Getty Images: HRC at DNC

AMBER LOVE 29-JULY-2016 Fashion columnist Elizabeth Wellington already wrote up a fantastic piece about why it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about Hillary Clinton’s fashion choices. I’d like to elaborate.

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COLOR CHOICES

One of things people don’t talk about when discussing the fashion of an event is the set design. Maybe it sounds odd, but hang in there. All of these grand political events take place with medium blue backdrops or sets with highlights coming out in textures like balloons, flags, and lighting. Can you picture someone walking onto a blue stage like that if they were wearing a peridot green pants suit? Pretty unappealing, right? Not to mention you can’t have a political rally against a red backdrop without looking like you’re reforming the Third Reich. Medium blue is a cool neutral.

There’s the obvious coding in that American colors are red, white, and blue. Because of other social campaigns of flags and ribbons, each color or grouping of colors is associated with causes too. The RWB grouping is also the same as some of our strongest allies.

There were three main women that were going to be watched for fashion choices at the Democratic National Convention: nominee/Sen. Hillary Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and FLOTUS Michelle Obama. Since HRC chose the white pants suit, it was up to other two to bring home the good old American theme when they were on the stage over the past week. Chelsea Clinton wore a red dress and Michelle Obama wore blue. All of them were pictures of perfection as you’d expect.

What’s missing (intentionally?) is gold. You probably saw the reactions of Trump and Pence seated on gold thrones during an interview. It pushes people away from relatability. It’s far too royal for America and reminiscent of military dress uniforms especially when paired with white or navy blue. You’d think of Ralph Lauren designs in photos of one-percenters yachting.

When gold works, it’s got to be an entire outfit like an Oscar Awards gown or in small doses. Having as much gold as red, white, or blue would probably blow the look for a politician. Gold works as an accent since it’s often the decorative tassel of flags and a sign of educational achievements like on graduation caps. Gold is shown minimally, not predominantly, in American political arenas. If Clinton’s white pants suit had not been pure white, but rather white with slight gold piping or buttons, it would have changed her look completely though maybe not consciously.

We’ll be seeing much more gold, red, blue look after the Captain Marvel comes out if the film is representative of the Nova style outfit seen in the comics today on Carol Danvers. But remember, Carol Danvers is a military officer so the gold works on her for that reason too.

COMICS, COSTUMES, AND PRESIDENTS!

The reason I notice when gold is or is not present during a red, white, blue theme is honestly because of comics. Superman and Wonder Woman have used the gold accents whereas Captain America, I don’t think ever has — yet instead of gold, Cap has been accented with black (especially with Bucky Cap), the color of aggression and widely used in sports to try and intimidate. It obviously depends on the era and version of the characters.

The theme here bears specific weight with these three characters because both Superman and Wonder Woman are not born in America while Steve Rogers/Captain America is. The trio of them represent three stages of naturalization: Superman is alien from Krypton but adopted by Midwestern farmers so he’s completely raised as an American; Princess Diana/Wonder Woman comes to America as a young adult, but sets up residency here; and Captain America is the born and raised, apple pie loving version of American. With specific purpose, the creators of the three characters base those costumes on American colors, although Superman’s outfit supposedly came from his Krypton flag or blanket that happened to be red and blue too.

Presidents and politicians have always had cameos in comic books. It had particular meaning for President Obama’s appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man which kept selling out and had multiple printings. Fans and non-nerds were excited because Obama has said what a lifelong geek and lover of Spider-Man he is. And seriously, the photos of him playing with a little Spider-man fan in the White House is one of our most memorable nerd moments of all time.

obama-spideykid

Spidey has also utilized the RWB theme but with barely a glint of the white and much more black to represent his webbing. The thing with Spidey is that he’s had a lot of variation in style while maintaining a clearly iconic and identifiable design. You know when you’re looking at Spidey.

wonder woman formal gown
A WONDER WOMAN FORMAL BY HANIE MOHD

Yet, as Wonder Woman has changed wardrobe for certain things like being an operative or when attending a diplomatic function, she’s not usually star-spangled; sometimes that’s because they’ll use her Diana Prince secret identity, but other times, she’s simply wearing something elegant as Wonder Woman the diplomat. Comic book artists take a classy couture approach with her in those times. There’s been a lot more arguing among the fans about what she wears into battle. A lot of people hate the gladiator look and her use of weapons; while others detest the “bathing suit” with chest armor look my generation grew up seeing. She’s had a lot of looks, but the Lynda Carter look seems to be the most recognizable. That will probably change for fans being introduced to her today as a fashion forward immortal with a day job who wears leather and armor when fighting. We can argue about the stupidity of the strapless outfits across the board. Strapless sucks, okay?

Recently, Valiant Entertainment announced that Hillary Clinton would make an appearance in the November issue of Faith, one of the best new comics on the market. It’s Faith’s first time with an ongoing solo series so there’s a lot at stake. They haven’t made a big social statement racially like Marvel’s Riri Williams or religiously like Kamala Khan; Faith is still white and blonde – but they’re having a plus size female superhero who is a big ol’ geek as the leading character.

FAITH cover next to Hillary Clinton wearing Armani. Photo: EPA/JOSH HANER / THE NEW YORK TIMES / POOL
FAITH cover next to Hillary Clinton wearing Armani. Photo: EPA/JOSH HANER / THE NEW YORK TIMES / POOL

 

Faith’s superhero costume when she’s flying around fighting crime as Zephyr looks a whole lot like any of Hillary Clinton’s chosen pants suits designed by Nina McLemore or Armani. Zephyr’s costume features pale blue as the accent to keep her less intimidating. She’s a character that tries to avoid aggressive moves like punching, using them only as a last resort. She’s more likely to be classified as a defender rather than a brute because of her telekinetic force field that allows her to fly even while “carrying” someone else and it can deflect bullets/projectiles.

Faith Herbert’s secret identity as Summer Smith is that of a paid, but lowly blogger. She doesn’t have Wonder Woman’s prestigious opportunities. If Faith can last as long, I’m interested to see where they take her. Will she always be a journalist? Will they have her marry her new boyfriend Obie Archer of Archer & Armstrong? Or could she end up with some more powerful clout like becoming a future President’s Press Secretary? There’s a lot of potential for Faith at the moment. Maybe, she’ll get to put on some fancy clothes at least a couple of times instead of being restricted to her current daily streetwear and office casual style found at Kohl’s or Old Navy.

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