Before everyone starts yelling about how shallow and sexist it is to even discuss a female cabinet member’s fashion choice, let’s be real for a second. Social media went bonkers about it. Women in particularly noticed that Hillary, who has let her hair grow long in recent months, had returned to the look she had when she first appeared on the national stage in 1991. Some tweeted about it. Others emailed me wondering if it was a secret code to Hillary’s political future. (A future as the first female vice-
president? A 2016 White House run? Retirement?)
Or was it just a look that said that as secretary of state, she can finally wear her hair any way she wants?
The Hillary headband took a lot of heat in the 1990s as her critics railed her for continually changing her image, and especially her hair styles. In Barbara Olsen’s book, “Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the late Olsen, who was no Clinton fan, wrote: “She took an old hippie headband and gave it to the hosts of The Regis and Kathie Lee Show, saying, ‘I don’t need them anymore and thought you might want it for Halloween.’ ”
There was nothing hippie about Hillary’s headband Tuesday night. It was sleek, black and bedazzling. Disclosure: I love headbands and I want that headband.
Pierce Mattie, CEO of a beauty fashion PR firm in New York, says that headbands are currently trendy.
“They were a big hit at the Golden Globes and we expect to see them on the runways at New York’s fashion week next month,” he said. “Hillary has always favored headbands, so I’m sure she’s thrilled they’re back. She may want to keep her long hair, and headbands provide easy polish when her hectic schedule doesn’t allow time for intricate styling. She may be growing out her bangs for a new hairdo, guess we’ll see in about eight weeks.”
Hillary may have had no clue that her headband would generate such speculation.
But for fans of the Clintons, the headband was a visual cue, a reminder of an electric time in politics, when Bill and Hillary were building a bridge to the 21st century.
It was hard to see it and not start singing “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” Hillary’s shout-out to history reminded many Democrats of a time when the country elected its first Baby Boomer president and embarked on eight years of peace and prosperity.
On Wednesday, Hillary didn’t rock the headband when she addressed Brazilian youth ambassadors at an event in Washington. She preferred a ponytail.
In true Hillary form, she keeps her supporters guessing what’s next. Even if it is – for now – just about her hair.
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker