Style.com

July 28 2014

styledotcom Ali Hewson and Danielle Sherman open up about @EDUN_NY's future: stylem.ag/Uw9Fzz pic.twitter.com/ApccIeRLP9

Subscribe to Style Magazine

Free Speech: Hadley Freeman Examines Cindy McCain’s Wifely Chic

-------

Yeah, yeah, Michelle Obama. Purple sheath, good pearls, Alaïa belt, simple lines. Even those of us who adore Michelle, her husband, and their totally hot relationship are, it must be confessed, getting a little bit tired of the bandwagon-jumpers banging on about how nicely the lady dresses. Yeah, whatevs, folks, some of us were all over that months ago. Anyway, with all this fuss from the latecomers over Michelle, I think that someone has been neglected here. You can no doubt see this one coming a mile off, but here we go: an ode to the fashion of Cindy McCain.

My Cindy fixation is not born out of sheer contrariness. It’s just that I think all the hoo-ha over Michelle’s “modernity” has blinded us to the joys of Cindy’s undisguised, full-on retro style. Which is odd, considering how much fashion loves to recycle past decades, and here we have, on international TV and countless Web sites, the living embodiment of 1950′s chic. Even leaving aside for the moment the clothes, check out that immobile hair, those adoring looks she gives her husband, the past scandal involving drug addiction—who needs Mad Men when we have Cindy? As someone who deems it a personal triumph if she remembers to put on moisturizer in the morning, I overbrim with admiration for any lady who puts on her face every day (and feel even more awe if she refers to it as “putting on one’s face,” as I strongly suspect Cindy does). This is a lady who would rather eat a lava lamp than go out in something uncoordinated. I think possibly my favorite of her outfits was the red suit she wore in New Hampshire back in January: head-to-toe red; the inevitable pearls clasped round the neck (and not in some ironic Jackie O way, à la Michelle, but in a proper “I like pearls, they are always suitable” way); faithfully peroxided hair swept up into what can only be described as a pompadour, all finished off with loyal wifely badge on her lapel proclaiming (in rhinestones, of course) McCain 2008. There have been plenty of other good looks (the head-to-toe blue suit, the head-to-toe green suit, the head-to-toe pink suit—I really could go on and on here), but the red is clearly Cindy’s favorite, as she wore it again in Arizona on Super Tuesday. And she’s right—that scarlet shows up her perfectly powdered face a treat.

But what’s most interesting about Cindy’s style is that it belies what it suggests. Such conservatism would seem to insinuate a mentality that goes with it, all subservient wifeliness and eager-to-please obsequiousness. Actually, there is nothing of the sort going on here. Infamously, several years ago Cindy dared to crack a joke to her husband in front of reporters about his thinning (nonexistent, some of us might say, but Cindy is a polite sort) hair, only for the sensitive soul to turn around and snap, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you unprintable and incredibly offensive expletive.” Isn’t that just charming? Gosh, I hope this man becomes the leader of the free world, etc. and so forth. Anyway, if Cindy really was as retro as her clothes suggest, she’d have swiftly made herself over to look like Andrea Dworkin in a desperate attempt to Please Her Man. Instead, she got up the next morning and plastered the makeup right back on—and has been doing so ever since, whatever her chastened husband might think. That is dedication to a look, people. And a true fashion champion.

Photo: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

USER COMMENTS Comments

Comments

  1. richallfam says:

    She looks like a Stepford wife.
    And too too perfect. Real Women are
    not perfect. Neither are real men, if they try so hard on the outside they are hiding behind something. Beleive me I know. If he becomes president, we are faced with a big problem a person that beleives his lies and can’t stop lying, even when he proven to be one.
    So not impressed.

  2. soymilk says:

    Oh, pur-lease. Bringing Cindy’s husband into the conversation is nothing more than a political attempt to de-legitimize her style and intelligence. And the sarcasm? No thanks. So-called journalists and un-biased media, stop pretending. Every thing you do points to your blind adoration of the left. Even talking of fashion, you manage to insinuate.

  3. woodsbg says:

    Cindy is a beautiful woman and I look forward to seeing the Franklin Mint replica doll in the future. She’ll be a great first lady.

