Politician Style Watch: Nicola Sturgeon

No time like a general election to revive a comatose blog, eh?

Living in a London-centric world means WWP has become one of those arseholes who, rather sadly, finds it very difficult to care about political matters further north than St Albans, and on a bad day, Westminster. In fact, before I even moved here, I found myself googling the location of ‘Holyrood’ in my third year of university, thinking it must have been some hilarious typo of Hollywood. And I studied for a BSc in Politics.

One year later, it was the SNP’s year. And although a truly independent Scotland failed to materialise, the party seems to have held onto its new-found fame by booting the Lib Dems out of the General Election maker/breaker spot. Who is leading this army on this glorious road to success? Nicola Sturgeon, of kick-ass oratory skills and bad hair.

Sturgeon is near-flawless in her media skills, leaving me so impressed after an interview on Today that I felt moved to tweet about it before 8am. She was a lawyer, a regional MSP before the age of 30 and, like the vast majority of female politicians, appears hard-working, dedicated to both her job and cause. Whatever your views on the SNP, it’s hard to find fault with a leader who is neither (a) mind-numbingly fixated on the job at hand (she once interviewed Borgen star Sidse Babett Knudsen on TV) or (b) a Goddamn man.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 19.07.08

Style-wise, her wardrobe is depressingly Theresa May: lots of matching dress/suit jackets, brooches and pearl necklaces, give-or-take a love of ironic shoes. Yet unlike May (who in the last year has tried to brand herself as some sort of style icon, with fund-raising shopping trips and Desert Island Discs proclamations of a love of Vogue), Sturgeon has the good grace to admit to her ‘meh’ choices, stating: “I’m not naturally a smart-dressing type. I’m more at home in jeans” in an interview with The Daily Record.

So why, if she’d (arguably rightly) rather concentrate on her party’s campaign rather than the Net-A-Porter sale, does she clearly invest so much time in her bad hairstyle? It’s blowdried to death, lacks any movement and staying true to the SNP’s colours, is an unappealing tone of yellow on black. Let it go Nic! Get some Kérastase treatment on that dried-out bouffant, grow out that bowl cut, put down that barrel brush and get back on the Today programme – every day, if you can.

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Style Watch: Rebekah Brooks Trial Special!

Despite the fact that she’s clearly a hardened, evil criminal, I’ve always had a small soft spot for Rebekah Brooks. Her hair is pretty awesome – like a better version of Vivienne Westwood’s or Grace Coddington’s – and, notwithstanding her current peril, she held her own in a men’s newsroom. She also took on the Leveson enquiry with style, in a black dress adorned with Peter Pan collar. (Of course, those less educated in fashion happenings made tedious comparisons to the cast of The Crucible – proving they really missed the point of that play.)

But the real test is how well she stands up in court. For the courtroom entry/exit has produced some of the most timeless photos of modern time. See Marianne Faithfull stepping out on the arm of Mick Jagger, drenched in fur, or Amy Winehouse turning up to her assault trial dressed like a 1950s Cuban prostitute in 2009. I doubt we can expect the same from Mrs Brooks, but let’s see what she’s got.

Appears initially strong – a classic wool – but no pale skin can truly do the camel coat justice.

 

Rebekah Brooks and Charlie Brooks, Old Bailey, 29/10/13

A boucle jacket! The separate poised to overthrow the hideous trouser suit! Nice one Becks.

 

I spoke too soon. Have a terrible feeling this is a trouser suit. Girl needs some blusher and lipstick to brighten up that anxiety-ridden face of hers.

 

Better. Do not have full bosom in photo so cannot see whether she can pull off the hipster-button-up (there’s a fine line between chic and matron). But a refreshing change of pace.

 

Oh Jesus Christ. Judging by this cardigan fiasco, I’m guessing that she couldn’t pull off hipster-button-up. STEP AWAY FROM THE MONOCHROME REBEKAH.

 

…GO BACK TO MONOCHROME, I REPEAT GO BACK TO MONOCHROME!

The Beckhams Vs. The Bercows

Two couples of Great British refinement – are they really so different?

In terms of style, of course they are. The foundations of Beckingham Palace were built on image, even before Victoria sent out her first collection down the runway. Victoria’s style is encapsulated in that pissed-off non-smile that she always bears: cool, reserved, knowledgeable. Her husband is probably never without a stylist, or indeed a wardrobe full of free clothes sent by designers. Boy can also rock tailoring in a way only bettered by Fred Astaire. John Bercow on the other hand dresses like your average politician, albeit with a collection of flamboyant ties.

And then there is Sally. Sally of Evening Standard fame, an interview in which she tried and failed to make politics interesting simply by putting the word ‘sexy’ in front of British Parliament terms: “I never realised how sexy I would find living under Big Ben”; “The view from Speaker’s House is incredibly sexy.” Draped in a bedsheet and attempting to look like something out of Last Tango in Paris, she quite frankly came across as an uneducated tit. In clothes, she doesn’t fare much better. She’s forever showing just a little too much arm and cleavage, she never seems to dress for her body shape, and her make-up is reminiscent of a deranged, jilted bride from a 1940s film.

This wouldn’t be a problem if her output in public life offset this chaos in her wardrobe. In general, if you are a good person who does good things, shallow people like me tend to leave you alone (see: Mo Mowlam in terrible trouser suits; Steve Jobs in that stupid poloneck; Alexandra Shulman and her penchant for cardigans). Yet Sally Bercow’s lifestyle and image feed eachother. Every appearance she makes in the media serves to inflate her self-caricature further, from her frustratingly brainless disregard for libel laws, her Big Brother appearance and her description of herself as a “a personality.” She is a mess, but worse still, she is a mess with bad hair.

