Why defend Mrs Rudd’s poor dress sense?

Lately I’ve been reminded of that famous saying “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But plagiarism goes too far. I say that because I’ve noticed that too frequently when I make an observation and use particular analogies they turn up in a newspaper article a day or two day later.

Whilst these incidents may be due to pure coincidence, I was plagiarised several years ago when I worked as a TV critic. I wrote mainly about BBC television productions because that’s where my interests lay. So I was on very friendly terms with the BBC representative who was based in Sydney.

There was a documentary about Princess Margaret which I previewed for the newspaper. A day after its publication the BBC rep phoned me and told me that she had recorded a celebrity talk back radio host previewing the doco and he was using my work word for word. I was shocked to hear that since there was no attribution to my article. Now this man is very famous and I was small fry so I let it go, but it did make me rather suspicious since then. At the time the BBC was in a bind because this man had a large radio following and quite frankly, the BBC appreciated the extra publicity, but it is wrong to plagiarise.

When I last wrote about the Prime Minister’s wife’s lack of fashion sense I referred to Trinny and Susannah coming downunder. Well, lo and behold, if there wasn’t a reference made to the same thing regarding Therese Rein (Mrs Rudd uses her maiden name) and Trinny and Co in today’s Courier- Mail. Three days after my modest effort here! Coincidence? Perhaps. But it’s happening to me more and more often.

As for the continuing discussion of Therese Rein’s choice of wardrobe as she struts the world stage with her husband, I am stunned by the number of people defending her dress sense. Not because she dresses well. They all agree that she doesn’t. But she ought to be left alone, they say, because she is rich, professional and successful.

Yep, she is all those things, but she still dresses inappropriately. When did being rich and successful become an excuse for poor taste?

I would have thought that a person who had been out in the world, amassing a fortune, would have had more opportunities to learn how to dress. Did she ignore advice? Did she walk around in blinkers? Did she look at herself properly in a mirror? Back and front? Is she still dressing the way she did when she was twenty perhaps without realising that time takes its toll on appearance?

What really astounds me is that when someone defends her the argument is that Therese Rein is a successful career woman, so that makes her immune to criticism. Does that mean that had she stayed home and looked after her children and not amassed her millions she would be a more suitable target for criticism? Surely the opposite is true. Had Mrs Rudd been “a stay at home mum” then naturally she would have had fewer opportunities to develop a fashion sense. But Mrs Rudd’s been out there for decades and should have learned something about presentation.

I have never criticised the first lady’s shape but only how she covers it.

Quite frankly, if she is so rich and a woman of the world, blah blah, then she ought to do better. After all, she is representing our nation even though we only elected her husband.


4 thoughts on “Why defend Mrs Rudd’s poor dress sense?

  1. I think you might be getting one aspect of the argument wrong. I’m not sure anyone is saying that success gives a woman immunity from criticism for poor taste in clothes. It’s that, success for a woman in business is a triumph of substance, ability, smarts, and hard work. Her choice in clothes is simply incidental, superficial even. Picking on her clothes is schoolyard level comment, don’t you think? A win for style over substance, you might say.


  2. Nobody is disputing that Therese Rein is a successful business woman. In fact my argument is that she has been excused because she is so successful. But does that make her sacrosanct? I wish that the world would be different and that appearances didn’t count, but sadly they do. I don’t agree that it has to be a choice of style over substance. Why can’t she have style and substance? This is the real world we are living in and she is travelling with the Prime Minister who has also had his fair share of criticism for ill-fitting suits. When John Howard became leader of the Libs he looked like a real dag, but since then his suits have improved, his hair has been styled and his glasses changed. These are minor alterations but they create a classier impression. When Therese is at home she should be free to wear whatever she likes but when she accompanies her husband in her capacity as First Lady she ought to make an effort to look like a world leader’s First Lady. By the way, when she went to see the Queen, her outfit was so awful that no photo of her appeared in our newspapers. I happened to see it on BBC news and I cringed. You only have to see early photos of Julia Gillard prior to the election and compare them with the improvements during the last few months to realise that somebody told her some changes should be made. Julia is also a successful woman but she was willing to accept help. JJ, I do understand what you are getting at and perhaps the world is too superficial, but politics is learning to play the game. Australians already have the reputation of being yobbos and poor Therese, uber business woman that she is, is letting us down. We can all do with some help and Maggie Tabberer gave some sympathetic advice the other day about Therese’s clothes. She said that her hems are too short, her waist (which should not be emphasised) is too cinched in those frilly jackets and that perhaps she should not be wearing so many bright colours. I actually think that the colours would be fine if the jackets lost their huge cowl collars and were a bit more streamlined.In the end, though, Mrs Rudd will dress the way she wants to dress. I suspect that this advice has been offered to her in the past and that she has decided that she wants to dress the way she did 20 years ago. This is not a schoolyard comment, actually. It’s simply common sense. I am saddened by the fact that you think a woman who has become successful should not be judged for her appearance when she represents us overseas. What has one thing got to do with the other? By the way, success for a man is also a triumph of substance, ability, smarts and hard work. And when that man attends an important meeting he puts on his suit and tie and even combs his hair. And that’s only in business. In the diplomatic world dressing appropriately is even more crucial. “All the world’s a stage” as Shakespeare said.


  3. She looks terrible. She is the wife of the Prime Minister whether she likes it or not and as such she is expected to represent us as his partner on the world stage.

    For goodness sake look at the wives of other World Leaders…they look pretty stylish to me…espcially the French Prime Minister’s wife.

    Therese looks frumpy!!…for goodness sake there are stylists aplenty to help her if she does not know what to wear. Surely when she put on that ridiculous outfit with the huge flying sleeves she did not think she looked good. If she did she needs to see an optometrist as well.


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