We had seen Hillary Clinton at her political best where she lets her stoles speak for her, the occasion and the audience. In contrast stands Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and the first woman to hold this position. Her scarves and stoles assert her individuality amid the conformity of the black suits that she is surrounded with.
With her it is about professional chic that adds to her presence and aura. As head of the IMF, she may have ruffled the Greeks when she stated that it is payback time, but she comes with impeccable credentials both with her professional reputation and her clothing.
She had held various ministerial posts in France, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Finances and Industry and prior to that Minister of Agriculture and Fishing and Minister of Trade. She was also the first woman to become Minister of Economic Affairs of a G8 economy1.
Her bright, bold scarves jazz up her suits. Whether the scarves are carefully knotted or casually thrown around her neck, she wears them with great confidence, ease and style.
Courtesy her interview in Vogue, she reveals her favorite shopping destinations – Chanel, Ventilo and Austin Reed – upscale destinations that suit her pocket but not many others. But it is her great sense of style that we turn our attention to. It brings elegance and glamour to a lady who impresses with her mere presence.
Color and Boldness
One sees her suited a lot in unrelenting dark shades, but her scarf does its job to perfection. It brings a boldness and strength to her ensemble. Even when she wears pastels, the casualness with which she wears them in these photographs coupled with her perfect suits, the boldness stands out. In fact, given the neat, almost severe lines of her attire, the scarf comes as an attractive, eye-catching relief.
The bright scarf on the dark pant suit takes the viewer’s eye straight to her even in the presence of personalities like Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, or Nicholas Sarkozy, the ex-French President, or a group of senior officials.
More Than a Simple Knot
A double knot or a cowl or mixed style, she wears them with ease and confidence. You’ll find her wearing some of the brightest of scarves and some of the palest wonders, complementing her attire. The color combinations are impeccable. From the classic to the experimental styles, she makes them all her own individual style.
A Shade for All Suits
Notice how she wears light brown scarves and makes them look just right on a range of suit colors, from blacks and greys to tans. Scarves are meant to be mixed and matched. When you do that, they bring greater variety to the suits in your wardrobe.
Bright and Bold
Some of her scarves are so bright-hued that your eye goes straight to her whether she stands alone or in a group. Plus, she is enterprising with how she wears them as if she sets her own rules and lives by them. That in all probability is what took her where she is, coupled with razor sharp focus.
A few other styles that she wears are with the scarf hugging the neck. Like the choker in a dark shaded scarf. See the white diamond type of pattern. She sticks to the geometric pattern in this case, although she doesn’t always do so. She doesn’t break the rules just for the sake of establishing her individuality. It is in casually accepting or discarding the rules of professional attire that she asserts herself.
Yet another style is a twisted necklace. With a strand of pearls twisted with the scarf, she knows what she’s doing.
Or a scarf that is carefully folded and wrapped around the neck so that for a moment, you’d think it’s the collar of the suit.
One of the most elegant and sleek ensembles she wears is the one in blue with a soft-as-satin scarf with two shades of blue on it – one lighter and the other darker than her suit. It gives her a look of perfection.
If you thought Christine Lagarde is all about careful style, you are mistaken. She carries the casual style with equal confidence and poise – just letting one end hang loose in the front with the other thrown over the shoulder.
Not all of her casual drapes are really casual. A good example is the one in black with a grey border. Worn over one of the most unusual colors for her – pink skirt suit in this case – and high boots, she looks completely formal.
Or for a formal-social occasion, she does a rare wrap about the shoulder with the threads loosely tied in front. It’s done so carefully, that it looks more like a garment than a wrap.
Another simple, yet careful style is to let the scarf fall over one shoulder.
Or wear it the easiest way possible, with both ends falling to the front. The length of the scarf doesn’t really matter when taking to this style. She doesn’t bother to place the fronts of the scarves beneath the lapels, but right on top where they are fully visible.
Christine Lagarde is so rarely seen in the bright pinks that we put up a couple to show how well she matches her scarf with this bright ensemble. Naturally, you don’t notice anyone much when she is around.
Or a dark scarf to go with a deep pink suit and a strand of pearls that go well with it.
The finale is with this evening wear, where she is casual, chic and elegant with long, flowing ends of the stole.
It is true that all that her critics have to say about her is that she’s too elegant. In the man’s world of finance, she is the first woman in many important ways. It is her competence and hard work which have brought her to her current position. Her style adds rather than detracts from these traits and the power she holds.
In contrast to the elegant style of Christine Lagarde, look out for our future post on Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame and her casual style with not a hint of anything formal.