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New book

Politicians and their style tactics

Published tisdag 14 augusti 2012 kl 15.05
"We look more than listen"
(5:01 min)
Author Barbro Hedvall's new book takes a look at the style tactics of politicians. Photo: Sophie Vukovic/ Radio Sweden

Coinciding with the Stockholm Fashion Week, a new book by former journalist Barbro Hedvall looks at how the public opinion of different politicians is affected by the clothes they wear and the image they project.

When Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin was publicly criticised for owning a designer handbag back in 2010, it became clear that the way politicians dress is not just a superficial matter.

The incident reflects how the clothes, hairstyles and appearance of politicians act as powerful symbols in the eyes of the public. This is the subject matter of the latest book by Barbro Hedvall, who is a retired journalist and political commentator, is called "Maktens Symboler", or the "symbols of power- from the plume to the bare head".

Hedvall takes a look at how power has been embodied in politicians' image in recent history. The book analyzes how symbols such as the tie, the bare neck and the string of pearls have come to affect the public's opinion of their elected leaders.

In her many years as a political commentator, the way in which politicians' image - from clothes, to hairstyles, to their lifestyle - is received by the public is something that always fascinated Hedvall.

"We don't listen as much as we look at our politicians these days. I think it makes us more personal with our parliamentarians."

"As a woman, you have a lot more to prove. I look at the Centre Party's leader Annie Lööf - she is young, she is insecure. She tries to be trendy, but she has a long way to go", Hedvall told Radio Sweden.

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