PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS BY CHRIS MORRIS / LAS VEGAS SUN
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2008 | 2 a.m.
The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 on clothes and accessories for vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family.
What would that get you in Las Vegas?
For $150,000, you could buy a single-family house and still have $35,000 left over to buy clothes to fill the closets.
They skipped the house.
From the day she was selected as John McCain’s running mate until Election Day, the Palins are being outfitted to the tune of $2,200 per day.
At that rate, Sarah and Todd Palin could get a concierge suite at the Palazzo — and one for each of their five children.
Or she could have bought 25,000 six packs and handed them over to various Joes.
Then again, if you have donated money to the Republican National Committee, you might want to think about this: For $150,000, Las Vegas businessman Joe Roach’s call center, Advanced Integrated Communications, could make 1,000 hours of calls per day (his average during a campaign), at his top wage of $10 per hour, for the last 15 days of the McCain-Palin campaign. In other words, he could have started two days ago.
(Roach has a contract to place calls across the country on behalf of the Republican ticket, but the cash-strapped campaign has delayed for weeks and has yet to trigger the calls, he says in the accompanying Sun story.)
Instead, the Republican National Committee took the Palins shopping, at Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys and Bloomingdale’s. At the Minneapolis Neiman Marcus alone, the Republican National Committee dropped $75,062.63.
What kind of clothes can you get for that kind of money?
To find out, I went to the Neiman Marcus store at the Fashion Show mall.
Suspicious store employees started following me around.
(No wonder. I buy my clothes at places that also sell dog food in bulk.)
So that someone could tell me how many pieces go into a professional woman’s outfit, I asked my wife to browse with me. She found blouses for $500, jackets for $1,000, skirts for $300, shoes for $400 and dresses for $500 and up. All told, she figured that if she spared no expense, she could come up with a week’s worth of vice-presidential-quality outfits for $10,000. At that rate, if she bought 35 outfits, she still could not have spent as much as the Palins did in one day at the store.
This called for an expert.
Jenna Doughton is a personal shopper. Could any of her clients spend that much on clothes?
Oh yes, she said. She has several clients who spend more than $100,000 a year on clothes.
Right, but for two months’ worth of clothes?
“I have to think about that for a second,” Doughton said.
Yes, probably, but it would help if you added a $30,000 Hermes Birkin bag or two. Maybe some custom clothes from Armani.
Could she guess what Palin was wearing?
“No,” Doughton said. “Her clothes are so androgynous that they’re not recognizable.” That’s why, she said, it’s so surprising that the clothing cost so much.
“I’m just sad that she didn’t contact me,” Doughton said. “I could have done it for a fraction of the price and made her look a hundred times better.”
After the news of the wardrobe broke Wednesday, the McCain-Palin campaign said the clothes will be donated to charity after the election.