One McCain Campaign Disaster That Wasn't Sarah Palin's Fault

Illustration for article titled One McCain Campaign Disaster That Wasn't Sarah Palin's Fault

That would be the so-called "$150,000 shopping spree" for Sarah Palin's convention rollout that spawned a thousand charges of hypocrisy. The stylist who dressed Palin and her family has broken her silence to defend both herself and the candidate.


When news broke a year ago that Palin and her family's wardrobe cost $150,000, they were portrayed as white trash overreaching on the Republican National Committee's dime, touting their folksy values while spending an amount that even the fashion folk found excessive. After the McCain-Palin ticket lost, an anonymous McCain aide told Newsweek that the Palins were ""Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast."

Palin writes in her book, Going Rogue, that she "never asked the New York stylists to purchase clothes, many of the items were never worn, many others were intended for the use of other people, and in the end the wardrobe items were all returned. It certainly wasn't true that I or my family had been on any kind of ‘big-time shopping trips.'"

Now, speaking to the New York Times and in a new book, New York-based stylist Lisa A. Kline backs the former Alaska governor up, saying Palin wasn't involved in any of the shopping, and a still-foggy "breakdown in communications" between Kline and the campaign staff led to the charges being racked up.

Those include Klein's purchases for Palin at Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York (at retail, since it was so last-minute), a frenzied run at Neiman Marcus to the tune of $75,062 once Kline realized she needed to dress the whole family, plus her own fee of $54,900, which included an assistant, a seamstress, and round-the-clock labor on a holiday weekend.

Kline says she's still proud of her work, which also included removing gold buttons and "a big swoop of fabric" from the front of a $2,500 Valentino jacket, worn by Palin with a pencil skirt for her convention speech. And even if it wasn't at all worth the headache to the Republicans, you can't deny that Palin and her family looked great that night — the night that was probably the peak of her glory.

Illustration for article titled One McCain Campaign Disaster That Wasn't Sarah Palin's Fault

Stylist in Palin's Fashion Makeover Steps Into View [New York Times]

Earlier: Sarah Palin and the (Continued) Case of the $150,000 Wardrobe


Susan B.

My mom said at the time that she thought the critique of the wardrobe was sexist—that it costs women in the upper echelons of politics and business a lot just to look professional. Michelle Obama was known for her sensible purchases, but she had to look like a wife, not a candidate. HRC had millions and could clothe herself—plus, she had way more time to do so.

I'm not sure how I feel about it myself but I wondered what you guys thought.