While it rarely arises for men in politics, why does the question of dress arise more for women in power ? The dress code has constantly evolved over the years for women who wish to move away from traditional men’s suits and emphasize their femininity.
For centuries, men have been the only ones in power in France, but things have changed, at least on the surface. In June 1936, three women were appointed ministers (or “under-secretaries of state”) in Léon Blum’s Popular Front government, even though they were, like all women of their time, neither voters nor eligible. On 6 June 2000, the law to promote equal access of women and men to electoral mandates and elective functions was passed.
However, the issue of women’s dress in politics is much more delicate than for their male counterparts. In fact, for several years now, women’s dress in politics has been scrutinised, analysed, dissected and has fuelled debate in the media. This phenomenon has accelerated since the advent of the Internet and social networks.
We remember, for example, the fashionista Rachida Dati, Minister of Justice from 2007 to 2009, who embodied the bling-bling era of President Sarkozy. “A whirlwind of haute couture dresses, pumps and diamonds,” remarks Valérie Domain in her book Total look. A style of dress that had never before been so criticized for a minister.
Voir cette publication sur Instagram
In times of crisis, when the country is experiencing economic difficulties, Rachida Dati was quickly criticized for flaunting her wealth. “In France, external and ostentatious signs of prosperity are not well perceived,” analyses Frédéric Godart, a sociologist and lecturer at Insead in Fontainebleau. Although if you look at the prices of politicians’ suits, many would be very surprised. The norm is sobriety, a return to austerity both economically and in clothing. “Sunglasses, even if they don’t cost much, give a bling-bling effect. What counts is not the reality, but the public perception of it.”
How do you dress as a woman in politics?
Fashion is an integral part of life in politics. It is a strategic point and a political weapon like any other in the race for power. A political speech is as much about the choice of words, gestures and physical appearance.
Time has brought new freedoms to women in terms of fashion, but in politics one cannot allow oneself to do everything as this can quickly become the subject of debate, criticism and controversy. Women must therefore opt for a combination of classicism and femininity, symbolised by the skirt suit, to gain access to power.
“More and more women are freeing themselves from the constraints of the strict suit or trouser suit of their elders, obliged to erase all signs of femininity in order to impose themselves in ultra-codified universes”, analysed Muriel Fitoussi, author of the book Femmes au pouvoir, femmes de pouvoir.
Women politicians who have made their mark
Some women have made their mark on the political scene thanks to their courage, ideas and looks.
Simone Veil fought against the criminalisation of abortion, the fate of prisoners, anti-Semitism and for a united and peaceful Europe, all the while maintaining her precious allure in suits or blouses from the House of Chanel. Gabrielle Chanel‘s revolutionary tweed suit became her eternal uniform. Gabrielle Chanel liberated women with functional fashion, imposing themselves as men in a tweed suit, a fabric assimilated to men’s suits.
In 1991, for the first time a woman, Edith Cresson, was appointed Prime Minister. This appointment led to many comments on the minister’s outfits, which were discredited by her flashy suits.
Voir cette publication sur Instagram
Roselyne Bachelot, appointed Minister of Culture in Jean Castex‘s first government, under the presidency of Emmanuel Macron, does not fail to amaze with her confidence and audacity. A fan of colourful and highly original outfits, Roselyne Bachelot is often in the news for her surprising and surprising looks. We remember in particular her apple green total look, at Emmanuel Macron’s re-investiture ceremony at the Élysée Palace in May 2022. The former minister delighted Internet users and showed her desire to stand out by affirming her ecological commitment.
If the looks of women in politics are closely scrutinized at each of their public outings – the first lady Brigitte Macron did not escape – let’s hope that the gaze on them is inclined to change.
Featured photo : © Presse
[EN] CLAIRE DOMERGUE, A SPECIALIST IN COMMUNICATION IN THE LUXURY SECTOR, HAS SURROUNDED HERSELF WITH EXPERTS TO CREATE THE FIRST MEDIA DEDICATED TO THE ECONOMIC NEWS OF LUXURY AND FASHION. THE LATTER DRAWS THE ATTENTION OF ITS READERS TO ALL THE MAJOR PLAYERS IN THESE SECTORS WHO SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES, VISIONS AND KNOW-HOW. MORE THAN A SPECIALIZED WEBZINE, LUXUS PLUS IS A MULTI-SECTOR INFORMATION SYSTEM, WHICH HAS BECOME THE REFERENCE MONITORING TOOL FOR LUXURY AND FASHION PROFESSIONALS. OUR NEWSLETTERS CONTRIBUTE TO MAKE OUR READERS AWARE OF THE CHANGES AFFECTING THE LUXURY INDUSTRIES. THANKS TO AN INCREASED WATCH AND AN EXCELLENT KNOWLEDGE OF THE SECTOR, WE ARE INTERESTED IN THE MAIN ECONOMIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL STAKES OF FASHION, FINE WATCHMAKING, JEWELRY, GASTRONOMY, COSMETICS, PERFUMES, HOTELS, PRESTIGIOUS REAL ESTATE...********[FR] Claire Domergue, spécialiste de la communication dans le secteur du luxe, s’est entourée d’experts pour créer le premier média consacré à l’actualité économique du Luxe et de la mode. Ce dernier attire tout particulièrement l’attention de ses lecteurs sur l’ensemble des acteurs majeurs de ces secteurs qui y partagent leurs expériences, visions et savoir-faire. Plus qu’un webzine spécialisé, Luxus Plus est un système d’information multi-sectoriel, devenu l’outil de veille de référence pour les professionnels du luxe et de la mode. Nos newsletters de veille contribuent en effet à sensibiliser nos lecteurs aux mutations qui touchent les industries du luxe. Grâce à une veille accrue et à une excellente connaissance du secteur, nous nous intéressons aux principaux enjeux économiques et technologiques de la mode, la haute horlogerie, la joaillerie, la gastronomie, des cosmétiques, parfums, de l’hôtellerie, l’immobilier de prestige…