Karla Welch on How to Wear Your Politics on Your Sleeve



Intent on making 2017 your Best Year Ever? We can help with that, thanks to our 2017 Coach of the Month series. For November, join stylist-to-the-stars Karla Welch in her personal-style bootcamp. This week, in light of recent comments about whether women are “asking for it” with their outfit choices, Welch explains true political dressing.

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Wear whatever the fuck you want. I don’t think a pantsuit nation is the only way to go—I love a great pantsuit and I like masculine dressing, but I’ll never begrudge anybody who wants to show up in a Dolce & Gabbana dress and feel powerful in it.

I’m all about movements. I’m always going to wear a pink beanie now; I think wearing a political tee shirt is awesome if you want to put that out in the world. I love the symbolism in dressing, like when Hillary wore white in a nod to the suffragette movement. When I was twenty—this is like twenty-three years ago—I had a Nike tee shirt and the front of it said: “A woman belongs in the house.” And the back said: “The White House.” It provoked a lot of conversation.


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So I think it’s awesome to wear your beliefs, but saying you have to dress to your politics is crazy. I want to wear red all day long. Republicans think they own red. They don’t own anything as far as I’m concerned. Wear whatever makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel like you have your armor on because right now we’re very much in a battle for women’s rights.

An amazing way to wear your politics is to know that your dollar is your vote. When you support a company like mine, you know you’re supporting a company that has a political point of view and that we stand up for what we believe in. When you buy a Toms shoe you’re contributing to a one-for-one model. Or there are websites like Olivela, where every time you buy something there’s a contribution. There’s a giveback. It’s philanthropic consumerism, conscious commerce. Brands are slowly but surely getting on board with that, and making sure they practice what they preach. That, to me, is one of the strongest things about politics, about knowing where your dollar goes, and knowing who you’re supporting.


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