Kirstie Clements: Scott Morrison, let me introduce you to fashion


“I’m still wearing the same sunglasses. Sadly, the same suits. I weigh about the same size and I don’t mind a bit of Italian cuisine … I’m not pretending to be anyone else,” commented Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the recently trimmed down Anthony Albanese.

Me, and most of the women of the world, are still laughing.

Mr Morrison, let me introduce you to FASHION.

Today I am Maria Callas in a hot pink linen pantsuit and jewelled sandals. Last Tuesday night I was channelling a flamenco dancer and next weekend I’m going to look like a Country Road catalogue.

The same sunglasses?

If I do the age-to-trend ratio and add the lost/broken/stolen algorithm, I’m probably up to my 167th pair.

Losing weight means you’re pretending to be someone else? Huh?

It’s not the sledge you thought it was. It means you want to be the best version of yourself, possibly for health reasons. As The Betoota Advocate headline so brilliantly put it: “PM ridicules Albo Health Kick As If Every Aussie Bloke Isn’t Currently Worried About Their Heart”.

When I see someone who has done the hard yards, lost weight, updated their glasses and tried a new haircut, I see a champion.

Small updates to your appearance and style, even something as basic as investing in a new, well-cut suit, or new readers, does boost your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Makeovers, at least in my world, can be a game-changer. I recall doing some in-store styling for Sportscraft customers several years ago and was somewhat taken aback by how unsure so many women were, and how hyper-critical they were of themselves.

Many thought they were two sizes bigger than they were, wearing lumpy suits that engulfed them, too nervous or intimidated to try new colours or prints.

I spent hours with one lovely woman, a very capable corporate CFO, who, when we finally put her in a pantsuit that fit beautifully with a pretty silk shirt, actually cried with happiness (and maybe relief).

She felt so much better about herself, just through a wardrobe update. It wasn’t pretension, it wasn’t inauthentic. It was self-care.

It’s perplexing that Scott Morrison thinks that a tired suit makes him relatable and somehow more trustworthy. Are we back to that archaic time, when Paul Keating wearing an Ermenegildo Zegna suit was considered a bit flash?

It smacks of desperation to be calling your opponent fraudulent just because he simply shed some kilos and put on a nice white shirt.

Female politicians have always found it exasperating to be unnecessarily scrutinised, and then criticised, for their clothing choices, – judged as too revealing, too masculine, too unflattering etc. A barb about something as innocuous as men’s spectacles is very odd coming from a PM.

What an image update does indicate is that you are aware of the times  you are in and that you are moving with them. Fashion trends are the very pointy end of the scale, and following those can be exhausting, expensive and pointless, as any woman can tell you.

But Albanese made a subtle adjustment to his image and his health, not a giant fashion statement, and it’s frankly great to see.

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