When it comes to stoles in formal life, Hillary Clinton is a great example.
The important thing about image management is letting your attire speak for you on a given occasion. Hillary Clinton is the perfect example of letting her stoles speak for her based on the audience, the occasion and of course, herself. She does it with confidence, yet within the guidelines of clothing.
As we did earlier, we shall refer to scarves, stoles and shawls alternately, since the effect is similar. So is the fabric, the difference lying in the length of the fabric and the way it is worn.
At the Primaries
At the Pennsylvania primary, Hillary Clinton wore one of her brightest, multi-colored scarf, tied in a single knot. She brings not just a touch of brightness, but a whole swathe of it, lighting up her persona at her appearance in Liberty High school, making her fun to be around.
Serious Discussions with the European Union
Contrast that with the look she chose for her discussions with the European Union regarding penalties against Syria for the country’s brutal crackdown against anti-government protestors. This time, the scarf was in pastels that lend dignity and seriousness to the discussions. Worn with a single knot against a dark shaded jacket, the shades make a world of difference.
They take her from the open, light and approachable look at the primaries to a formal and serious demeanor during the talks with the European Union. Pastels that don’t distract or lighten the seriousness of the discussion – makes her approachable but in a measured form.
Formal to Less Formal
The scarf in blue and white was the one she wore after her win in Pennsylvania. Bright, yet not multi-hued. The plain blue scarf was at a more formal occasion. Both carry similar shades, but give her a different look. It wasn’t just her expression. Watch the way the scarf seems to reflect the lighter expression on her face at the primaries and the more measured expression at the other, more formal occasion. Planning your ensemble with an eye on the day ahead is a great way to let your stole speak for you.
When in Rome….
This was Hillary when she arrived in India in 2011. She wore a pale blue silk scarf, not to mention matching studs, a bead necklace and bracelet to lend a touch of the Indian, albeit in a western hue. It of course lends color to an otherwise completely dark outfit.
In more conservative countries, the stole comes in handy to cover her head as is the practice with the religion.
On a Cold Day
A scarf is a good item to ward off cold for Hillary along with husband, Bill Clinton on the Inauguration Day. It is the same for the Obama children to the left.
Yet another way on a cold day is to tie the stole in a European knot. Adjusting the lengths into neat folds gives it a look similar to that of a tie while keeping her warm. Plus, it balances a completely dark outfit.
Tone Down the Color
Not only do scarves and stoles brighten up a dark outfit, they can tone the brightness down too. See Hillary in the pink and the yellow outfits.
Or they can be used to give a subdued contrast to a dark outfit like the grey-black patterned scarf against her dark outfit.
A simple drape with the yellow shawl looks good when the drape is in neat folds and it doesn’t make the clothing less formal.
The other way to wear stoles is to drape them about the shoulder. They keep her warm in the cold interiors that some buildings seem to have. Also, note that Hillary Clinton follows the rule of dark shawls for bright clothes and the lighter ones for attire in dark shades.
To conclude, Hillary Clinton wears her stoles in a more or less traditional fashion. But the combination of fabrics, shades, length, style of drape or knot make them interesting to watch. They brighten or tone down her look while making her stand out in a formal fashion.
For a more adventurous use of style that brings the phrase “dignity with chic” to mind, look out for our forthcoming post on Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.