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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Other Hales

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Before the current issue disappears into the horizon and sails away, I'd like to encourage you to take note that in addition to our lengthy feature on mayor Charlie Hales, I devoted my little fashion column to his wife, and Portland's first lady, Nancy Hales, which sort of makes this the unofficial Hales Issue.

I didn't really think anything of the fact that he was married when Hales first took office. In the 15+ years that I've lived here Portland never had a "first lady" in any impactful way, so expectations were pretty nonexistent. It was actually Tito Chowdhury, Executive Producer of FASHIONxt who first alerted me to her in his contribution for our 2013 style predictions at the new year:

Our new mayor's wife, who's well traveled, outward looking in her professional capacity, and a fashion enthusiast, may play a visible role in promoting style. Unless the underachieving, vocal majority of Portlanders don't break her spirit just because she's showing fashion awareness, [since] that threatens their frumpy looks and living.

Man, I almost forgot how jerky he got at the end there. Anyway, it was enough to make me curious, and to notice when she kept being photographed wearing Portland-designed pieces. I was just excited to have someone in a visible role who was stylish—we could use a little glamour, guys, and I will never forget the time a supportive but hapless Sam Adams made his opening remarks at Portland Fashion Week wearing a tee-shirt and baseball cap (ugh, so embarrassing). And I was delighted to find out that her interest is more than just for show. She has a fascinating job in her own right, running the First Stop Portland program at PSU, acting as an ambassador of the city for international delegations coming to visit and study Portland for a variety of reasons, and it was through this work that she started to unpeel what the local industry has been doing, and she understands its significance within the overall culture of the city and its famous "livability."

Anyway, I think she's rather fantastic, and maybe represents the potential for more support and/or recognition from people in decision-making positions. Read it!

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