Friday, May 14, 2010

Submission & Coordination in the Dress of Presidential Wives

by Nina Fernstrom

I looked at messages of submission and coordination communicated in the dress and fashion of women married to men with high professional standings, as exemplified by first lady Michelle Obama and French Presidential wife Carla Bruni.

Being the wife of a high profile person – and at the very extreme the wife of a president of a country – gives you a highly visible yet slightly undefined position. There are certain expectations, or even rules, in regards to your behaviour as well as your image and dress. Clothes are and have for long been used to indicate a certain social status or worth. In the case of a presidential wife and her dress, this is a not only an indication of her own particular role and person but also that of her husband and his identity and values. The difference in dress between a man and his wife is also there to establish the difference in power and status between them.

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