When women decide to run for office, they’re left with countless factors to consider: How will they fundraise, who will join their team, do they need to set up childcare, and what will they wear to feel comfortable while also combating the persistent sexism that still permeates our current political system?
Thankfully, workwear clothing company M.M.LaFleur recently announced it wants to make that last decision a little simpler.
In an Instagram post, as well as in an email, the company informed shoppers that this year, it will be lending clothes to any woman running for public office. “Though we don’t purport that clothes are really what make the difference here, we know that it’s one small way that we can help a lot of women who potentially don’t have access to these kinds of clothes, or the kind of money that is required to buy new clothes,” Sarah LaFleur, the founder and CEO of M.M.LaFleur, told ELLE.com. “We’re hoping that by providing this service, the question about what to wear is actually one thing they don’t have to worry about when they’re on the trail.”
The company, with its mission “to take the work out of dressing for work,” explained that after the 2016 presidential election, it sent an email to the M.M. community asking for input about how the company could best offer support. Many responded about the need to assist women running for office. (As M.M.LaFleur notes, only about 27 percent of all elected offices in the U.S. are held by women.)
Women who are interested in participating in the new program can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, location, and description of the office they’re running for. However, as some have pointed out on Twitter, any woman considering applying should check with their local campaign rules about accepting this type of offer.
M.M.LaFleur also announced a future partnership with She Should Run, a non-partisan organization that works to educate women who are considering running for office. Appropriately, the company’s spring collection is called “Ready to Run,” and includes suit separates, swingy dresses, and everyday work tops.
After the announcement, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez commended the efforts on her Instagram Story, writing, “As a candidate, a large part of asking people to vote for you is helping them visualize you on the job. As a member, that professionalism helps you challenge subconscious bias. When I first elected [sic], I needed an entirely new wardrobe for my new job. I had NO clothes to prepare me for Congress, and if it wasn’t for some hand me downs from friends before being sworn in I don’t even know what I would have done.”
Of course, as M.M.LaFleur points out, clothing alone cannot tip the scales when it comes to representation across the country. But still, it is called a power suit for a reason.