serious debates in the morning about which necklace will meet our needs for the day – in addition to having serious debates about everything from women’s access to birth control and investment in infrastructure.

Here’s what we ended up sporting today. Yes, I had a wardrobe change. Actually, I wound up in 3 different outfits today, but only snapped pics of two of them.

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3 thoughts on “What Not to Wear

  1. As a young woman in MA Politics, I definitely see you both as role models, and I appreciate that you share the struggle of dressing work-appropriate.

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