Monday, July 30, 2007

Apple #258: Hillary's Hair

Hillary Clinton, hoping to secure her party's nomination for the Presidential race in 2008, has been in the news especially this past week. She and Barack Obama have gotten into quite a dust-up over who knows more about foreign policy protocol, and who would play with what unsavory leader, and would they play nice together, or would they really say, "My mommy says I can't play with you," and go home with all the toys.

Putting politics aside, I've been thinking lately about Hillary's hairstyles. I thought I remembered that she's changed her hair style several times since she's been in the national public eye. And I thought I'd document those changes here on your Daily Apple.

But what I discovered when I looked into it is that she's gone back and forth between two basic styles and then, bing! she became Senator and introduced an entirely new, third style.

Her yearbook photo marks the first known appearance of her school-girl look.
Nape-length, curled at the ends.

(Photo from the Hillary Clinton Quarterly)

Here's the serious politician look.
Straighter, pushed back away from her face.
Also note, her hair's not blond.

(Photo from Pop and Politics)

In 1983, standing up and speaking at an Arkansas Educational Standards Committee meeting (of which then-Governor husband Bill made her chair), she's back to the school-girl look again.

(Photo from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture)

In this still from a video recording of a speech before the same committee, her hair is going towards that serious political look again. Layered along her face, a little bangs, but swept back.
Still not blond, though.

(Photo from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture)

In this, her official First Lady of the United States photo from 1992, she's sporting more of the school-girl look again. Straight on the sides, curled under, definite bangs. Now she's got undeniable blond highlights. She's no threat, she's everybody's favorite wife!

(Photo from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture)

In this 1994 photo for the Smithsonian, she's totally got the serious politician look going on. Swept back from her face all over the place and lo and behold, it's short!

(Photo from the Smithsonian Institution)

This rogue hair-do is from 1995, when Hillary participated in a leadership conference at the National Institute of Health. This style is a bit schizophrenic, combining the length and curl-at-ends factor of the school-girl do with the swept-back-itude of the serious politician do. (As I'm sure you've guessed by my technical lingo, I know all about hairstyles)

(Photo from the Children's Circle of Care)

But soon after this, she stepped it down to school-girl again. Here, with Minerva Bernardino, a Dominican politician, she even looks kind of cute. Perky.

(Photo from the Minerva Bernardino Foundation)

At the National Library of Estonia in 1996, she's doing the school-girl thing, complete with under-curl, with the optional headband. She's even posing in a non-threatening manner.

(Photo from the Embassy of the United States to Estonia)

At her husband's second inauguration in 1997. This do is sort of a compromise between the school-girl and the serious politician. A little longer but not curled much; lighter-colored, but with some hard-shell pouf going on.

(AP Photo, sourced from CBC News)

Here she is in 1999, visiting a refugee camp in Macedonia. The transition is becoming more apparent. There's some curl happening here, reminiscent of the school-girl days, but it is swept back from her face. Approachable yet serious, both.

(Photo from the Washington Post's Fact-Checker)

Also in 1999, speaking about the Viking heritage in the US, she's got the serious politician look again: swept back from her face, little shelf of bangs, but with more blond highlights. I'm serious, she's trying to say, but a little bit blond. Except my theory is, the blond is actually a sign of when she's turning on the extra-serious. Because look what happens next.

(Photo from the National Museum of National History)

In 2001, her First Lady-ship over and her term as New York State Senator begun, she's gone all the way to the serious politician look. Swept back off her face, little shelf of bangs, plus those extra blond highlights. But now, it's shorter. All the way around. And this begins her short-hair revolution.

(Photo from the Cornell Chronicle)

On the cover of her 2004 biography, she's going way serious politician-short, but with some of that Florence Henderson thing going on in the back.

(Photo from

During the Kerry / Edwards campaign in 2004, she's got no more Florence Henderson hanging out back there. It's mostly brown again, though she does have those streaks of highlights. Yet there's also some pouf injected into the style. I read this one as: it's not my campaign so I can relax a little bit, but it still is a campaign and I'm working it nonetheless.

(AP Photo by Richard Drew, posted by Newsweek)

Now here she is in 2007, as we've gotten used to seeing her hair lately: short all the way around, completely off her face (except sometimes her little shelf of bangs drops down toward her eyebrow), going for mainly blond, and really all business. (Plus, in this photo, she's wearing that classic Martha Washington blue. Get the hint?) No school-girl here anymore.

(AP Photo reprinted at

All right, so that's my completely un-sophisticated, off-the-cuff analysis of the hairstyles of Hillary Clinton -- or is it Hillary Rodham Clinton? -- through the years. You never knew political statements could involve so much hair spray, did you?

If you're interested, I have another entry on a related topic: Women who have run for President.

1 comment:

  1. You know, it really could be a matter of how much time she decides to spend fixing her hair. The school girl look is simple and doesn't require a lot of care. Perhaps she's not really that good at styling hair herself, and doesn't care about it that much. When her hair looks professional, no doubt it's been done by a professional.


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