My Primary Concern: Fashion

Forget Iraq--this election is about tans, pants suits, and really old men

The other day I was at the gym doing a pilates routine and reading about whether Suri Cruise really is the spawn of L. Ron Hubbard. I actually think she is. I have thought that ever since I realized, purely through my own powers of deductive reasoning, that Katie Holmes had been pregnant for approximately 18 months, wearing what appeared to be a prosthetic stomach for half of that time. No one believed me then.

Anyway, while I was reading and sneaking self-congratulatory smiles at myself in the full length mirror, some earnest-looking individual decided that we should watch the primary debates. I had no real objection to this, as “Jeopardy!” was over. In fact, I was rather excited. Think of the outfit that Hillary Clinton will be wearing!

I should probably interject that I have never voted and that my idea of civic responsibility is my encyclopedic knowledge of the contents of Jackie Kennedy’s wedding trousseau. I am sure this offends many of you, and this doesn’t bother me. If you grew up in Rhode Island, home to four electoral votes and the only state in the union to have a mayor, a governor and two Supreme Court justices all in jail at the same time, I doubt you would vote either.

Though I feel incapable of assessing any of the candidates’ positions on healthcare or campaign finance reform, I do feel I can offer them some fashion advice. Seriously, if any of these fools want to be president they really need to step their game up and start looking the part.

John McCain

John McCain is really old. I noticed this pretty much immediately. During the most recent Republican debate, which seemed to take place inside of an airplane hangar, McCain seemed to be suffering from a severe draught. He wheezed, he slumped and generally wrapped his thin little suit around his round little shoulders. I know from experience (actually I do not, but I can imagine) that airplane hangars are extremely draughty. I have read enough Alexander Dumas novels to realize the signs of consumption, and even though it has been erradicated one cannot be too careful. There is nothing like a mandated stay in a Swiss sanitorium to ruin one’s presidential ambitions.

Reccomendation: Buy a flannel waist coat.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is really tan. His is a tan not found in nature. It is a tan that I, in fact, most recently saw Paris Hilton sporting at the premiere of her new film “The Hottie and the Nottie.” It is, in short, not real, and it needs to stop immediately. Though his suits are the best of anyone’s, orange is a color that goes with nothing, except for orange, a lesson that all of us have learned through Halloween.

Reccomendation: Buy orange suits or stop the madness.

Barack Obama

There is a scene in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” where Jimmy Stewart storms the Senate and yells about some injustice while wearing the loosest suit imaginable. I wonder if that is what Barack Obama is going for. His jackets are gigantic. His pants flap in the wind. I realize he is skinny and has more important things on his mind or whatever, but considering that Michelle Obama is the best dressed at any of these functions, she probably understands the value of good tailoring. I don’t really understand why she isn’t sharing that knowledge with her husband.

Recomendation: Go to Italy. By the time I left Italy, I was wearing hot pink spandex rompers and thinking they were too loose.

Hillary Clinton

As the only woman in the bunch, I was most interested in Hillary’s fashion choices, and I will say this for her: I have no idea where she gets those pants suits. I have never ever seen them in any store. Horrific hip-length jacket with ankle-skimming capri pants in matching puke brown is a combination I literally thought was impossible to buy. My mother helpfully suggested that Hillary is in the shape of a perfect pear, and thus, it is impossible to buy anything except a hip length jacket. This may be true.

I also realize that she is trying to be taken seriously by an all-male establishment that only likes her when she cries. But I second my idol Anna Wintour when she says: “The notion that a contemporary woman must look mannish in order to be taken seriously as a seeker of power is frankly dismaying.” Just because Bill happens to embody all your goals and dreams doesn’t mean you have to dress like him. An A-line skirt hides a multitude of sins.

Recommendation: Oh...I don’t even know.

—Columnist Rebecca M. Harrington can be reached at harring@fas.harvard.edu.