Hilary Clinton


Sometimes you just have to let go (not just in Marina’s manner of saying ‘Note to self: I’m going to have to let you go.’)

India Knight describes this let up in her piece “When the going gets tough, the tough let themselves go a little” (paywalled). She makes a distinction between ‘letting go’ and ‘letting oneself go’. She notes with approval “that there’s some overlap between vanity and manners (this overlap can be symbolised by deodorant).” As her illustration of this embrace of cosmetic failure she points to one of the most successful women in the world, Hilary Clinton…

  • “It’s amazing how much consternation a bare face can create, especially if the face in question belongs to a high- profile woman over 50. Recently Hillary Clinton popped up in Bangladesh wearing no make-up save for a half-hearted smear of lipstick, looking slightly tired, as well she might given that she was charging around India and China as part of the same trip. Her lack of make-up was considered subversive enough for the subject to come up during a CNN interview last week. The US secretary of state, 64, confessed: ‘You know, at some point, it’s just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention.’ She added: ‘I feel so relieved to be at the stage I’m at in my life right now . . . and if others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change…Do you ramp up the Botox and embrace the fact that you will spend the next couple of decades looking increasingly like a smooth, startled fish, or do you stick to the notion that ‘wrinkles are beautiful’ — conveniently ignoring the fact that people who say wrinkles are beautiful usually don’t have any yet?…Plastic, or a variant on plastic, is now the norm for middle-aged women. I don’t necessarily mean literal plastic, though there’s that too, but a buying into the plastic aesthetic — tanned skin, good teeth and hair and make-up, exercise and so on. Not doing at least some of these things equals, rightly or wrongly, “letting yourself go”…What this is all about is confidence. Clinton hit her sartorial stride relatively recently. After years of looking matronly, uncomfortably trussed up in various jewel-coloured suits and sporting helmet-like lacquered hair, she grew her hair, smiled more, changed her make-up and started wearing dramatically better clothes. She looked — and continues to look — fantastic, almost like a new person. And it is only when you start to look fantastic that you relax and stop minding about not looking fantastic every now and then. What this basically means is that not caring is in itself a form of vanity, because that point can only be reached when you have acquired an enviably high level of confidence.…But the thing to admire here is not her stance in occasionally forgoing cosmetics. It is her confidence, which comes in part from knowing how great she can look with the full face of slap.”