US president Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is a grave affair to be sure. But it’s also given lawmakers a chance to show off their flair—a wink in the form of a bright pink tie or a dramatic black bow, an opportunity to peacock.
Here’s the best American lawmakers have offered in the personal plumage department. And some of it has been very good indeed.
In a sea of suits, it wasn’t difficult for the biggest vestiary risk-taker of them all to make herself known over the course of the two-week trial.
Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t only have a name designed for Hollywood, she’s got the style to go with it. Yesterday, ahead of the Senate’s vote on whether to hear witnesses and bring in additional evidence, she wore a knee-length sleeveless ivory cape dress and silver heels, like a cross between a screen goddess of yore and a superhero Halloween costume. Around her neck was a thick diamond choker appropriate for an awards ceremony.
That was one of the milder looks she put together. Two days earlier, Sinema sported a gleaming green printed trench-type number that had this reporter asking from the press gallery overlooking the Senate chamber, “Is that plaid? Are those flowers? No wait. Maybe both?”
It was rivaled only by the rose mink Sinema wore to sign the oath book when the impeachment trial began.
This renegade style says something deeper about the senator. She’s not merely flamboyant in her clothing choices. She’s politically bold, or strategic, or both. Sinema is from a Trump stronghold and is one of the sole Democrats considering acquitting Trump, though she did vote to hear from witnesses (a motion ultimately denied by a 51-49 Republican majority, signaling the president’s inevitable, forthcoming acquittal).
Where Sinema is perhaps an Arizona idea of LA, very cinematic, California’s Kamala Harris is super cool and more Paris. Arguably, she’s also the best-dressed senator in America.
Her look acknowledges people are watching and offers delights. But it gives away very little. It promises no shortcuts. It says, “I am a woman to be reckoned with.” Harris’s style is prosecutorial, professional, feminine, and—dare I say it?—downright presidential.
She can seem like a legal giant and a style icon all at once, deadly serious in a pussy bow that would make even regal and sharp-featured first lady Melania Trump look like a mere squishy, frivolous, pretty little gift. And Kamala on Wednesday, in a brown turtleneck, seventies-feminist-style underneath her suit jacket, might just have been the most covetable look of winter 2020 thus far, in or out of the Capitol.
Meanwhile, Hakeem Jeffries gave everyone a run for their money in his navy blue leather sneakers and matching suit. The House manager and New York representative showed senators in Washington, DC how to do the awkward and ugly business of politics comfortably—but make it fashun.
No other man on the Senate floor came near this level of sartorial audacity, except perhaps for fellow New Yorker Charles Schumer, the senate minority leader. His humor and wit come through in colorful neckties, sharp suits, and a frequent smile, including at his own expense.
Schumer even smiled gamely, acknowledging the joke when team Trump played clips of the senator during the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial in the current president’s defense.
Let it not be said, however, that Democrats are the only politicians who can pull off an outfit. Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia has her whole party and every Democrat besides perhaps Harris beat.
Like Harris, she has that bow thing down. And boy can Loeffler rock the monochrome. Her silky blouses with subtle prints blend seamlessly into same-colored suits.
Yesterday, Loeffler donned a white button-down done up to the very top and let her long blonde locks cascade dramatically past her shoulders down a navy suit while she avidly took notes with a yellow pencil. It was a very good look in the impeachment trial context especially!
Hate Loeffler for her vote against hearing witnesses perhaps, if you wanted complete impeachment proceedings. But not because she was refreshingly attentive, especially compared to her colleague Ted Cruz of Texas, say, who spent much of the trial fiddling with his year-old hipster beard.