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Our stylish PM makes a cultural statement with clothes

Perhaps more than any other leader before her, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been noted for her fashion sense, with her clothes making statements that are louder than words.

Yesterday, she unveiled a wardrobe that's meant to promote Thai fabric, wearing a colourful shirt made with the traditional chequered pha khao ma silk as she attended the Cabinet meeting at Government House. She inspected other outfits designed as part of the government's campaign, which is being headed up by the Culture Ministry and encourages other Cabinet ministers to wear local designs made of Thai fabrics.

In addition to promoting the Thai identity, the new clothing designs are being touted as part of the government's energy-saving measures, in anticipation of a power crisis next month due to the temporary closure of Myanmar's gas pipeline for annual maintenance.

During this hottest time of the year, the idea is to dress cooler in order to use less energy on air-conditioning. The premier herself spearheaded the campaign by removing her suit jacket for the media last month to promote the government's "no suit while attending meetings" policy.

Yingluck has paid increasing attention to her appearance since taking office and has made many improvements during her term, according to noted stylists.

When it came to her hairdo, salon owner Dr Somsak Chalachon said Yingluck was ready to accept criticism and make changes.

"When she was newly elected, she had no style, especially her hairdos," Somsak said. "She always let her hair fall loose like a young lady. It wasn't appropriate to her position and did not look sleek. She took the advice to wrap her hair up, which makes her look more chic and better suits her facial features.

"Now she has opted for modern suits for work and Thai traditional dresses to attend functions in the provinces. Thai people should be proud to have a woman PM with a very good personality who is the face of the country,'' he said.

Designer Theera Chantasawat says Yingluck has dressed in a more modern style to suit her position as the leader of the country. She has also shown great taste.

"Wearing a soft-colour suit is the right choice. She does not dress too colourfully or wear too much jewellery. Just earrings and a pin are enough. She has made a great transformation from the first day she took office,'' Theera said, adding that he believes a team of stylists has been behind the PM's improvement in fashion and style.

Makeup artist Apichart Norasettaporn give Yingluck a mixed review.

"She has made a great improvement in all aspects, be it her clothes, makeup and hair. A country leader should not overdress, especially during a foreign trip,'' he said.

However, Yingluck's dresses were sometimes too brightly coloured, particularly for her trips abroad, Apichart said.

"She might want to look more exciting, so she put on a dress that is a bit freaky in style with too-bright colours and a neckline that is a bit too low."




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