A Brief History of Political Style Follies

Photographer: Tim Walker

It’s Election Day, at last. During the race, we’ve seen countless suit-and-tie combinations from our two candidates, most of which are minute variations on the same campaign camouflage—and therefore extremely boring. But it’s worth noting that political style has a history of controversy. Here, some of the greatest hits.

Photographer: Tim Walker

In tough economic climes, political spouses have been criticized for being a touch tone-deaf in their styling choices.

During her appearance on CBS This Morning earlier this year, Ann Romney’s $990 Reed Krakoff T-shirt (featuring an eagle motif) set off a media firestorm.

Photographer: Tim Walker

In 2009, Michelle Obama (perhaps unwittingly) sported $540 Lanvin sneakers … to a D.C. soup kitchen.

Photographer: Tim Walker

Hillary Clinton, despite her current popularity, is still haunted by her choice of hair accessories over the years.

From headbands … to scrunchies… to butterfly clips…

Photographer: Tim Walker

Jackie Kennedy’s predilection for French couture was so controversial that she had to consult Diana Vreeland for advice on American designers.

Photographer: Tim Walker

Decades before Rooney Mara, Mamie Eisenhower’s short bangs became her style signature; not everyone, however, approved. Periodically, the First Lady received letters strongly urging her to adopt a hairstyle that was a bit “more becoming.”

Photographer: Tim Walker

Richard Nixon was the subject of much mockery for his formal surfside footwear.

Photographer: Tim Walker

Mary Todd Lincoln’s, um, emancipated necklines caused one Senator to write his own wife sputtering about the “weak-minded Mrs. Lincoln and her sorry show of skin and bones.”

Photographer: Tim Walker

Bill Clinton, in his presidential pomp, was noted for jogging in booty shorts.