Culture

Business Casual Superstar: Inspired by Huma Abedin

Even though I normally do fictional characters for my weekly posts here, I’ve recently branched out into celebrities, as you’ve noticed, featuring such personalities as Taylor Swift. This week, based on current events and my own personal admiration for her, I decided to do an outfit inspired by Huma Abedin, the wife of embattled New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.

I have loved Anthony Weiner since he won his seat in the House and started kicking ass and taking names. The man is a dynamo – just head over to YouTube and you’ll find plenty of clips of him ripping his GOP House-mates a new one over their latest attempts to whittle away at women’s reproductive rights, or give businesses huge tax cuts on the back of the working and middle class.

He’s one of our absolute best congressmen – my personal favorite is Senator Dick Durbin, the gentleman from IL, what, what, home state pride – and despite this unfortunate and totally cringe-inducing incident, I still support him. I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that Speaker Pelosi had the gall to call on him to resign. I’m sorry, what about Vitter? What about Ensign? What about their sex scandals? How come they aren’t being told to resign?

And for that matter, what of Billy Jefferson, the Democrat from Louisiana, whose home was raided by the FBI, where agents found $90,000 dollars in his freezer. I’m sorry, WHAT is going on there?! And we’re mad at Weiner for sending dick-pics to women on Twitter?!

I should clarify: I find his conduct wildly inappropriate and personally disappointing. I hate thinking of what his wife, Huma, who I’ve admired since I found out she existed, and about whom I’ve read everything there is out there to read because she is FREAKING AWESOME, must be going through, especially being pregnant with their first child. (Aaaaand that’s the extent to which I’ll comment on their personal lives.)

But here’s the thing: Anthony Weiner never once lied under oath. He never sent pictures that were actually obscene, as defined by various court rulings and ethics advisory opinions and rules on the matter. He didn’t wage a veritable crusade against cybersex(t)ing while engaging in it himself. And he never called anyone’s lifestyle or orientation an abomination.

This is a manufactured scandal, and it’s been whipped up to gross proportions because we Americans, as a culture, are terribly obsessed with the sex lives of our celebrities and public figures, while at the same time adhering to ludicrous ideals of Puritanism, in a double standard that is at the same time laughable and wholly depressing.

Yes, Anthony Weiner did come off as extremely arrogant when he held his pressers claiming this was a smear campaign, and he absolutely did lie to the voters. And it’s up to those voters to vote him out of office if they see fit. (In recent polls, it looks like his constituents are sticking with him. Good for them! Common sense prevails despite this media frenzy!)

I absolutely support Anthony Weiner. I’ve supported and admired him for years, and though I am very disappointed in him personally, …who cares? What does that even matter? This is purely a family matter: it really only matters what his family thinks of him personally. My feelings about him as a politician haven’t changed in the slightest. He’s a good congressman and we need him in the fight against big business and those who would build profits at the expense of the rest of the country, at the expense of the taxpayers, at the expense of the working poor, at the expense of our education system, our infrastructure, our (negligible) medical care/system, and at the expense of our natural resources.

Phew.

Climbing off my soap box, let’s get back to the silly stuff I talk about every week: fashion. Like I’ve said, I’ve loved and admired Huma Abedin since I came to know of her existence. Plus, girlfriend’s got an awesome name. Let’s just get real about that right from the start: her name cannot be beat.

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I will fight any of you that disagree.

Since I am 5’1″ on my super tall days, and weigh 100lbs., the fight would be pretty comical. But I would STILL fight you.

Anyway, she had a gorgeous pictorial for Vogue back in 2007. Here are two of my favorite shots from it.

She is notoriously private but opened up a bit for that interview, and took some gorgeous photos. Rumor has it that the main reason she was picked for the profile was because many people at the time believed she and (then-senator-cum-presidential-candidate) Hillary Clinton were lovers, which is ridiculous.

Huma Abedin has been an aide in the Clinton administration for years, where she rose in rank to become Hilary’s body-woman, basically her traveling chief of staff. She’s not just a trusted aide: she’s basically another daughter to Bill and Hillary. As a source close to the couple remarked after leaving Huma and Anthony’s wedding, “Holy shit, Weiner just married a Clinton.”

…God, I sound stalkery, don’t I?

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That is unfortunate, because I’m absolutely not stalkery. I just read that Vogue profile of hers all the way through at least once, admired her dressesย  in the photos, poked around for other meager news scraps about her as the trusted aide, and then when the scandal arose, read the one or two articles I could stomach. I never pore over articles about any public figure’s marital problems, whether I like that person or not. It just seems violative of his/her privacy, and makes me feel skeavy.

So yes, I swear I’m not stalkery. I’ve just read a couple articles here and there about her, or at least referencing her, and have an uncanny memory. I really do. I still remember just about every conversation I’ve ever had. TELL ME that’s not totally weird.

Back to the frivolity, like I said, there’s really not all that much out there about Huma. She is a very private person. Even back during the 2008 campaign, you had to actually look for her if you wanted to see her whenever Clinton was at a rally or convention. So while I couldn’t study her style like I occasionally do when it comes to other celebrities I often profile in these silly fashion posts, I did manage to get enough of a sense of her style to feel I could do her justice.

Huma isn’t the type to step into the limelight. She stays on the sidelines and does her work, and doesn’t dress in a manner that immediately draws attention. That’s not to say she doesn’t wear bright colors – she often does. But what I noticed was when she was hard at work, like during an actual rally, or shortly before one, she wore darker colors, or neutral ones, and just kind of hung back and blended in as best she could. But when she was traveling with Senator Clinton, she would occasionally wear brighter colors, like a lovely and feminine (slightly) ruffled cobalt blue jacket.

Also keep in mind that Huma is a Muslim. We Muslim women generally tend to dress in a slightly more conservative fashion. Huma does wear dresses, occasionally, but the ones she wears are pretty much always knee-length, and often hit a little lower.

Usually, though, she wears pant suits, just like I do. And, of course, the big thing with pantsuits for women is that we have to take care to make the outfit look feminine enough without taking away from the power of it. You don’t really have that problem to the same extent with a skirt suit. I’ve seen Huma neatly sidestep that issue by putting her hair up in a sleek ponytail and wearing earrings. Done.

So, to that end, here’s an outfit that is inspired by Huma Abedin, minus the accessories because I couldn’t fit those within the $100 budget I always limit myself to for these business casual outfits. I think it’s something she would absolutely wear, if she hasn’t already.

Elite Stretch Ruffle Front Shirt ………. $29.99
Black Trousers ………. $15
Beaded Grandfather Cardigan in Acapulco Sand ………. $34.99
Short Patent Pumps in Black (3″) ………. $11.99
Leather Belt in Black ……… $6.80

Phew! It was near impossible to get all that for under $100, but I managed to squeak in right under the wire. Thank goodness for the $15 Store. Of course, you guys know by now that I’m not telling you to go buy $15 black pants. I use the $15 store for things that almost all of us already have: things like bootcut jeans in a dark wash, or black trousers. I use the $15 Store mostly to illustrate what you need for the outfit, since they’re things we almost always have in our wardrobes anyway, and I can count on the low price of $15 being a constant, so that I have a little bit more flexibility when putting an outfit together for under $100.

But yes, black pants, standard campaign-wear. Standard office-wear, really. Black pants will never not be appropriate for work.

I paired them with a white ruffly shirt. When picking the top, I looked for shirts with a more modest neckline. Huma is Muslim, after all, and most of her tops are quite modest. We’ll never see plunging necklines from that one. At least, not in a public/widely-photographed event. After all, Muslim women can dress as skimpily as the next gal – we just don’t do so in public, where it’s a mixed gathering. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I threw in a beaded cardigan in a beige/tan color. That color always looks so crisp with white. Plus, white shirt – again, you can’t go wrong with that at the office. It’s got sleeves so it’s still appropriate even if you want to take the sweater off. I belted the sweater because that seems to be Huma’s thing, and threw in the cheapest pair of black pumps I could find that would keep me under $100. Hooray for sales!

And there we have a lovely, business casual, office-appropriate outfit inspired by the amazing Huma Abedin, all for under $100.

  • Lara

    Great commentary!ย  I love that you’ve branched out to public figures, especially such intelligent ones as Huma Abedin.ย  You’re right to focus on her style and her work, not whatever miseries the press likes to imagine are ongoing in her private life.

  • I love the white dress she’s wearing! Did the magazine say the brand? Lol. Not that I could afford it, but still. She seems like she has such a classic style.

    Great Humas think alike. ๐Ÿ˜‰