Let's Hope She Wears It Well

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It was inevitable. As election results made it clear that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would be the next Speaker of the House, media profiles focused on her designer suits. Does anyone ask what sort of suit the rumpled Rep. Dennis Hastert wears?


So I opened up the Washington Post three days after the election and there it was on the front page of the Style section: two pieces on the presumptive new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, one a profile detailing her upbringing as the daughter of a Baltimore politician, the other analyzing what she wore as she met with the president and faced the media in the first hours after the Democrats took control of the House.

Why didn't I see that coming? I mean I had noticed that she looked good in that gray suit, but I didn't know it as an Armani suit, which according to the Post is a kind of professional armor and a tool for playing with the boys without pretending to be one. Wow. That was news to me.

I wonder what Dennis Hastert's suit signify? I guess it's a good thing that the next likely Speaker of the House is a not a female version of the old Speaker of the House, a big rumpled former wrestler definitely not worth a mention in a fashion column.

But why complain that a woman politician is still held to a different standard when it comes to what she wears? After all, what is happening is historic. Nancy Pelosi is likely to be the first woman to become the Speaker of the House, the first woman to be third in line for the presidency.

And Nancy Pelosi will have plenty of company on Capitol Hill, at least 70 women in the House and 16 in the Senate. Nine governors are women too. They may not all speak with one voice on all the issues, but it's a victory for women that so many female voices will be heard at this crucial time.

So yes, it is the year of the women. And hey, maybe it will turn into the decade of the women, maybe even the century of the women.

I don't want to alarm you guys, but it's a possibility. After all, as the politicos turn their attention to the 2008 presidential election, all eyes will be on at least one woman with a shot at the White House, and that's enough to keep the fashion writers busy for quite a while.

(Soundbite of Dimitri from Paris)

Unidentified Woman: How do I look?

Unidentified Man: Very good. I must say, I'm amazed.

NEARY: That's Dimitri from Paris and this is NPR News.

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