Politics of Fashion: Styles of McCain, Obama, Palin

Fashionistas haven't had this much to say about political wardrobes since Jackie Kennedy inhabited the White House.

That's because three of the women on the front lines of the 2008 presidential race -- Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin -- all dress with their own sense of style, even if, in the case of Palin, it's anti-style.

Palin herself told Vogue magazine, "A reporter once asked me about it [her appearance] during the campaign, and I assured him I was trying to be as frumpy as I could by wearing my hair on top of my head and these schoolmarm glasses."

While each woman approaches fashion from a different angle, all three exude strength and confidence in the way they dress.

To find out more about what the clothes say about the women, ABCNews.com spoke to Jennifer Goodkind and Jayne Chase, the co-hosts of the radio show A Fashionable Life, which airs on WGCH 1490-AM in Greenwich, Conn., as well as the Web.

Sarah Palin

Chase: She said she's a hockey mom and the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick. I'm a hockey mom, and by and large that's a serious Polar Tech crowd. She said it, lipstick is probably the only fashiony thing she has an interest in. Fashion is not a part of her program or her package.

Goodkind: She let her hair down last night but it was still very contrived. It was a "downdo." She has that agenda of appealing to every woman schlepping her kids to school. Fashion is not going to be the focal point for her or her campaign, for that matter. If she gets too glammed up, she's going to move away from the voice that's her strength. Still, she should lose the schoolmarm glasses and trade them in for a modern frame, lose the "updo" and go for a haircut that has movement and frames her beautiful face. She has a lot to work with. Play up, never play down.

Cindy McCain

Chase: Cindy McCain is also a strong independent woman, however, she is a more classic dresser, favoring the more conservative designers. Maybe this is because she is older and richer than Michelle Obama, so she can afford couture and their prices. She's a very classic clean dresser. I love the designers that she wears. I didn't like the metallic Oscar de La Renta dress but she's definitely on trend. Color is big for fall. And she looks great in her clothes, she has a great figure and that blonde hair is a nice contrast.

But I really think that she is not walking the fine line she needs to walk to represent the country. She is too fashiony, too couture, too over the top. She looks a little untouchable. I think she needs to tone it down. I think it would be better if she didn't wear such prominent designers.

Goodkind: Cindy McCain is a great example of a woman's ability to reinvent herself. Because Cindy has been in the spotlight throughout her husband's tenure in the Senate, we have seen her undergo several transformations, finally landing at the style that she has projected in her clothing choices throughout the presidential campaign. Cindy has let her hair grow out, added a wispy bang and has embraced a softer yet still conservative edge.

She's really all about that pop of color. Last night, wearing that green dress and sitting in a sea of Republicans, she stood out like a blazing light. I did not like the dress. I thought it a little odd. But I think she's a beautiful woman and can get away with it. Women of America will not necessarily be able to duplicate her penchant for Chanel pumps, Chanel watches or Oscar de La Renta frocks. But she will inspire women to wear color with confidence, to bring out the double-stranded pearls and to ultimately work toward finding a personal style that emphasizes who a woman can become when she finds her "look." Michelle Obama

Chase: Michelle Obama is clearly her own woman. She is smart, accomplished, well-educated and independent. So are her fashion choices. Michelle knows what she looks good in and wears a lot of sheath dresses that are feminine and modern but she is not a couture kind of girl. The thing that Michelle is doing so well that Jackie Kennedy was famous for is her color choice. She chooses colors that are soft, never too bright, and wears smaller prints.

Michelle is walking the line between fashiony and modern. She has not alienated people who can't fill their cars with gas and feed their children.

Goodkind: Michelle Obama is a trailblazer, in that she is the first black woman standing by the first black presidential nominee in the history of the United States. So befitting of a "strong trailblazer," she has shown her ability to carry and successfully pull off bold prints (shown in the Thakoon Panchugal dress worn during her husband's acceptance of the Democratic nomination) and form-fitting dresses that show off and flatter her stature and toned body. She is youthful, confident and independent.

She is a shining example of being able to use accessories -- the larger-scale pearls or wide belt. That wide belt really reminds me of Wonder Woman. It says, "I am woman."

"All of these women have a lot of confidence," Chase said. "They look good in what they have on and can carry it off."

Added Goodkind: "We have so many options as women today that our mother's didn't have. The look of now is a multitude of choices, adapting what looks good for your body type and lifestyle."

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