On November 10, the Twittersphere graced us with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's and Cori Bush's wonderful rapport reminding us that the often daunting topic of politics can actually be cool, eco-friendly and approachable.
Bush sparked up a Twitter thread mentioning her need to go thrifting to find appropriate and affordable business clothes for her new day-to-day attire on the Hill. Ocasio-Cortez quickly replied with the affirmation that buying secondhand is often the more sustainable option and then suggested going on a thrift shopping date together.
Some of us may be asking ourselves why does this matter? Why should we care what people are tweeting about? However, what we should be asking ourselves is why haven't we had an open discussion about topics like this before? Why haven't we normalized the difficulties of being able to dress professionally, sustainably, and affordably?
Bush is newly-elected to congress and will be the first Black woman to represent Missouri. Preparing for her job in D.C., she's already addressing regular people's issues adapting to a work environment like Congress. Once Bush got the ball rolling on the difficulties of buying affordable yet professional clothes, not only did Ocasio-Cortez hop into the conversation, but to name a few Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Pam Keith also all responded to Bush's thrifting tweet.
Tlaib wrote, "Cori, I still wear some of my maternity clothes under those blazers," then she added, "P.S. I get the most compliments from the clothes I got from thrift shops."
Suddenly, it felt like elected officials were taking Twitter by storm to comment on the benefits of secondhand clothes. It was women empowering women galore as they all shared their own experiences with the perks of dressing for success in thrifted, rented or borrowed clothes. Bush even followed up with her followers with a sneak peak fashion show of some of the thrift purchases she made.
Rarely do politicians, let alone female politicians, talk about what they are wearing. In this case, it felt like these women were taking back the conversation on clothes. So often, the media or opponents use what female politicians are wearing to undermine their policies and intelligence. Bush's tweet turns that negative idea upside down. If people are going to talk about what female politicians are wearing, why not utilize that global platform to share how everyday people can affordably and sustainably shop for their job, too? Bush's tweet is a simple example of how she's making life in politics accessible for everyone, highlighting the notions of a democracy.
Their viral Twitter activity showed us that it only takes less than 140 characters to spark inspiration in sustainability. Now our question is, how do we get to go thrifting with these powerhouse congresswomen?