Are Hillary Clinton’s Clothes Signaling Her 2016 White House Decision?

Hillary Clinton Pantsuit rainbow, Hillary Clinton wardrobe changes, dressing like a presidentWhen it comes to fashion choices, Hillary Clinton is best known for what has been dubbed her “rainbow of pantsuits.” But lately, Hillary’s fashion choices have become more sophisticated, more sleek, perhaps more suited to the leader of the free world?

I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Project Runway’s Tim Gunn commented earlier this year that he thought Hillary’s fashion choices were looking more “presidential.” Could Gunn’s fashion ESP be right?

“Look at her now — she’s gone through quite a transformation again. … I’m always talking about the symbiotics of clothes — clothes can send a message about how we’re perceived and I think she’s looking very presidential.”

Clearly Hillary is a girl who loves color, but recently she’s been seen wearing a range of grays with the pop of color in her jewelry. Has she embarked on an effort to look more serious and take the clothing conversation off the table to avoid the gendered criticism of her 2008 campaign? if so, who could blame her.  In her Secretary of State days, Hillary was still taking a lot of heat for all aspects of her appearance.

But today, she’s looking more refreshed and more refined. Plenty of critics say we shouldn’t care what women politicians wear, since men rarely receive such scrutiny, but if the medium is the message, and that’s certainly more true today than ever, then Hillary is sending us the clearest signal yet about her 2016 intentions with her appearance:

Hillary Clinton's style change, no more rainbow pantsuits for Hillary Clinton,

Image via

Hillary Clinton and her pantsuits, Hillary Clinton dressing like a president

Image via Department of State

Hillary Watch at The Broad Side, Hillary Clinton 2016, Mitt Romney ahead of Hillary in Iowa, Hillary says no iPads for babies

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Maybe Clinton is taking a page from the IMF’s Christine LaGarde ‘dress like a leader’ playbook:

Hillary Clinton dressing like Christine Lagarde

Image via A Femme d’ Un Certain Age blog

Or, since she’s been seen in the company of Vogue‘s Anna Wintour recently — rumor has it that Hillary just might be on an upcoming cover of Vogue, timed to coincide with an announcement perhaps — maybe there have been some image consultations in the famed “closet.”

Hillary Clinton wardrobe, dressing like a president

Image via U.S. News & World Report

Hillary is clearly playing it smart.  She doesn’t need a tan suit moment or a Glamour don’t” sweater vest sighting.  To keep voters focused, she’ll need to keep the wardrobe card off the table from now on. It certainly seems like that’s exactly what she’s doing.

Joanne Bamberger is an independent journalist and journalism entrepreneur who is also the author of the book Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. She is the founder and publisher of the The Broad Side. Joanne is at work on a forthcoming anthology exploring our society’s love/hate relationship with Hillary Clinton. You can find Joanne on Twitter at @jlcbamberger. Also, follow The Broad Side on Twitter at @The_Broad_Side and on Facebook!

  • I have to say, it strikes me that as women, we get upset when journalists write about what powerful women wore to specific events, whereas powerful men are rarely subject to the same curiosity. I’d therefore hate to fall into the trap of reading to much into Hilary’s wardrobe choices. I’m sure she’ll tell us whether she’s running or not when she’s good and ready — and we won’t even have to examine her well-turned heels to find out. 😉


    • Karen, I totally agree. But since it always is an issue, and, sadly, is likely to be one again for Hillary and others, the change I’ve been noticing made me wonder if she’s trying to take certain things off the table so that we won’t be talking about them. If I were a political adviser on her team, I’d certainly suggest that 🙂


    I sat next to Hillary and Bill at a Westchester restàurant. She is fat and dumpy wearing tons of makeup. She is grey and pasty looking . Bill is scrawny and looks unwell also. There’s an old saying that you can’t put lipstick on a pig. Makes no difference what H wears. She is what she is in just three words: a liar, a thief and a communist. Read her story.

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