On Wednesday, we learned from Politico that the Republican National Committee had spent $150,000 on clothes and accessories to outfit Sarah Palin and her family. Whoa, I thought. Now that is a whole lot of flag pins. So, what kind of campaign duds would a cool 150 grand actually buy you? To find out, I headed over to Saks Fifth Avenue—one of several high-end department stores where Palin has shopped since John McCain tapped her as his running mate.
Suits and separates
I’ve never had a job that required me to dress up. The last time I bought a suit, I think, I was getting ready for a high-school speech and debate tournament. So here was my chance to finally put together a fantasy grown-up wardrobe. If I were running for vice president, as Palin is, I figured I would need a lot of smart-looking separates to get me through the endless rounds of rallies, town-hall meetings, and photo ops. Flush with all my make-believe cash (no, Slate does not have a clothing expense account), I headed straight for the Saks section dedicated to Escada, the swanky brand favored by both Palin and Cindy McCain. There I found several campaign-appropriate blazers in the bright jewel tones Palin likes so much: I happily put a red one, a checked one, an orange one, and a purple one into my, sadly, still-imaginary shopping bag along with a few matching skirts. I fell in love with a kelly-green, two-button suede jacket. And then I looked at the price tag—$4,550, or about four months’ rent for my tiny studio in Brooklyn, N.Y. But today I am Sarah Palin! I reminded myself. Think how nicely that bright color would show off my fresh, outdoorsy complexion. I added it to the list and then high-tailed it to another boutique, sensing that my grad-student-giveaway messenger bag and beat-up sneakers were starting to attract too much attention from the saleswomen.