Everyone is talking about Sarah Palin's $150,000 in clothing and accessories from department stores like Saks and Neiman Marcus. To echo my colleague, Palin is a woman who presumably had few television-worthy outfits (or accessories or makeup or haircuts), nor the personal income to buy them herself. In Alaska, Palin shopped at consignment stores and wore $89 pumps, so it's not as if she is an extravagant woman (see Michelle Malkin for pre-makeover photos).
As Glamour's fashion blog notes, Palin's look is "that difficult combination of pretty, polished, down-to-earth, professional, and most importantly, electable." And like it or not, a woman in the spotlight like Palin needs to maintain that look.
But is $150,000 unreasonable? New York magazine's fashion blog breaks down outfit costs from Saks and Neiman Marcus and discovers that just six outfit combinations alone cost over $16,000. For $150,000, Palin could purchase approximately 34 outfits. Fashion blogger Amy Odell concludes,
Now, McCain picked Palin on August 29. That's 67 days of campaigning until November 4, so in theory she has enough clothes to repeat outfits just once, maybe twice as we get closer to Election Day--or, with smart mixing, maybe she doesn't need to repeat at all! After all, she's giving televised speeches daily and being photographed, so wearing repeats is a no-no...
In conclusion: A $150,000 clothes budget might not be the wisest use of campaign money. But given the demands of Palin's job, the figure is not as outrageous as it seems at first.
After all, have Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain, or Hillary Clinton worn the same dress or pantsuit for more than one major appearance yet?