Most Pakistani politicians are known to make headlines and become the topic of online discourse for giving explosive or controversial statements. However, there are some prominent leaders that captivate with their fashion choices almost as often as they make it into the 9 o’clock news.
Years of being in the public eye have taught these politicians how important their external appearance, particularly their choice of clothing, is in determining their personas. Here is a list of five politicians who have successfully employed fashion as a tool to set themselves apart from their colleagues.
The Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader, in the last year or so, has mostly been seen in elegant power suits. This is due to his prestigious status as Premier. However, prior to this, Sharif was often seen sporting a more laid-back look.
His signature khaki utilitarian uniform, comprising loose-fit trousers and a collared button-down shirt with four adjacent pockets, is known to everyone who has ever watched the news or skimmed through a newspaper. The extremely practical-looking outfit—which he seemingly possesses in a few different colors—denotes convenience and comfort and speaks to the notion of a “man on a mission.” He comes across as someone with many pressing duties, who does not have the luxury of time to be bothered with diverse clothing options and the hassle of choice.
Hina Rabbani Khar
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and well-respected Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) representative, Khar has always been the picture of grace in both her political dealings and public appearances. A monochrome shalwar kameez with a matching sheer chiffon dupatta covering her head, Khar has found her signature style in minimalism.
The muted colour palette of her solid three-piece suits serves as the perfect canvas for her sophisticated pearl studs and pearl strings to shine and elevate her otherwise simple attire. Just as she is seldom seen without her pearl necklaces—which we suspect she has a wide-ranging collection of—we rarely catch her in flat-heeled shoes. Her designer stilettos and classic Chanel flap-bags and infamous Hermes Birkin bag are also a part of her signature look.
For a politician whose entire brand and campaigning strategy is built upon a reclamation of tradition and religion at the governmental and institutional level, Imran Khan’s choice of clothing has played a significant role in how the public continues to perceive him. The dichromatic white shalwar kameez and black waistcoat combination, with the matching Peshawari sandals that he never seems to part with, have helped him cement his image as a leader who dons the national dress with pride. His go-to look for all public appearances, formal or informal, has also established him in the eyes of the general public as a leader of the people who is not ashamed of wearing the same clothes that any average Pakistani man would wear.
Senior Vice President of PML-N, Nawaz is perhaps one of the most talked-about politicians of her generation. Details of her everyday outfits are documented across social media platforms just as frequently as her press conferences and rally speeches are dissected on television. There are special fan and fashion accounts on Instagram that are committed to posting outfit breakdowns—consisting of information related to price tags and brand names—as soon as she is spotted out in public. Although Nawaz prefers a minimal yet sophisticated aesthetic when it comes to clothing, she is known for experimenting with more feminine patterns and prints.
When her expensive designer Sania Maskatiya pret began to invite increased criticism, Nawaz made the smart decision to diversify the clothing options in her closet. She is now often seen wearing matching two-piece sets by mainstream and more affordable brands like Khaadi and EGO. While her vast collection of satin Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pumps and mules remain a staple in her everyday outfits for public appearances, there is no denying that her move towards incorporating non-designer and relatively inexpensive items of clothing in her day-to-day wardrobe sends a message of humility, relatability, and approachability.
Former two-time member of the Sindh Provincial Assembly and present PPP representative, Faruqui has a strong online presence that portrays a side of her that is separate from her political persona. Although her public Instagram profile categorizes her as a “News Personality”, her social media is where we often get to witness her influencer alter ego. She has countless posts and reels dedicated to documenting her exquisite designer outfits.
From veteran designers like Rizwan Beyg, Maheen Karim, and Farah Talib Aziz to relatively new designers like Annus Abrar, Hussain Rehar, and Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, Faruqui has treated herself to beautifully embroidered and embellished pret and couture pieces by many of the talents the Pakistani fashion industry has to offer.
Even though she does not have a unique signature look or distinct inclination towards a certain fashion aesthetic, she is still one of the most fashion-forward of her peers.
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