Pret-a-Reporter

Hillary Clinton's DNC Look and the Return of The Power Pantsuit in Hollywood

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Hillary Clinton speaking at the Democratic National Convention July, 28, 2016.

She has been able to flip the script on her fashion choices, owning them, even poking fun at them, and making pantsuits a power symbol for women again.

The sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits triumphed Thursday night when Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in Philadelphia wearing a perfectly cut pantsuit in bright white, the color of new beginnings. 

There may be no other politician in history who has been so thoroughly picked apart for her personal appearance as Clinton, from her headbands, to her hair scrunchies to her suits of many colors.

And yet in recent months, she has been able to flip the script on her fashion choices, owning them, even poking fun at them, and making pantsuits a power symbol for women again. That's right, Hillary is now a fashion trend setter.

This spring, pantsuits have been spotted everywhere from the Cannes red carpet (on Susan Sarandon and Charlize Theron), to less formal events, perhaps signaling a potential shift in the political wind.

In May, Girls creators and Lenny Letter co-founders Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner showed up wearing them to no less than the Met Gala, joined by J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons. All three were dressed in identical J. Crew suits with slicked back hair. It was a nod to Dunham's documentary Suited, released in June, which tells the story of Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn-based bespoke suit company that specialized in tailored creations for trans clients, but also to gender-bending and genderless fashion.


SUITED UP: Jenna Lyons, Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham at the 2016 Met Gala. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/FilmMagic)

In June, Beyonce chose an electric blue Altuzarra suit for an NBA Finals game in Cleveland. Hugging every curve, and revealing some deep cleavage court side, this was not your mother’s (or Hillary Clinton's) pantsuit.

"The women's pant suit for a long time was trying to emulate a menswear staple, and it was about hiding your femininity," said designer Joseph Altuzarra. "But with so many strong women from Beyonce to Hillary Clinton embracing the more tailored silhouette, it has emerged as a symbol of female empowerment and strength." 


COURTSIDE COOL: Beyonce in an Altuzarra suit at game six of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors on June 16. (Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

For Gigi Hadid, who wore a fiery red Mugler by David Koma pantssuit to the I Heart Radio Much Music Awards in Toronto in June, it was all about the detail of the slit-front pants.

"I thought it was the right moment to bring back the idea of tailored suits that could be worn not only in the office but on the red carpet," Koma told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's right for now, it’s in the air."


RED HOT: Gigi Hadid in a Mugler suit at the 2016 Much Music Video Awards in Toronto on June 19. (Photo: George Pimentel/WireImage)

Female executives in Hollywood are embracing the pantsuit again, too.

"For a while, the  trend was very feminine," said Dana Asher Levine, a personal shopper and stylist who has worked with actress Emma Roberts, producer Shonda Rhimes and producer Michelle King. "Women traded in pants for dresses and skirts ... They were dressing for meeting [Barack] Obama and Michelle. Now they’re dressing for Hillary Clinton and [California Attorney General] Kamala Harris."

"Everything used to be a boyish cut," she continued, referring to the Armani suits of the 1990s and early 2000s. "Suits now, they have a flared leg, and the jackets end at the butt.  They are very sexy on."

Hollywood's pantsuit of choice now? It's by Alexander McQueen, Levine says. "It’s feminine and sexy and doesn’t look too harsh. Elie Tahari also does an affordable one."

Levine said, "It’s the way women are saying, 'Hillary we’re ready for you.'"


POWER SUIT: Universal chairman Donna Langley at the Glamour and Facebook-hosted Power Players In Hollywood & Politics Lunch on June 20. (Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images Entertainment)

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