Fear and Clothing: On Lagarde against pretty pink interlopers
A weekly reverie on the vagaries and charms of fashion
I met Christine Lagarde a few years ago at the Saxon hotel. She was still the French minister of finance, arguably one of the most powerful positions in any government. She was dressed in that immaculate French way. The clothes are cut to reinforce the authority of the person wearing them. They rustle with power without screaming about it. I don’t know how it’s done other than to say she looked the part. More importantly she sounded the part – she spoke and everyone listened. Her mantle of perfectly groomed white hair and year-round glowing tan reinforced the image. Here was a woman in the prime of her powers.
So it was not a huge surprise when she became the managing director of the IMF and, as of this week, was nominated to become the president of the European Central Bank.
How to dress as a woman in a position of power is challenging. Make too much of a statement and you could find that even your footwear becomes the tool they use to lampoon you. Just ask Theresa May how she feels about leopard print now. Make too little, and it could become the whip the use against you – consider Hilary Clinton’s fractious relationship with dressing for the role...