Being a famous woman is weird. If you’re a certain type of public figure and you wear the same outfit more than once, the tabloid press will applaud your ability to keep it real.
But if you’re a different kind of celebrity (essentially, if you’re not Kate Middleton), repeat-wearing an item of clothing is likely to get you called out for… Well, we’re not really sure what for. But it happens, time and time again.
Chelsea Clinton recently dismantled this phenomenon during an appearance on The Tonight Show. The political campaigner and consultant had seen her favourite nude patent heels picked apart in an unflattering article on the Mail Online, which described the shoes as “frayed” and “shredded”.
“No wonder they’re shredded!” the article screamed, alongside close-up photos of the shoes’ supposed faults. “Chelsea Clinton sticks with her favourite pair of frayed nude heels AGAIN as she steps out solo in New York for awards dinner.”
It failed to mention that Clinton (daughter of Hillary and Bill) was attending a fundraiser for the foundation for Gordon Parks, an African-American photographer whose pioneering photojournalism played a vital role in the civil rights movement from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Instead, the article focused on Clinton’s footwear, throwing in a whole load of disparaging adjectives along the way. The 37-year-old’s shoes weren’t just slightly worn, you see: they were “destroyed”, “busted” and “damaged”.
Clinton was on The Tonight Show to discuss her new children’s book She Persisted, which encourages young girls to carry on in the face of sexist setbacks and prejudice. She told host Jimmy Fallon that the Daily Mail article was a perfect example of the ridiculous scrutiny faced by women in the public eye.
“There was an article that came out today about the fact that I wear the same shoes a lot, which I’m actually wearing again this evening,” said Clinton.
“How dare I wear scuffed shoes? They’re really comfortable.”
She continued: “I think this is probably something working women – particularly working women New Yorkers – can empathize with. When you find a good pair of shoes, you just stay with them.”
To which we can only say: well, yeah. One day, we might reach a point where the tabloid press stops shaming famous women for having perfectly normal bodies and wardrobes. In the meantime, however, we can only hope that they all take a leaf out of Clinton’s book – and refuse to give a damn.
Images: Rex Features