As the first female presidential candidate leading a major party ticket, Hillary Clinton is no stranger to critiques, especially when it comes to her fashion choices. Along side any discussion of her latest speech, there is always a commentator remarking on her hair, style, and of course pantsuit choice.
Fortunately, there's an Instagram account that is laughing with us all at the absurdity of that conversation.
Hillary Street Style is made up of mashups of past and present Hillary outfits with celebrities mimicking her look. Does Hillary inspire high street fashion or is she inspired by others? Milk recently spoke with the founder of the Hillary Street Style account (who prefers to remain anonymous) about the candidate, fashion, and women in politics.
Milk: What sparked the idea to create this Instagram account?
HillaryStreetStyle: I had actually been thinking about the account since 2015. I’ve always been interested in fashion and politics. I also kept seeing coverage of Hillary and her fashion choices, but so much of it was critiques or simply retrospectives.
Fashion is fun and I felt like there was room to look at her fashion from a different perspective. Finally, this Spring it became clear that even in the primary, we were going to be discussing Hillary’s hair, yellow jacket, laugh etc. And there was a sense that younger women were not connecting with her campaign as much as anticipated. So I decided to put something together that I as a young(ish) woman enjoy and relate to.
Personally, if I am going to discuss Hillary’s fashion choices I would like it to be a convo with friends about her scrunchies while drinking wine. The newscylcles of the past few weeks/months/year have been rough and I don’t think anyone has hope that this election is not going to go negative. I personally wanted something fun to help me through the election year.
M: Hillary's fashion choices have been critiqued for as long as she's been in the public eye. Why did you feel it was important to lean into that conversation?
HSS: “Lean in”—interesting choice of words. I’m not so much trying to lean into that conversation as I am trying to provide an avenue for another type of conversation. Most people I know like fashion, talk about it and think about it. For the first time in history we have a woman running for president on a major party ticket. For better or worse, women have a lot more variety in their professional wear than men often do. Let’s enjoy that!
M: Why do you think people are so focused on Hillary's fashion choices?
HSS: I have many thoughts on this issue—many of them skew towards Women’s Studies 101. However, Hillarystreetstyle is also an account dedicated solely to Hillary’s fashion choices so let’s not have the pot call the kettle black.
M: How do anticipate that conversation evolving if Hillary is elected president?
HSS: I hope that Hillary will feel more freedom in her attire if she is president. I think the campaign trail would be a very difficult scenario to dress for (even the simplicity of needing outfits that fit every climate in the 50 states, that work in an air conditioned auditorium and then straight to a state fair). If some of the benefit of having a diverse candidate base are allowing individuals to imagine that they too can achieve those things, then I think that is where her fashion as President could really be amazing.
Girls no longer just dream about what they would wear to prom, the Oscars or their wedding, but what they would wear to their own inauguration, their first state of the union, the first time they call Putin to tell him what’s up.
M: What kind of feedback have you received?
HSS: So far I have been surprised how nice the “internet” has been. People generally have been really great and supportive and its amazing how many rad people there are on Instagram.
M: What is your dream for the impact this account could have?
HSS: I think it would be awesome if people celebrated their own “hillarystreetstyle”. I can’t walk down the street without seeing Hillary outfits now. I’ve actually started wearing headbands again as a result of the account.
M: Have you considered making a Bernie Street Style or Trump Street Style?
HSS: We did do a Bernie mashup when Bernie endorsed Hillary. But in terms of a separate account, I don’t know much about men’s suits (whether they are Brioni or JC Penny) so I would not feel “qualified” to do an account solely about Trump or Bernie.
M: What is your favorite Hillary Street Style mashup?
HSS: A lot of them bring me an inordinate amount of joy (which perhaps says something about my mental state). To name a few:
- the Kim K cut-out mashup, because they might as well be wearing the same dress;
- the Jessica Alba cargo jacket mashup because it was the first one posted and I want the jackets;
- both the Gigi Hadid shirt dress and sweater mashups, again, because I would wear them;
- the Poppy Delevingne embroidered coat mashup because you have to give Hillz’ “funky grandma style” (as my friend puts it) some respect;
- the Obama mashup…we’ll miss him; and
- the neon suit Beyonce mashup (posted pre-lemonade)
M: What will happen to your account if we have a President Hillary Clinton?
HSS: Let’s wait and see what happens into November.
M: Why have you chosen to stay anonymous?
HSS: I feel for the candidates. Privacy is underrated.
Follow Hillary Street Style on Instagram.