February 7

Robin Givhan’s response to the festive color palette at the State of the Union address confounded me [“State of the Union’s tacit dress code: Ladies, look like gumdrops.” Style, Jan. 30]. Men donning suits that say “authority” (i.e., drab) were applauded while women reaped a churlish response, suggesting that any woman in the chamber who wore anything other than “quiet, calm and assertive” hues was parading her insecurity in a pathetic bid for attention. Really? What if, instead, they were asserting their right to not dress in the masculine “sensible” shades of gray, navy and brown and instead were saying, “Yes, I’m a woman, and I’m confident in my place of power; I celebrate my presence, and I feel great in orange (or purple or even red checks).” 

At worst, they may encourage the males of the chamber to liven their wardrobes up a bit, giving those of us watching something pleasing to look at as a counterbalance to having to listen to the predictable and stale analyses.

Carmela Lanza-Weil, Baltimore