Hillary Clinton, 2008, DNC

By Elizabeth Snead, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Michelle Obama wears one B&W sleeveless dress on a morning talk show and a simple blue dress at the Democratic National Convention and suddenly, she's the Queen of Political Fashion? What about Hillary Clinton, who has been struggling in the style spotlight for 20 years? We all know those boxy jackets, dowdy pantsuits, proper pearls and a conservative coif. Hillary's style has come under constant criticism over the years. So much so that she even did her own fashion police for Us Weekly, making fun of her past outfits. In our review of Hillary's style evolution from the early '90s to 2008, we found some surprisingly edgy fashion: a leopard print gown, a ruffled blouse, one sheer bodice and a pretty fancy Oscar de la Renta ball gown, not to mention some very 'bright' blouses. Even her jewelry has gotten more colorful over the years. As recently as 2007, Robin Givhan of the Washington Post wrote about the shock of seeing Hillary's cleavage on the Senate floor, peeking out from under a rose colored blazer. That's what counts as a fashion scandal inside the Beltway? Unimpressive. Until one considers it wasn't until the early 90's, that women were allowed to wear pantsuits on the Senate floor. Hillary has always erred on the conservative side. No baring of toned arms and legs - like Michelle Obama - for this gal. Even when she had a real fashion designer's input, she dulled it down. Hillary's second inaugural gown was designed by Oscar de la Renta, a gold lace gown that she had the designer add long sleeves and a Victorian high neckline. She again wore an Oscar de la Renta to the 1997 Grammys, another high neckline. But most observers believe that the nail in Hillary's fashion coffin was her Senate campaign. It pushed her into a full-time pantsuits regime. No time for fashion now, her pantsuits seemed to scream. And when she campaigned for president, political pundits noted that she may have relied too heavily on the pantsuit, perhaps as a way to be one of the boys. Check out this Politics of Fashion gallery and vote on Hillary Clinton's fashion policies. Let your votes be counted! Related: Cindy McCain: Politics of fashion Michelle Obama: Politics of fashion Sarah Palin: Politics of fashion
Keith Bedford / Bloomberg News
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