New York Who knew looking like a hockey mom was this darned expensive?
Certainly not Wanda Routier, a proud hockey mom in Hewitt, Wis., who spends her time in sweatpants, turtlenecks, ankle boots and heavy coats.
She was dismayed to hear Wednesday that the Republican Party had spent $150,000 in two months on clothes, hair styling and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family from such upscale stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nieman Marcus.
"I was put off by it," Routier said. "I mean I know they have an image to project, but that's a lot of money when we're talking about the economy the way it is! And the burden on ordinary Americans."
But another hockey mom defended Palin. "I can certainly imagine her clothes would cost that much," said Page Growney, a mother of four in upscale New Canaan, Conn. "What did you want to see her in, a turtleneck from L.L. Bean?"
As much of the world knows, Palin introduced herself at the GOP convention - in what's been widely reported to be a $2,500 Valentino jacket - as a "regular hockey mom," and boasted of having saved Alaska's taxpayers "over-the-top" expenditures like her luxury jet, her personal chef, even the ride to work.
She has often talked of "real Americans" and "Joe Six-Pack" and projected a folksy demeanor in her vice presidential debate.
"Let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card," she said in that debate. "Don't live outside of our means."
The average U.S. household spent $1,874 on clothes and services in 2006, the last year for which figures are available from the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
So her detractors were naturally having a field day with the revelations, first reported on Politico.com. They included a whopping $75,062 shopping spree at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, one for $49,425 from Saks Fifth Avenue, $4,902 at Atelier, a stylish men's store, and even a $92 romper and matching hat with ears for baby Trig at Pacifier, a Minneapolis baby store.
The McCain campaign also reported paying $13,200 in September alone to celebrity makeup artist Amy Strozzi. The Washington Post first reported on its Web site that Strozzi had been placed on the campaign's payroll.
A session with a makeup artist at home or a hotel can start at around $125 for one application, said Alison Brod, a spokeswoman for the Laura Mercier brand.
To hire a top-tier hairstylist, like Oscar Blandi on Madison Avenue whose clients include Jennifer Garner and Katie Holmes, it would cost a minimum of $200 for the visit, and at least $150 for an updo like Palin's. A haircut could run $500.