I would like to dedicate this post to all of my hard working campaign staffers out there. Thank you for all your hard work, and you deserve a nice long massage upon your return!
A majority of my friends are in the middle of the chaos that is elections. With 26 days left until election day… clipboards, GOTV, and donations are all that is on their minds. The one thing I have began to notice, watching from the outside in, is the wardrobe choice of the candidates and their staffers.
It is easy to spot a candidate who dresses to look like “just one of the regular people”, and when they are dressing to look like they will fit into the “DC bubble”. Candidates use their wardrobe to say what they can’t verbalize. You won’t find a candidate saying, “I’m folks-y”, but you will see them dress in a button down tucked into perfectly pressed jeans (yes, some iron their jeans). For those chomping at the bit, and typically these are not the incumbents, they are in full suit trying desperately for their constituents to take them as a serious, viable candidate.
For example, I spoke at Netroots Wisconsin in Madison a couple weeks ago (shout out to my Cheddar-sphere!) and Senator Russ Feingold wore a plaid button down tucked into kahkis. Looking at the picture below (ignore my horrible photography skills), you can see that he is trying to show you that he has not changed since his constituents sent him to DC. That he is still a man of Wisconsin, and never loses touch with his roots.
Our second example is the one and only, Christine O’Donnell. Christine is running for Vice President Joe Biden’s old Senate seat, and has had a bumpy road to the general elections in Delaware. A proclaimed “Tea Party-er”, Christine is never been seen without a suit (unless she is being spoofed as a witch). This is her way of saying “take me seriously”, “I belong on the Hill”, etc. The picture below is a prime example of a candidate new to the limelight attempting to show that they are serious competitors. Also, notice the nod to her parties color, red. If you search in Google Images “Christine O’Donnell”, you will notice that red is a pattern throughout her wardrobe, as is blue for those running on the other side of the ticket.
But what about the staffers, you ask?
The campaign staffers have it easier, being that they are rarely on camera or in a photograph, unless caught in the background. The one thing you will always see them in, is their candidate’s t-shirt or a sticker with the candidate’s slogan. Either way, they do have it easier in the wardrobe department. The only campaign staffers I ever see dressed to impress is the Spokesperson. The best way to spruce yourself up while on the campaign trail, but still be dressed for comfort would be; dark jeans, fitted tee, blazer, cute flats, and of course you candidate’s sticker prominently placed.
I do not have any pictures of candidate staffers dressed to impress, but if you know someone, or you are that someone, email me pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org!
So before you go out and vote, stop and think about what your candidate is trying to convey to you through their wardrobe choices. Not what they are saying. You may be surprised. As my mother always says, “actions speak louder then words.”