What to wear (and not to wear) to CPAC

Cardigans? A must. Pearls? But of course. Rompers? Ayn Rand would not approve

By Katie McDonough

Published March 12, 2013 4:27PM (EDT)

      (Adrienne Royer)
(Adrienne Royer)

This week, a large group of people will converge at a single location and make small talk about things like undermining a woman's right to an abortion and why there should be prayer in public schools. No, it's not the papal conclave; it's the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference!

And, like most other professional gatherings, there is a dress code. As a helpful reminder, there is a Pinterest board to advise you on what will -- and won't -- fly while you're taking in panels like "Are You Sick and Tired of Being Called a Racist and You Know You're Not One?"

Let's discuss.


Go ahead and channel your inner Tracy Flick: Cardigans, tweed skirts -- the whole nine yards. And feel free to add a little flair to your attire. Nothing says "I might think the United Nations is an anti-American conspiracy, but I still know how to have fun" like a little ruffle around your collar.

Business suits. Business suits. Business suits. You may think this is just a staple of nonpartisan professional attire, but you would be wrong. They are best suited, so to speak, for CPAC.

Golf shirts. Caveat: For guys only. Sorry, ladies, no sports attire for you.

Pearls. Stylish, classic and good for clutching at the prospect of gays getting married.


"Would you wear it to Walmart?" the guide asks. If the answer is yes, ditch it. T-shirts are particularly verboten, even if it's one that you bought at the conference because you are very into the desecration of detainee corpses.

Rompers. You lose points at CPAC if you even know what a romper is. And if you hydrate as urgently as Marco Rubio, you will find yourself taking the whole blasted thing off every time you need to use the facilities. Just don't do it.

Uggs. This style tip could actually bring our deeply fractured political system together, as everyone seems to equally hate the marshmallow-shaped Australian footwear.

[caption id="attachment_13226645" align="aligncenter" width="122" caption="via Adrienne Royer"][/caption]

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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