Ann Romney wore an amazing, clear red Oscar de la Renta dress last night during her speech touting her husband's loving traits at the Republican National Convention.
The dress, with its belted waist, cuffed sleeves and mini V-neck was a cute, and totally safe choice. By wearing American flag red, Romney visually pledged her affiliation to her Republican brothers and sisters. There was no vibrant, in between shades produced by the mixing of primary colors like say the turquoise Maria Pinto knit Michelle Obama wore when she gave a speech supporting her husband at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. I'm guessing Ann Romney will go primary all the way through this election cycle. I really thought she'd wear a suit, but the cutsy dress - with her slightly popped collar - showed Mrs. Romney wasn't afraid to be feminine and a little fashion forward, too. Her choice was a classic, bordering on fantastic. She's not stodgy, she's every woman.
Oscar de la Renta was a super safe designer choice. After all de la Renta is the premier American designer of First Ladies - Nancy Regan, Hilary Clinton, Laura Bush. Ladies who lunch (and cinched waists) are his forte. He is the classic of American classic. Mrs. Romney's choice of Oscar de la Renta clearly said: "Yes, I've had breast cancer, and yes, I've had MS and yes, I shop at Costco, but I'm still high class as they get," But most importantly, her choice says, I'm no Michelle Obama. (De la Renta has spent most of the Obama presidency knocking Mrs. Obama for not choosing his gowns for major events.)
That's a fashion statement.
But in this climate, it's not enough for political candidates - especially Republicans who are campaigning they are the party for hard working Americans - wear American based designers. The clothing should also be American-made.
This is an election year that's focusing on jobs and manufacturing jobs are important parts of the American economy. How can we believe a candidate that doesn't wear an American-made outfit is really serious about bringing America back to its former glory - especially when it comes to jobs. Mrs. Obama shouldn't be let off the hook either. The first lady also chooses American designers and most of her showpieces are made overseas, but the climate during her election was different. She represented a woman who was aware of style, fashion forward. She was a woman who mixed and matched. Now the climate is diffferent. We don't care how things are mixed and matched as long as they are made in America. (Just as Ralph Lauren re: Olympic uniforms)
So I implore Mrs. Romney and to think out of the box -especially at campaign events where fashion is almost as important as the words chosen by her party to defend the American dream. How about a dress from Philadelphia-born designer Ralph Rucci who maintains a manufacturing facility in New York? How about using a dress by Nanette Lepore or Michelle Smith?: Both designers manufacture the bulk of their clothing in New York. It's not about price - clothes manufactured here tend to be more expensive. It's about labor. it's about making America great. And then it won't matter if the dress is red, white, or blue.