Style in the City / Susanne Seidman – True Colors


In these days of elephants and donkeys, conservatism and liberalism, rabid politicos and apathetic Joes, do our politics impact our sense of style?

Living alongside the Beltway we see cars with party stickers from campaigns past and angry monikers counting down the days to a new administration. Despite my husband’s deeply held political views, and his political employers, he has never wanted an emblem on our vehicle. Perhaps it is because he espouses the idea of driving every vehicle into the ground, regardless of who is in office. Sometimes we wear our hearts on our sleeves, but does our fashion really influence our politics and vice versa?

At this weekend’s July Fourth celebration at the White House I was surprised to see an equal amount of black, yellow and purple to the stylishly executed red, white, and blue. From white pants and jeans with tonal blue and red tanks, tunics, and polos, to easy jersey dresses and even silk shifts, these die-hard patriots showed their true colors even in the rain.  Our red and blue Maclaren stroller was fully equipped with bunting and metallic star garland for good measure. I even heard a little boy justify his sister’s pink floral dress saying “there is a little red in there right, Mommy?”

My children were decked from head to toe in red and white gingham and seersucker. They exclaimed at the ponies on the lawn and called out the colors at the Capital Celebration fireworks: “White, Blue, Red!!” The ice cream served was white vanilla, providing a true holiday for me; I didnt need to worry about a constant stream of Spray and Wash on chocolate drips and smears.

At this weekend’s AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, hosted by an absent and ailing Tiger Woods, a fashion trend prevailed. Players strode up the fairway wearing black pants and red shirts ranging from cherry to garnet, emulating Tiger’s signature Sunday final round championship look. Incidentally, the tournament winner, Anthony Kim, wore pink

I listen to each State of the Union, including the pre-game speculation on presidential tie color. I also pay homage to the iconic “First Lady of Style,” Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, on a regular basis, if only with shift dresses and oversized sunglasses. Tradition aside, I argue do not judge a candidate or his wife solely by style, which is not a substitute for their records and beliefs. How I wish the candidates would all take a few fit tips from the likes of style guru Tim Gunn! If there were a cabinet position for style, I would dust off my public policy degree and offer my CV.

So, feel safe to wear oversize pearls, real or faux, regardless of your party affiliation. Or maybe opt for a trendy, chic gold chain with an elephant or donkey pendant. Political style is more about your ability to share your views, defend them and listen to the other side of the aisle without turning crimson and blowing smoke out your ears. After all, intelligence tempered with good humorand a properly fitting suitis always in fashion.

Susanne Seidman can be reached at and is always available to pick ties for campaign stump speeches, inaugural festivities and the State of the Union address.