I defer to wisdom from CNN's Campbell Brown
...and the wisdom of the great Melissa McEwan.
It's no secret that you should "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have." Well, Palin is dressing to look Presidential, so it's understandable that she wants to look sharp. Not only that, as a woman in the public eye, she HAS to look sharp.
Throughout this campaign season, the press has made it abundantly clear that it won't be cutting female politicians any slack. Article after article was written about Hillary's pantsuits, the 'is-it-there-or-not' cleavage and the choice of wardrobe colors (did that blue really flatter her?). And forget the clothes, was Clinton even HOT enough to be President? Believe it or not, it was a concern some pundits had.... Rush Limbaugh (professional asshole) wrote an entire article about Hillary, "Does Our Looks-Obsessed Culture Want to Stare at an Aging Woman?"
So needless to say, there's pressure to look flawless. Palin's already been subject to scrutiny for outdated hair or for simply appearing as she is!
However, as McEwan and Brown both point out, we can acknowledge the sexist double standard but still point out the hypocrisy that Ms. Small Town, "Real" America, Hockey Mom, Average Joe-loving Sarah Palin shops at stores (and with expense accounts) that in NO WAY reflect the average American experience.
Yes, woman are held to unfair standards but Palin dropped a LOT of cash ($150,000 over the course of 2 months) on clothes from top designers while Michelle Obama rocked a White House Black Market dress for less than $200.
And if they were just two women living their life, that information would be none of my concern.
However, Palin's campaign crux is that she sees America the way YOU do ('you' being, middle class, small town folk) and her actions continually speak otherwise.
Besides, if I were a donor to McCain's campaign (hahahah, perish the thought) I'd be just a lil' pissy that she couldn't have shopped a few sale racks.
Update: Just found a great post from Echidne on this issue.