M.M. LaFleur | The Daily Beast

A couple weeks ago M.M. LaFleur tweeted about lending their clothes to women running for office and I raised my hand as one of those women!

Soon after, a style writer for The Daily Beast, Alaina Demopoulos, reached out wanting to talk about my campaign and the role clothing plays for women on the campaign trail. We really hit it off and they ended up running a story on Danyell for Congress!

Danyell Lanier

The last woman to represent Oklahoma’s 2nd District, a predominantly rural section on the eastern side of the state, was Alice Mary Robertson. She served from 1921 to 1923. Since then, the state’s representatives have been men, each sporting crew cuts and red or blue ties in their official portraits. Danyell Lanier wants to change that.

The Navy vet and mother will run as a Democrat against Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK). “In Oklahoma, cowboy boots are the norm,” Lanier said. “The guy that I’m running against, when he’s meeting with people, that’s what he has on—North Face vest, button down, jeans, and boots. That’s just how it is. For a woman, it’s different. People don’t really understand the pressure we’re always facing about what we have on.”

When Lanier decided to run, she had to say goodbye to her beloved distressed skinny jeans. She bought, for the most part, an entirely new wardrobe. “That is not deductible, that’s not something you can write off,” she said. “You’re investing in yourself, your image. That’s out of pocket. And you might not want to keep wearing that same black blazer, so you go look for one in another color. There are little nuances no one thinks about—runs in pantyhose, zippers break, you have to be prepared for that.”

“This is the first thing they see before I even speak. Fashion is a silent, powerful statement”

She keeps an “emergency bag” in her car filled with a blazer, slacks, a pair of loafers or heels, just in case she finds herself running to an event. “I’m a veteran, so I’m accustomed to wearing a uniform,” Lanier explained. “This is the first thing they see before I even speak. Fashion is a silent, powerful statement.”

When Lanier meets her potential constituents, she is “able to see the respect that they have for me showing I can dress the part. You can recognize this is how I represent you.”

It’s time for a changing of the guard in Oklahoma’s 2nd District, Lanier thinks. “And if that means taking off the boots and putting on kitten heels, I’m willing to do that,” she said.

Thank you M.M. LaFleur for playing a role in lifting up women! And to The Daily Beast for amplifying that message!

- DL

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