Intro, Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin: Politics of fashion

By Elizabeth Snead, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Gov. Sarah Palin’s no-nonsense style was the surprise hit of the Republican Convention. She had a fresh air about her next to First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain in their Oscar de la Renta suits, Chanel watches and Stuart Weitzman heels.

Palin’s look is definitely “take-me-seriously,” with pulled-back secretarial hair, neutral (but not muted) makeup and rimless glasses. Palin updated her eyewear in December, forgoing her “schoolmarm” dark frames for new titanium rimless glasses that seem to open up her face and make her eyes look brighter.

Okay, so a Boston hairdresser has called her hairstyle “20 years out of date.” Miss Wasilla 1984 prefers figure flattering cropped jackets with nipped waists, worn over slim skirts that show off her running legs. The big question is how she will update her look, as the election draws near and a possible formal inaugural looms? Will she lighten up the dark eyeshadow and too-obvious lip liner?

It’s probably not advisable. Trend forecaster Tom Julian, official fashion voice for the for over a decade, doesn’t think Palin should frouff up drastically. “A complete head-to-toe makeover might make her look more acceptable for the fashion magazines,” Julian explains. “But it would also cause voters to doubt her authentic loner image.”

“And she should definitely not take her fashion cues from Cindy McCain who is a totally couture, 7th avenue fashion plate,” adds Julian. “Perhaps a line like American designer Ralph Lauren would answer all Gov. Palin’s needs.“

What could be more all-American than Ralph Lauren? Only Wal-Mart.

Related: Cindy McCain: Politics of fashion Michelle Obama: Politics of fashion Hillary Clinton: Politics of fashion (Daniel Acker / Bloomberg News)
Trash talking

Sarah Palin wears a T-shirt that proves she’s proud to be called “Valley Trash” by one of her detractors. I tell ya, this gal’s got spunk.

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Is Sarah Palin practicing for her punishing VP race? No, just crossing the finish line on a recent local Alaskan run. Love the long-sleeved T-shirt, loose shorts and very bouncy ponytail. This must be how she stays in shape for those fitted skirt suits she loves to wear.

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The latest dish

Thank heavens Sarah Palin has moved on from the suburban hockey mom get-up. That pink floral print braided jacket looks like dollhouse drapes. Thankfully, her brassy highlights have since been toned down too. This definitely is not a White House-worthy outfit.

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Bear with me

Polka dots are perceived as way too clownish for a potential VP. So we’re betting Sarah Palin won’t be wearing this dotty blouse again anytime soon. But the endangered polar bear pin is an intriguing touch.

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Button up

Sarah Palin does a good imitation of former SNL news anchor Tina Fey in this official governor photograph. She’s so similar that she could actually play Fey’s sister on " 30 Rock.” Not quite sure why this jacket has both a zip front and faux buttons. Fastening overkill.

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Staying neutral

Sarah Palin stays in neutral fashion territory with a beige, quilted jacket worn over a black top. Pearl earrings go well with her French white-tipped manicure. Nail experts say that square-shaped nail (harder to break or chip) indicates a woman who embraces practicality above fashion trends. Again, notice her turned back cuffs that say, “I’m ready to get my hands dirty.”

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Into the wild

Gov. Sarah Palin’s studious brown eye frames give her a decidedly serious look. But that long, flowing hair, big gold hoop earrings and ruffled white cotton blouse, unbuttoned lower than usual, reveal the wild woman within.

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Working girl

In May 2007, Sarah Palin chose a silver satin blouse to add some shine to her demure gray wool suit. That dark red manicure looks a bit overdone. But her rolled-up sleeves suggest she ready to get to work.

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Wind-tossed on the trail

Sarah Palin appears sensible and down-to-earth in beige next to an extremely red-and-fuschia Cindy McCain.

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True blue

Sarah Palin is stepping up her fashion profile by sticking with a demure palette but upgrading her blouses and suiting with satins and silks.

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Conventional wisdom

Sarah Palin’s beige jacket, worn atop a slim black wool skirt, was a good no-nonsense working woman ensemble for one of her Republican National Convention appearances. Check out the VP wanna-be pearls and her new rimless glasses, all the better to project sincerity and determination.

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Red scare

For her debut beside Senator McCain, Gov. Sarah Palin chose a slim black skirt suit with surprisingly sexy shiny red heels adorned with some serious hardware. Check out the French manicured toes! Her one accessory? An American flag pin, what else.

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Frame work

Sarah Palin chose a soft peach jacket that’s flattering to her skin tones and hair color. But those glasses gotta go. These brushed silver frames are too heavy and don’t go with her tiny gold earrings. Now, about that all-too noticeable lip liner…

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