Before The Pantsuit: Hillary Clinton’s Style Evolution

If clothes make the man, does the pantsuit make the politician? Hillary Clinton might tell you so, but we think there’s a little bit more to the story. After all, one does not simply come into this world in a lapel and shoulder pads. So what about our favorite First Lady/Senator/Secretary of State/Presidential Candidate? How did her style come to be the pantsuit-power icon it is today?

Did she go through a hipster phase? Was she just as obsessed with Abercrombie jeans as we were in middle school? Maybe she once liked a good pair of culottes?

Secretary Clinton has always been full of surprises, so you can be sure her style didn’t disappoint.

The Collegiate Hipster
Hillary 1970s

Life Magazine

The look: Some rad grandpa’s glasses, a crisp white shirt, high-waisted stripes and the hair of Brigitte Bardot.

The life:  Earned a degree in political science from Wellesley College, organized a two-day student strike after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., became the first student to give her university’s commencement speech, got published in Life Magazine, worked at a National Park and attended Yale Law School.

The Gypsy-Babe Bride

Bill Clinton & Hillary Rodham Collection

The look: A Caribbean gypsy’s frock and a head full of curls.

The life: Married Bill Clinton after his numerous proposals, moved to Arkansas, worked for child advocacy, became the first female partner at Rose Law Firm and became the First Lady of Arkansas.

The Cool Mum Of The Year

Bill Clinton & Hillary Rodham Collection

The look: Patriotic pinstripes, schoolgirl sandals and the best mom-lob we’re ever seen.

The life: Worked to reform the public school system, worked to address the gender bias for all female lawyers, was named Arkansas Woman of the Year, was named Arkansas Mom of the Year and formally began going by “Mrs. Bill Clinton”.

The Sequined Queen


Getty Images

The look: Being First Lady of the Free World means wearing a lot of sequins.

The life: Attended two Inaugural Balls as the First Lady.

Jackie O 2.0

jackie o

Getty Images

The look: Fabulous broaches, 50 shades of pink and polite silhouettes.

The life: Worked to help teenage foster children, helped create the Office on Violence Against Women and coined the famous quote,  “It is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights”.

The Suited-Up Senator


AP Photo, New York Post

The look: A rainbow of pantsuits and a power red lip.

The life: Became a United States Senator, visited every county in the state of New York for better representation, worked to help Afghan women living under the Taliban government and became Secretary of State.

The Original


Getty Images

The look: The blue pantsuit.

The life: Is campaigning for the 2016 presidential campaign, discussing women’s issues in her platform and wearing this amazing pantsuit (and others) across the country.

Brielle Saggese

Editorial Contributor, Indiana University Major: Journalism/Fashion and Cultural History Her heart belongs to: snail mail, vintage dresses, a solid cat eye and french press coffee Her guilty pleasures: crafting more than the average kindergartner, singing showtunes and bringing back the scrunchy

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