Image and dress has been a major part of this year’s Presidential election. According to an article in Philly.com, “a focus on image in elections is nothing new.”
Even before a sweating Richard M. Nixon faced the handsome, cool John F. Kennedy in the first televised presidential debate in 1960, image mattered to the public.
Is it then fair to say that how the Romneys and the Obamas dress, will make an impact on how they are perceived which consciously or unconsciously could hold the power to sway a vote?
Many argue it is unfortunate that Americans seem to be more preoccupied with image than with foreign policy. Even the candidates – who say they care about substance over style – were practicing rehearsed zingers before the debates. That’s more about appearances than budgets.
A good example of this is the “fashion politics” played by the candidates’ wives.
“The women’s vote became more and more crucial as election season has progressed,” said Susan Mackey-Kallis, associate professor of politics, media, and culture at Villanova University. “The wives are really key in courting the women’s vote, and the wives show a stark contrast to the candidates’ different visions.”
Michelle Obama has always been viewed as somewhat of a fashion icon making the “recycled Thom Browne dress she wore Monday night send a subliminal message that she, and therefore her husband, embrace new and innovative ideas.”
As for Ann Romney, her striking red Oscar de la Renta dress that she wore at the GOP convention sent out the most interesting message – that “she thinks she’s fit for the White House.”
“This is really a very close election,” said Villanova’s Mackey-Kallis. “The candidates’ images are factors that can really change the outcome of an election.”
And if fashion can sway a vote, maybe we should stop treating it like a passing fancy.
Image consultants the world over understand the importance of image, fashion and business dress. Image helps build executive presence in politics or on the job.
So whether you want to win an election or get the next promotion, start by polishing your image today: