All The Rage

The Image staff muses on the culture of
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Sarah Palin doesn't hunt...for bargains

October 29, 2008 |  7:52 am

Erez Say what you will about how style has taken center stage for females involved in this election. It's sexist. Yes, indeed. No one gives a fig about Obama's wingtips or McCain's thick ties. Nor do they get appraised for their coifs, lip gloss or toe cleavage. Men: there is such a thing as toe cleavage, trust me.

But the women are a different matter. The recent revelation that Sarah Palin or the RNC or "Mr. Nobody" spent $150,000 of campaign money on clothes says it all. Not just that it was a silly mistake to let the Alaska governor splurge at Saks or Neiman Marcus. But more that it implied that the GOP didn't really like her folksy look. But if Palin had spent just $5,000 at J. Crew, she could have landed about 40 to 50 sweaters, skirts, and blouses -- all smart, tailored and respectable.

The other night, Michelle Obama wore an outfit that cost less than $350 from J. Crew on the Jay Leno show. The all-American, preppy retailer is already capitalizing on the press and directing customers to the $148 skirt she wore if you type "Obama" into its search engine. The cashmere sweater -- above -- happens to be on sale for $89.99. Her choice in J. Crew -- a U.S. designer that many people can afford and even more importantly, pronounce -- was beyond savvy in light of Palin's splurge-gate. (Of course, Obama has worn more expensive designers such as Thakoon too.) This isn't the first time that clothes have become an issue for female politicos. First ladies such as Nancy Reagan and Jackie Kennedy were criticized for wearing expensive designer gowns and get-ups from European designers. It didn't sit well with the public that they accepted them as gifts either.

In these times, thankfully, style has become as democratic as our country. Target and the Gap partner with designers to offer affordable capsule collections. J. Crew is perpetually discounting its clothes. Spending $150,000 on a wardrobe seems overboard. Especially for a woman who says she loves to hunt.  No self-respecting woman who loves to stalk sale items would ever pay retail. Palin needs to lay off the moose and learn how to hunt a bargain. She can even strap her bags to the roof of the car.

-- Monica Corcoran

Photo: J.Crew