The jackets of Julia
By Nicola St John
It’s been a whirlwind week for Australian politics.
As the dust is still swirling in parliament, we thought it apt to look back on Australia’s first female Prime Minister.
From “that” hair and boxy suits, to the development of Julia into our leading lady, we’ve seen a progression from boyish suits to chic white jackets and tailored feminine pieces. As public opinion of Julia has grown and shifted over the years, so too has her fashion.
Without women, the parliamentary floor would be an arid wasteland of grey, navy and black, with the occasional excitement of a blue tie. However female politicians are judged on their clothing in ways their male colleagues simply aren’t.
The language of clothes can be used to assert political power, as Julia and her stylists surely know. Her look has certainly softened over the years, yet the key element of Julia’s style has remained - the power jacket.
Julia’s red hair and sharp features are her most recognisable qualities, but it has been her jackets which give her both feminine and power tailoring. The most familiar, her white jackets – with classic collars and slightly puffed shoulders, conveying business and tradition but with a feminine edge. The “2010 Electoral Victory” jacket was particularly noteworthy – clean, structured, stylish.
From her early days of boyish suits, wide collars and ill fitting trousers, Julia grew into the job of dressing for Australia’s leader, even donning a Carla Zampatti full-length gown with “punk” nail polish for the Midwinter Ball.
She once said: “I spend a lot of time having to worry about what I’m wearing so no-one comments on it. It’s a complete reverse of how most women think about their wardrobe.”
Julia’s sartorial choices promoted the fact there were bigger things to worry about, yet she learned to put her best foot forward when it mattered – mastering her red crop, softening her features with glasses and dressing sensibly for the job.
Parliament is surely going to be a lot more uninteresting without wondering what Julia will be wearing.