Nancy Pelosi is taking the global pandemic very seriously. As the Speaker of the House of Representatives and a congresswoman from San Francisco, Americans, by and large, look to her for guidance, especially in these trying times. For the past few months, she has been encouraging citizens to practice social distancing and wear masks so as to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak. And she is using her wardrobe to get the point across.
At press conferences and events, Pelosi has worn a number of face coverings—from masks to silk scarves—that perfectly complement her selection of brightly colored dress and suit ensembles. She donned a white suit, brown top, and scarf with a graphic sandy print at the signing ceremony for the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act; a cerulean dress with a blue silk scarf at a weekly press conference; a pink pantsuit with a matching face mask at the swearing in of Representative-elect Kweisi Mfume; a white blazer and navy top with a blue patterned mask while making remarks on Capitol Hill; and a salmon-hued scarf with an orange suit at the Capitol Visitor Center.
Unlike many federal authorities in positions of immense power, the congresswoman is following mandates made by the government and health officials to cover one’s respiratory center. Some have worn standard hospital masks and the highly covetable N95 masks, but seeing how personal protective equipment (PPE) is lacking at health facilities across the nation, it can appear out of touch to wear them in front of the cameras when doctors and nurses are making due with scraps.
Indeed, optics in the political arena are important, and Pelosi, perhaps more than most, understands that. Her selection of colorful scarves and masks, though less shielding, does the job just fine. Per a report by The New York Times, using “a fabric with decent filtration potential—like two layers of heavy cotton or flannel—and you wear the mask properly, you increase your chances of avoiding the virus.”
Moreover, the fact that her face coverings match her attire shows that she has not eschewed her personal style. If anything, it conveys that wearing scarves or masks, for the time being, is the new normal, and that citizens should try their best to adapt to the circumstances by using what is available to them. And there are many—including Hillary Clinton, a fellow pantsuit devotee—who are taking notice of Pelosi’s sartorial efforts.
“Leader of the House majority, and of mask-to-pantsuit color coordination,” the former Secretary of State captioned a picture on Instagram of Pelosi wearing her pink pantsuit and mask.
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