Fashion victims get victimized again

Another day, another story about Nancy Pelosi's outfits.

Published December 12, 2006 11:02PM (EST)

An article in Monday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Marylynne Pitz begins with an observation from former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina, bemoaning the fact that "after striving my entire career to be judged by my results and my decisions, the coverage of my gender, my appearance and perceptions of my personality would outweigh anything else."

Pitz suggests that this double standard is unjust, and that powerful women "know that no matter how much they accomplish, their clothing and hairdos will be described, discussed, dissected and, yes, dissed."

So true, so true. And with that injustice in mind, check out the rest of Pitz's article, in which she gets sources to rate and evaluate female political fashion sense:

Nancy Pelosi's "choice of clothing has been very sleek, very smart, beautifully proportioned. She keeps a light touch to the top of her face so she's not all dark. That sort of gives her a nice glow."

Hillary Clinton's "got a great haircut, great colors, great outfits ... Not only does she look the best she's ever looked, it's not so fashionable that middle-class, average Americans are turned off by it."

"I think in the very beginning, [Clinton's] jackets didn't really quite fit. The fit was sort of off the rack with dresses."

"There was nothing soft or mushy about [Elizabeth Dole] -- that big bouffant sprayed within an inch of its life. She would wear dresses with no bare arms and no cleavage."

"I think Condoleezza Rice is a huge disappointment in the style arena. She's youthful. She has a great body with long legs. She works out. All we can see are all these really boxy, predictable sober suits. That's her ace in the hole. She is the person in the public eye that fashion people would love to make over the most... First, I'd change her hairstyle. I'd see how she looked with a bob or perhaps a short, feathery finger wave that tapered at the neck. Then I would put her in a dress."

Yup, you heard it here first, folks. Condoleezza Rice's potential for a finger-wave makeover is her "ace in the hole."

So. Ladies of Capitol Hill, having fun yet?

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

MORE FROM Rebecca Traister

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bill Clinton Broadsheet Fashion Love And Sex Nancy Pelosi