Whether we like it or not, we can all agree that politics is about image. This is no different from the way politicians dress. The political class has often been criticized for wearing nontraditional, costly, and unfeminine clothes. This has led to a backlash against women in politics. This article will explore the meaning of identifiers in political clothing and examine how they influence public perception.
Examining political attire
Fashion and politics have been bedfellows for as long as people have been getting dressed. This semiotic relationship between the two is most apparent in the sartorial analysis of politicians. From Jeremy Corbyn’s tracksuits to Theresa May’s leopard print kitten heels, politicians have various sartorial choices.
Many female politicians face backlash because of the clothing they wear. The criticism often comes because their dress doesn’t look feminine or expensive enough. Women elected to office can’t always afford to wear the most stylish clothing, so their attire is often criticized. Even if they’re not wearing sexy clothes, their fashion statements can negatively impact their political careers.
Influence of style on politics
Style is an integral part of politics. Robert Hariman shows how the power of style can shape politics. He argues that the realist style in Machiavelli’s The Prince creates a world of calculated power and emotional control. Today, this style is considered the common sense of political science. Another style, the courtly style, is found in Kapuscinski’s The Emperor and consists of high decorousness, hierarchies, and fixation on the sovereign’s body. The republican style, on the other hand, encourages consensus and civility.
Politicians have long used style to express their philosophy. Even as ancient governments controlled what people wore, women and men expressed their views through clothing. Politicians such as Kamala Harris and Narendra Modi in the United States have used fashion to promote their political values. In both countries, style is a crucial way to connect with people on a grassroots level.
In recent years, political fashion has become a trend. Pantsuit parties have been held in support of Hillary Clinton, and white supremacists have worn polos during protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Meanwhile, alt-right activism has increased in Europe and North America. As a result, protesters are choosing clothing that matches their political mindsets.
Fashion has a significant role in British politics. During the 1960s, a young Jacqueline Kennedy became the face of a new generation of women’s fashion. However, her political views were criticized by Richard Nixon. While wearing expensive couture, she favored designers like Oleg Cassini and Marimekko.
Fashion has long been an expression of self and identity. Often used by influential people, it has been used to say what words cannot. It has also become an essential communication tool for politicians. Some people choose politicians based on their appearance rather than what they do. For the last few decades, it has become a popular platform for politicians to make their opinions known to the public.