Love her or hate her, few can deny that Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has style. From her peep-toe pumps to her un-frumpy updo, she has a look that defines her as intelligent, businesslike, powerful…and undeniably sexy. The optical fashion world has not seen this level of excitement since Jackie Kennedy donned her famous oversized rims to launch a new fad that swept the world.
Eyeglasses make an indelible statement. People change clothes, hair, makeup, and accessories, but most wear the same glasses every day. In a February 2008 interview with Vogue magazine, Governor Palin voiced her need to be taken seriously and downplay her beauty queen looks by trying to be "as frumpy as I could by wearing my hair on top of my head and these schoolmarm glasses." Instead, she managed to bring eyeglasses to the epicenter of what defines sexy for the modern businesswoman.
So what makes Governor Palin’s look so appealing? There is something irresistibly intriguing about the dichotomy of a beautiful woman wearing glasses, a librarian with the soul of a sex kitten. In both appearance and lifestyle, Governor Palin is a study in contrast. Her hair is at once bouffant and just messy enough to be down to earth. It appears to be one bobby pin away from wanton tumbling, and yet properly—and politically—restrained. Her shoes are a sensible, businesslike pump in shiny red patent leather with peep toes. She presents herself as a high-powered politician with the savvy to step into the presidency should the need arise, and at the same time, a fully-involved, cookie baking, soccer mom.
Her glasses, too, are a dichotomous look. Those oh-so-fashionable specs pull it all together. Rather than hiding her face, the large, clear lenses magnify and reveal expressive bedroom eyes. The frameless construction is unfettered, giving her face an open, honest look. The shape flatters the shape of her face, accentuating high cheekbones and a strong jaw line. The finish was carefully selected to be non-reflective in the harsh glare of television lights. The overall impression is one of serious intelligence, but certainly not boring bookishness. Perfectly appropriate for a boardroom, a PTA meeting or the Oval Office, without dominating or detracting from Governor Palin’s former beauty queen looks.
Governor Palin’s rimless titanium specs were made to order by Japanese designer Kazuo Kawasaki, based on the Kawasaki 704 Duo frame in #34 gray, retailing at roughly $375 without lenses. Italee Optics, Inc., the Los Angeles based company that manufactures the rims, is working round the clock to keep up with demand. The Kawasaki 704 frame comes in 20 assorted colors and features screwless, tension-mounted construction made of lightweight but durable beta titanium. Sarah Palin’s lenses are custom made to fit and flatter her face, and the square shaped “SP” shape has since been added to the commercially manufactured Kawasaki line, but many other shapes are available.
The elections may be over, but Sarah Palin’s stylish impact is here to stay. She paved the way for businesswomen to throw out the mannish suits and rev up the naughty librarian look for a new, more feminine feminism.