Which brings us to the similarities between the Beckhams and the Bercows in terms of spirit. The crucial difference here is that the Beckhams are a pair of equals. Both are incredibly successful, and hence they complement one another. Their fame has endured past their status as the celeb couple of the ’90’s and is now more a by-product of their professional accomplishments. The Bercows in contrast, appear as two separate entities at war via the media. Poor John seems to just want get on with his job; his wife is hungry for the front page of a paper that berates her husband and his colleagues on a daily basis.

Call Posh Spice a terrible singer, call Becks an air-headed footballer. But they have much more PR sense and grace than Mr and Mrs John Bercow MP.

WAG and Politician Style Watch: Labour Party Conference Special!

The press followed the dwindling amounts of Labour Party supporters down to bonny Brighton this week, who in turn were there to see Ed, Ed and the rest orate just how they will save the country from its current state of mortal peril. What no one banked on was Miliband and his wife re-enacting the opening stills from a soft-core porno.  However joyous I am that Ed has unbuttoned his top button, there was really no need for the photo-op that the Labour Party conference vomited out of its PR-invested underbelly.  Also note: Sally Bercow (they let her in?) looking slightly, ahem, mannish; Sadiq Khan doing it right.

NO TIE, DON’T CARE

 

Full marks to Yvette who says no to the trouser suit and yes to boucle jacket

Full marks to Yvette who says no to the trouser suit and yes to boucle jacket

Justine Thornton spotted out of the arms of her sex-god husband (thumbs up for the earrings); Sally Bercow looking like she’s well up for hitting Brighton freshers week after she’s done with this snooze-fest (thumbs down for the make-up and, well, being Sally Bercow).

Is Sadiq Khan our own Obama?!

Sharp: Is Sadiq Khan our own Obama?

 

"Did I mention I'm a family man too?!"

“Did I mention I’m a family man too?!”

 

There are no words.

There are no words.

 

 

Politician Style Watch: Natalie Bennett

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post that asked why Ed Miliband has an insatiable need to always wear a red tie. I naively assumed he was the most colour and image-conscious of all the British party leaders.  I was wrong.

Step forth, Natalie Bennett. An Aussie who quietly slipped into Caroline Lucas’ shoes as leader of the Green Party last September, Bennett hadn’t really done or said that much on the political scene until the party’s conference in Brighton last week. There, with a powerful lexicon and a will reminiscent of Julia Gillard’s excellent Misogyny speech, she caught onto both UKIP and the Lib Dems’ coattails and milked the dream of a varied, multi-party system.  She contended that the Greens are the best alternative to “three virtually indistinguishable neoliberal parties” as they are an ethical, socially-minded party that have the power to compete with the corporate, bloodsucking world. Her hyperbole, not mine.

It all sounds great (and did they mention they want to save the environment at the same time?) but the Green Party’s primary problem is that hardly anyone takes them seriously. Not only are their aims and policies a little unworkable in the current context, but they are in serious need of an image overhaul. Their name conjures visions of hemp, hiking boots, Caroline Lucas being dragged away screaming by police at a fracking protest, and the very worst: vegetarianism. And Natalie Bennett is not doing much on the fashion front to move the party forwards in terms of seriousness.

Just like Miliband and his red, Bennett has her green. She also has her outdated floral blouses, shell-inspired rope necklaces, badly fitted wool suits, fleeces…the list goes on. However nice it is that politicians can theoretically come from all walks of life, they can’t look as if they do. The Green Party is crying out for a leader that won’t look out of place on the front bench at PMQs; someone who can discard the party’s hippy, utopian reputation without sacrificing their core principles.  Ironically, Natalie Bennett just looks too much like a Green Party member to fulfill this role.

Politician Style Watch: Ed Miliband

In light of Wednesday’s egg-gate scandal, there never seemed like a better time to scrutinise the fashion choices of the leader of the opposition.  It comes as no surprise, however, that there really isn’t that much to scrutinise.  The guy appears to like red ties and nothing else.  After a particularly elusive parliamentary recess so far, out steps Ed into East Street Market wearing…a red tie. His face then came into contact with a mass of poultry by-products. Ring any bells?  Whilst the tabloids laboriously compared Prescott’s crazed reaction to Miliband’s slightly more laissez-faire approach, all WWP could see was the red tie.  Just as Woody Allen popped up at great historical moments in Zelig, so I feared the red tie will appear in Labour’s entire photographic history.

Credit where credit’s due, Miliband is able to mix it up every now and again. He is also capable of wearing purple.  And pink.  Yet following UKIP’s gradual rise in the polls, I sense that we may be seeing less and less of Ed’s ties that fall at the latter end of the rainbow spectrum.  It appears Miliband’s PR team think of the electorate as illiterate, drooling morons who, if presented with a Labour shadow minister wearing blue, will find themselves in a confused state in the voting booth.

You rarely see Miliband out of the red tie, but interestingly Clegg and Cameron do not – literally – follow suit.  David’s penchant for blue ranges from the lightest powder to the brightest indigo, whilst Nick appears to have done a tie-based supermarket sweep of Charles Tyrwhitt. Across the pond, Obama takes suit etiquette to entirely new level; regularly rolling up sleeves and loosening his neckwear to convey an aura of affability and, well, coolness. In contrast our politicians are ‘buttoned up’ in every sense of the world.

But Red Ed really takes it to another dimension.  Google ‘Ed Miliband on holiday’ and you simply get more pictures of his suit and red/purple tie combo. Perhaps this is because the press just don’t follow him on trips to the Balearics, or because he never really takes a holiday.  But whatever the case, he is never seen without his politician’s uniform: a strangely refreshing fact after countless pictures of Cameron in board shorts on the beach.