For female candidates, channeling Hillary Clinton is key [SLIDESHOW]

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The New York Times has examined the ‘fashion conservatives’ — women seeking political office who are faced with the quandary of what to wear and, consequently, how to project their image to voters.  Ruth La Ferla points out that there are two ways to go: either the boxy Hillary pantsuit route or with the Sarah Palin fitted clothes/loose hair/rimless glasses look.

Nearly every human being with a basic level of taste and ability to see would chose the Palin look. No one in their right mind would go for Hillary’s mannish two-pieces in wild colors like fuchsia, turquoise and (shudder) mango. While Hillary’s fashion choices are decidedly horrifying to the general population, however, they seem to appeal more to voters than the Palin look.

For women on the path to power, La Ferla says, the trend is leaning towards ‘the relative safety of an anodyne uniform.’ She explains further:

Understated to a fault, its chief components are a formless suit, flat or low-heeled shoes and a noncommittal hairstyle. It’s a brusquely masculine image tempered occasionally by a strand of pearls and dainty, never dangly, earrings (the latter deemed too distracting for television cameras).

La Perla also spoke to Christine K. Jahnke, a media trainer who advised Clinton during her presidential campaign:

“A Palin effect? Show it to me,” said Jahnke. “Women aren’t trying to look like Sarah Palin. That would be a mistake.”  Jahnke advises female candidates to adopt a wardrobe befitting a CEO, as they must look “approachable and, at the same time, look like you can handle the job,” she said.

So maybe Hill was on to something when she insisted on wearing monochrome pantsuits year after year since she, apparently, is inspiring female politicos to revert back to the boxy confines of the pantsuit. God help us.

If the author of this article is correct in her assumption, here’s a collection of what we can look forward to in the future. Shield your eyes.