Hillary Clinton says 'suggestive' upskirt photos prompted her to start wearing pantsuits

·2 min read

Hillary Clinton started wearing pantsuits — now considered her fashion signature — after "suggestive" photos were taken of her in a skirt during her time as first lady.

In a new interview with Norah O'Donnell for CBS Sunday Morning alongside daughter Chelsea, the former presidential candidate shares that she switched up her style after visiting Brazil on a state visit in 1995. Clinton wore a cream skirt suit during her visit, in which photographers shot her from below.

"I was sitting on a couch, and the press was let in. There were a bunch of them shooting up," the former presidential candidate shared. Some of the photos — in which Clinton's underwear appeared to be visible — were later used in ads for Brazil's Duloren lingerie.

"All of a sudden the White House gets alerted to these billboards that show me sitting down — I thought my legs were together — but the way it's shot, it's sort of suggestive," Clinton, 74, added. "And then I also began to have the experience of having photographers all the time. I'd be on a stage, I'd be climbing stairs — and they'd be below me. I just couldn't deal with it, so I started wearing pants."

Chelsea, 42, broke in to share her thoughts on that photographer behavior: "So creepy. That's so creepy."

Hillary Clinton has made pantsuits her fashion signature after being photographed from below. (Photo: ROB CARR/AFP via Getty Images)
Hillary Clinton has made pantsuits her fashion signature after being photographed from below. (Photo: ROB CARR/AFP via Getty Images)

"In the interest of good taste and good sense we have no comment," the then-first lady's press secretary said at the time, per the Associated Press, though the director for agency behind the controversial ad offered this defense: "We want to say that daring women don’t mind letting their panties be seen."

While that's not true in Clinton's case, it is daring women that have inspired Gutsy, the upcoming Apple TV+ series the former senator and Secretary of State and her daughter are launching on Sept. 9. Based on their bestselling book, The Book of Gutsy Women, the docuseries will see the Clintons sit down with trailblazers including Dr. Jane Goodall, Amy Schumer and Megan Thee Stallion.

Clinton also addressed her love of pantsuits in her 2017 memoir, What Happened. Along with citing her upskirting concerns, Clinton shared that the suits "make me feel professional and ready to go." Having a simple uniform was also seen as being helpful on the campaign trail, she wrote.

“I also thought it would be good to do what male politicians do and wear more or less the same thing every day," she noted.

"A uniform was also an anti-distraction technique: since there wasn’t much to say or report on what I wore, maybe people would focus on what I was saying instead."

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