As campaigning for the 2012 Presidential Elections kickoff, I can’t help but wonder what accessory choices Ann Romney and First Lady, Michelle Obama, will make on the campaign trail and how those choices will affect public opinion. Historically, candidates’ wives have done a great deal in influencing their husband’s image and popularity. In some cases, I would even venture to say they mobilized the female voting constituencies. Nancy Reagan and Jacqueline Kennedy come to mind immediately as two of the most glamorous first ladies (sometimes subjecting both to criticism), the latter’s jewelry is still being reproduced to this day.
I shall steer clear of politics to the extent possible, unless it is integral to the analysis and critique. After all, whom you choose to support is your business and one would hope those decisions are based on policy rather than aesthetics, so what I say here should have little impact on your vote. Just to be Swarovski clear, let me say the following: my views stated here are based on aesthetics alone and are not a reflection of my political tendencies. Now, lets take a look at what we’re working with:
Style: Ann Romney plays it safe and minimalist, preferring simple pieces, mostly white. Two of her favorite necklaces, a double string of large faux pearls and a white teardrop necklace get a lot of action and are repeatedly photographed by the press.
What does the jewelry say about her? Romney’s choice jewelry suggests that she is quite conservative and reserved, she is no wildcard. Her preference for white necklaces suggest a lack of imagination, however the size of the double-stranded pearls hint at a woman who also likes to draw a little attention to herself, a touch of vanity perhaps. It comes across as if Ann Romney either doesn’t have much of a personality or is deliberately playing her individuality down so that her husband can shine in the spotlight.
Ann Romney’s choice of jewelry is likely to be very comforting to her husband’s core constituency–it’s not going to ruffle too many feathers. The fact that her jewelry is understated and not flashy works in her favor, given her husband’s financial standing. The repetition with which she wears the pieces tell me that she is wearing her own jewelry and does not have a stylist. . .yet. While she is not going to generate any best-dressed hype, she also won’t catch too much flack for ostentatiousness as far as her appearance is concerned (which is important as she generates enough Marie-Antoinette criticism from her comments alone). However, both she and Mr. Romney tend to come-off as a bit up-tight. It has been suggested that Mr. Romney lighten up a bit, in an effort to appear a bit more “hip” and influence the swing voters and younger demographic.
Simple silver hoops and necklace.
Clear beaded necklace.
Large double-strand faux pearl necklace.
White teardrop necklace.
Ann Romney has a fine line to tread; she needs to become a bit more accessible and hip while avoiding any suggestion of ostentation. My suggestion would be to stick to colorful costume jewelry and avoid anything grannypants or overly flash. Colorful beads, slightly ethnic looking pieces, etc. Something like the following pieces would work well without taking her too far outside her comfort zone:
BaubleBar, Spiced Mist Collar
BaubleBar, Crimson Quad Drops
Style: For First Lady, Michelle Obama, jewelry is big, bold and slightly badass. She wears a mix of costume and fine jewelry and is partial to stacking.
The First Lady is clearly not afraid to allow her personality come through in her choice of clothing and accessories. The funky and flashier pieces tell me that she is not hiding behind her husband–she is an accomplished, self-made woman and feels entitled to wear what pleases her. It is clear in her selection of designers that she is hip, modern and on-trend. The way she wears pearls, a traditionally conservative material, in an over-the-top Tom Binns design suggests a witty playful side.
Michelle Obama plays to her husband’s core constituency as well. Both she and the President embrace a younger, more cosmopolitan demographic, him through his laid back persona and use of social media in his campaigning, her through her causes and affinity for designers like Prabal Gurung, Tom Binns, Bochic, etc. Her choice of jewelry suggests that she is current, relevant, and her husband’s equal.
A retrospective on Michelle Obama jewelry:
Michelle Obama wearing House of Lavande earrings.
Necklace by Tom Binns. Similar items by Tom Binns here.
Earrings by Bochic.
Tom Binns necklace and bracelet, ring by Yewn.
While I SWOON over the First Lady’s jewelry choices, I suspect she will tone it down a touch for the campaign trail to ensure that all eyes are on the President. What pieces would I love to see on the First Lady? Oh, maybe a little bit of the following:
As for me, I shall be following the campaign trail closely, clad in my best bipartisan footwear.
Stubbs and Wootton, Undecided Slippers
Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,