We’ve all laughed at Billy Crystal’s savage caricature of Fernando Lamas, a sketch character reportedly born when Crystal heard Lamas, on The Tonight Show, announce that “it is better to look good than to feel good.” That quotation popped into my mind when I read a New York Times style article fawning over Madame Speaker’s exquisite fashion sense:
But with the ascent of Nancy Pelosi, 66, widely recognized and admired for her Armani and easy fashion savvy, the days of the dowdy Washington dress code may be numbered. At least that is the hope of a number of women on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats, who see Mrs. Pelosi, the new speaker of the House, as a fashion leader, too.
During her first week on the job, Mrs. Pelosi clinched votes in the House on the minimum wage, financing for stem cell research and Medicare drug prices, drawing two veto threats (for research and drugs) from a notoriously veto-averse president.
And she did it looking preternaturally fresh, with a wardrobe that, while still subdued and overreliant on suits, has seldom spruced the halls of Congress. On Jan. 9, a Tuesday, she wore an impeccable black and white tweed skirt suit, with strong shoulders and the jacket nipped at the waist; on Wednesday, she draped a red shawl insouciantly around a red suit outside the White House; and on Thursday, she appeared in a mod, deep-blue velvet, slimming pantsuit.
Fashion authorities say Mrs. Pelosi should be applauded for her color choice (burgundy on Jan. 4, the day she was sworn in), her playfulness with jewelry (chunky, but tasteful, including signature Tahitian pearls) and her suit selection (from velvet to tweed), all of which can be imitated at a more affordable price by women who are not wealthy. Women are already taking note of her style; orders of Tahitian pearls have skyrocketed.