That the GOP dressed up “a no-frills hockey mom” for her star turn is fine, but that they dressed her up in Neiman's, Saks, and Barneys is “mind-boggling evidence of a tin ear for the symbolism of popular culture,” style maven Robin Givhan wails in the Washington Post. It doesn’t take much fashion knowledge to know a $10,000 handbag represents “exclusivity, success, and classiness”—not Jane Six-Pack.
It was smart to “polish” the governor’s fleece-and-turtleneck image, but why not at J. Crew or Ann Taylor? Cindy McCain's $5,000 Oscar de la Renta dresses fit her heiress image, but her husband’s running mate came out on the wrong end of the Republican version of What Not to Wear. “It’s all in the symbolism, or in the case of Palin, the dissemblance,” Givan sighs.