  4. Pinot says:

    I love classic. I love Freeman’s willingness to point out Cindy’s chic. Both wives have great style. I’m proud of them. They are a credit to the American Woman.

  5. GLHM_FD says:

    Well as someone that’s not an american i can be an objective point of view. Yes cindy looks very well put together, and has a very strong style but both her and michelle obama should sometimes switch their style a little bit! You know, sometimes it’s fun and interesting to shake things up a bit.

  6. heidilee2 says:

    Frankly, she is the brains and ego behind McCain. So rich and bored what’s next? Propell herself by prodiing and coaching the poor, damaged, nearly senile and suffering from post traumatic stress and easily molded political ticket to ‘stardom’ the Senator from Arizona.Sad, sad. She spends $250,000.00 or more a month on herself.

  7. laj88 says:

    I’m sorry to learn hadley believes that michelle’s modern, consistently tasteful choices seem boring. i think she’s pushing the fashion envelope…she’s not an actress or a model. cindy mccain’s wardrobe and hair are as boring as she is…and i’m a mccain supporter!

  8. vardyortho says:

    cindy mccain doesn’t look all that nice. she looks reminescent of an ethereal barbie, but not in a good way she looks plastic. she will not be or make a great first lady because michelle already will be.

  9. alexi1 says:

    HOW DARE YOU EVEN PUBLICIZE SUCH AN AWFUL WOMAN!!!!
    I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT STYLE.COM ISN’T SUPPORTING MCCAIN. CINDY IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT CHIC. SHE IS A FRUMPY CLONE WHO UNFORTUNATELY ENCAPSULATES AMERICA’S IDEAL OF A WOMAN.

    PLEASE TAKE THIS ARTICLE OFF AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.
    FOR ALL OF OUR SAKE.

  10. alexi1 says:

    PLEASE!
    DO NOT TRY AND DEFEND THE RIGHT, SOYMILK!!!

    HADLEY FREEMAN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING THE LEFT.

    I CAN’T IMAGINE AMERICA WITH FOUR MORE YEARS OF REPUBLICANS.

    THANKS.

  11. licapri says:

    You don’t need to diss Michelle Obama in order to comment on how much you appreciate Cindy McCain’s fashion sense.

  12. licapri says:

    Has EVERYONE forgotten that John had an affair with Cindy while he was married? Yes! His wife was sick and disabled. He cheated on her with Cindy. She knew it and participated in an extra-marital affair with John. The democrats don’t want to go “negative” so don’t bring this up. I think it is REPULSIVE to “honor” such a woman, even for her fashion. She is simply an heiress. By the way, she and her fortune vetoed a bill in Arizona to raise the alcohol tax in order to help pay for poor children’s health care! HELLO.

  13. MihanB says:

    I agree that it’s not necessary to put down Michelle Obama in order to comment on McCain’s good fashion sense. And personally, I don’t beleive that she has much to offer in that department; afterall she just throws on a matching suit and some pearls… not very original or creative I mean it’s been done about a 1000 times before. She looks like any other conservative house wife.

  14. legallyblondemel says:

    THANK YOU for covering this. I was wondering when the media was going to get around to covering the classically elegant Ms. McCain.

  15. AlesterP says:

    Cindy McCain looks ‘fake’. She doesn’t even look real. What style? Please, explain to me like I’m a 6-year-old. What style?

  16. rgifford says:

    Leave the sarcasm behind. Cindy McCain is both classy and fabulous – two things Coco Chanel said every woman should be. And while her husband isn’t so stylish, he’s the one I’d trust in a crisis!

  17. dancerKF says:

    Yes, Soymilk! You’re comment nailed the point. Calling the writer out on the pathetic and oh-so-original sarcasm toward the right was dead on. I am a fan of you.

    (Read the comment left by Soymilk on 08/27/08 at 5:02)

  18. dancerKF says:

    Oh my dear. As I read over the comments I realize that Soymilk not only made a great point, but that Soymilk was the only person other than me to get the sarcastic edge about Cindy.

    People, the author is not a fan of Cindy’s style. Hadley is making fun of the cookie cutter image of the 1960s and claiming that Cindy is incapable of deviating from this look. Hadley is obviously a FAN of Michelle’s wardrobe. This is sarcasm, people.

    Verbal irony.

    Good Lord.

Q&A