The 2008 election year had plenty of powerful women in the spotlight. WORKS shows you how to get their look.
Her Look: Hillary’s hair appears to have gone through more transformations than Madonna. As she famously told graduating seniors at Yale University, “hair matters. Your hair will send significant messages to those around you: what hopes and dreams you have for the world, but more, what hopes and dreams you have for your hair.” Her current style seems to suit her, because it’s short and no-nonsense. Her choice of clothes reflects a similar aesthetic.
Signature Piece: Pantsuits
What It Says About Her: Until 1993, women weren’t even allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor. But Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun changed all that, and Hilary seems intent on proving that she can compete in a man’s world.
How You Can Wear It: To pull off Hillary’s look, choose pantsuits that are simple but made of high-quality fabrics like silk or linen. This Tweed suit by Tahari ($280; macys.com) will flatter curves while giving you an air of authority. The leather belt around the waist adds a stylish edge.
Her Look: The former veep candidate's distinctive hairdo has been dissected by everyone from SNL to the Chicago Sun-Times. But her updo is elegant, while piecey bangs and a big smile keep her from looking too severe.
Signature Piece: Sarah’s hair bump and designer glasses from Kazuo Kawasaki
What It Says About Her: Sarah wants to position herself as a Washington outsider, so she uses her hair and clothes to convey that message while still looking professional.
How You Can Wear It: The right pair of glasses can make you look smart and sexy, so look for rimless lenses at your optical shop or simply crib Sarah’s specs ($345; eyeglass.com). Be sure to try out several frames to find one that flatters your face shape. Twist your hair into an updo for a sophisticated edge. Just don’t forget the hair bump.
Her Look: Whether working an event or working out with her trainer, First Lady Michelle Obama always looks the part. And she’s not shy about showing off those sculpted arms, either. This summer, Michelle looked stylish and stayed cool on the campaign trail by sporting sleeveless dresses. And since she’s 5’11”, she forgoes the four-inch stilettos for chic and comfy ballet flats.
Signature Piece: Classic shift dresses and colorful suits
What It Says About Her: Michelle’s poised and polished look has been compared to Jackie Kennedy. But many women (especially working moms) can relate to her fun and accessible fashion sense. Her style shows that she understands American women.
How You Can Wear It: Look for dresses with simple, flattering lines and beautiful patterns or colors. This dress from White House | Black Market ($148; whitehouseblackmarket.com) reportedly sold out after Michelle wore it on The View. Fortunately, they’ve restocked their inventory. Michelle has also been spotted on the campaign trail sporting separates from Target, H&M, and the Gap, so stock up on those basics, too.
Her Look: Heiress to Hensley & Co. (part of Budweiser beer), Cindy McCain favors couture clothing from Chanel and Oscar de la Renta,. Her clothing choices are usually classic and conservative, while her daughter Meghan, an aspiring fashion designer, makes bolder style statements.
Signature Piece: Pearls and red or pink suits
What It Says About Her: Pearls are a classic choice for presidential wives, so this accessory is a nod to tradition. Cindy’s pink suits show her feminine side, while red reinforces her ties to the Republican party. And her tendency toward high-end fashion reminds us of her impeccable taste.
How You Can Wear It: A string of pearls gives a style boost to almost any outfit. But if you want to avoid looking like a Stepford wife, then mix things up by wearing a pearl necklace that incorporates other materials, too. The gold links give this pearl pendant necklace ($160; nordstrom.com) an extra edge. A red suit makes an eye-catching impression, but make sure it’s fitted and not too frumpy (no shoulder pads or you’ll look like Nancy Reagan). This red Tahari skirt suit ($280; macys.com) blends classic and contemporary styles.
Her Look: The first black woman to serve as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice made headlines in 2005 for sporting a long, black military-inspired jacket and black knee boots, a combination that The Washington Post described as “speaking of sex and power.” She is usually pictured wearing stud earrings and red lipstick, but with few other reminders of her femininity.
Signature Piece: Dark suits and black knee boots
What It Says About Her: Condoleezza’s look conveys authority, intelligence, and a readiness to kick some serious butt. When she wore those famous boots, it was like she issued a warning: Don’t mess with me (or my country).
How You Can Wear It: Unless you’re meeting with foreign dictators, head-to-toe black might be hard to pull off. Incorporate elements of Condi’s kick-butt style but add color and texture to break it up. Try these Charles David knee boots ($179.99; heels.com) with a tweed skirt or a patterned wrap dress. The skinny heel and buckles on the ankle combine military style with modern chic.