Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart admits he has worn the same suit every day for the past 15 months – yes, he owns more than one suit, but he was trying to prove a point.
Stewart was trying to bring attention to a double standard – women are constantly scrutinized for the clothes that they wear, but during the entire experiment, not a single person noticed he was wearing the same off-the-rack dark blue suit over and over again.
“I think those kinds of double standards can be a real barrier to seeing women enter public life and I think we should stand up for them,” Stewart tells Vancity Buzz.
He says he was inspired by an Australian male newscaster who did the same thing to support his female co-anchor who was receiving an onslaught of scrutiny for her outfit choices. Stewart wondered if it would work here, and, lo and behold, he says nobody paid any attention to his repetitive ensemble.
“I’ve got daughters and I want them to be judged as I think I am judged in my work: how well I do my job. Clearly I’m not judged on what I was wearing and yet so many women find that they get judged on their appearance, on what they wear, their hair,” he says.
“I hear from so many female politicians that they have to wear a different outfit every day – you can’t wear the same outfit for two consecutive council meetings. I just think that kind of standard is bizarre and inappropriate.”
In the end, Stewart says if we notice inequalities, we need to try and shine a light on them to aid in the quest for equality.
“If you look at the American election right now, there’s only one candidate whose clothing is in the news. That says something about our society.”
Stewart adds he was happy to retire the dark blue suit at the end of his experiment.