Carole Rome: First Lady fashion
Carole Rome, the one from the Hamptons, was a study in plunging necklines, in glossed lips, in sun kissed hair, in buttery skin.
Carole Crist, the one from the governor's mansion, is something else. She's still vivacious, but there's a certain demurity, plus an abundance of boat neck collars. She's bound for political wifedom, after all. When's the last time you saw major cleavage on a First Lady?
She's never been understated. As a high school cheerleader, her bangs were large and in charge. When she graduated to the New York social scene, it tumbled down her back, laced with honey chunks and hairspray. She loved Roberto Cavalli, a designer more known for busty leopard print than churchwear. At one Hamptons party, Rome wore a custom dress cut clear to the navel, banded with sequins and drizzled with icy jewelry. Her lipstick? Fire engine.
Then came Charlie. Charlie, who wears Dockers and belts printed with fish. Charlie, who would look like a freaky Klingon in the linen-blazer-sandal Hamptons schtick.
When the St. Pete Times interviewed Rome and Crist at her Fisher Island home in July, she strolled out in a summery teal dress with dollish cap sleeves. Her hair was shorter, her heels sensible.
While feeding the needy at St. Vincent dePaul, she wore head-to-toe white, capped by the most angelic of cardigans. When the couple met Prince Charles, she wore a black dress to the knee with small hoop earrings, hands folded at the waist.
In New York, her hand lived squarely on the hip. But Charlie changed her, she said.
"Maybe it's more accurate to say I'm getting back to my roots and my solid foundation of who I really am and what's really important in life," she told the Times in July.
Still, we wonder -- will the public respect her less if she shows a little toe? In this Sarah Palin era of Naughty Monkey peep toe shoes, isn't it OK for the political elite to slap on a little gloss and give the ol' wink? Haven't we evolved past pearls?
In October, the couple took in a Tampa Bay Rays game. Charlie was still Charlie, this time in a belt embroidered with sailing pennants. His love stood by his side in good girl jeans. Her white tee, though, took a good, old-fashioned plunge.
~ Deal Diva Stephanie
Photos: Times files