As we all know, in today's world there are more and more women assuming positions of power. Recently, Robb Young's beautiful new book crossed my path and I couldn't wait to share it with Self-Empowered Woman fans. Power Dressing: First Ladies, Women Politicians & Fashion (Merrell, $29.95, 192 pp) gives us an inside look at how women in the public eye choose to present themselves.
For example, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto frequently wore a "salwar kameez," which is a traditional tunic-and-trouser suit that (in various fabrics and colors) she wore for decades when she led the Pakistan Peoples Party. Thanks to her, it became the most suitable form of dress for political women. Sadly, on December 27, 2007, as she was in Rawalpindi preparing to run for Prime Minister for the third time, she was wearing a blue and white salwar kameez. After she prepared to leave, and touched up her makeup, a suicide bomber detonated himself next to her car, and she was dead.
Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said that the Ossi syndrome (a bias against those who have roots in the former East Germany) has contributed to the criticism about her public appearance. Many have said that she looks and dresses in a manner that is "frumpy, stern and outdated." In her words"Half of the German press constantly feels the need to review my haircut and make antics about it." But many feel that her "style deficit" and "dull outfits" demonstrate "consistency and prudence, two qualities general prized in German politics."
Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the Former President of Latvia, was - in 1999 - a multilingual, scholarly emigre (she had left the country as a child when the Soviets occupied Latvia), who became a compromise candidate for president. After the election she relied on skirt suits in rich fabrics such as damask, jacquard and embroidered tweeds. In her words, " I considered it my duty, representing Latvia, to present myself in an attractive and correct way...All one has to do is to avoid looking silly, frilly, frumpy or slovenly."
The Former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was often called "everyone's favorite aunt," and is a woman who always stands out in a crowd. Eminent economist and vice-president of the World Bank, she returned to Nigeria to clear up what had once been called "the most corrupt place on earth." When it came to style, she was primarily known for her bright "head ties"; her way of tying them became a national trademark.
Former Prime Minister of India, Indira Ghandi wore hand-loomed saris that made both a fashion and a political statement. For decades, her saris were made of khodi, which is a homespun fabric that had been an integral part on India's economic empowerment and opposition to British Colonial Rule. By law, the Indian flag must be made of khodi, a rustic fabric that Indira Ghandi transformed into an elegant and stately political style
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