Spotlight On: Robin Givhan


Her columns have been described as pointed and funny to controversial and insightful. She has taken commenting on style to a whole new level and her columns are more than just an exercise in reviewing an outfit but rather an eloquent awareness of political and pop culture infused with a biting satire. She is Robin Givhan, fashion editor for The Washington Post.

A native of Detroit, MI, Robin Givhan’s flair for the academic was evident during her high school years when she graduated as class valedictorian for Renaissance High School in 1982. Shortly after high school she relocated to New Jersey to attend the prestigious Princeton University where she majored in English. Following her undergraduate career, Robin went on to pursue her graduate studies at the University of Michigan where she received a masters degree in journalism.

Robin’s academic pursuits were the perfect preparation for the successful career she set out to achieve. She began her career writing for the Detroit Free Press where she was a general assignments reporter covering night clubs and reviewing B-list movies for the entertainment section. Over time, she became a feature writer and may her foray into the fashion beat. Robin stayed with the Detroit Free Press for upwards of seven year, leaving only for a brief stint to write for the San Francisco Chronicle.

In 1995, Robin accepted a position to cover the fashion industry for The Washington Post and here is where she has made her mark over the past 10 years. In 2006, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, the first for a fashion writer. She has penned essay after critical essay commenting on the attire of such notable figures as former Vice President Dick Cheney who attended a ceremony in 2005 commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz wearing a bulky, dark green parka. Givhan wrote, “It’s the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower…. Here he was wearing something that visually didn’t symbolize to me the level of solemnity and respect that I thought a service like this demanded… He was representing the American people. I don’t want to be represented by someone in, you know, a parka who looks like he’s at a Green Bay Packer game.” Likewise, her commentary for current then Senator Hillary Clinton was equally biting when she described her v-neckline attire as  “unnerving” and “startling,” especially for a woman “who has been so publicly ambivalent about style, image and the burdens of both.” She added, “[I]t was more like catching a man with his fly unzipped. Just look away!”

Most recently, Robin has taken up residence in the D.C. area to cover the fashion of the First Lady, Michelle Obama and has even released a book entitled “Michelle: Her First Year as First Lady”. Though her critiques have not always been positive, it seems Robin is exercising a level of decorum and respect when speaking of the First Lady (as well she should). Take a look at her article written last year commenting on the First Lady wearing shorts and let us know what you think.

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