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PoliticsAugust 30, 2023

Shop the fit: Chlöe Swarbrick


Introducing a special election series celebrating the fits, good and bad, worn by political candidates. Up first, the Greens’ Chlöe Swarbrick.

New Zealand Fashion Week is underway, so here at The Spinoff we’re celebrating our public servant fits. Forget supermodels, runways and fashionistas, let political candidates guide your style this election season. 

Chlöe Swarbrick, an icon for all the idealists and social justice warriors among us, has some pretty sick threads. She put together this particular look for a Saturday night in early August when the campaign office in central Auckland, known to some as Chlöe’s clubhouse, was launched. Others might have worn a suit or formal dress, but Swarbrick opted for casual, comfy and warm. Her fit, apart from the shoes, is all local brands and it’s cool without being tragically trend-led. I appreciate that.

Moana Fresh ‘Ehukai hoodie

Swarbrick’s sea spray blue hoodie is from a shop / community space in Avondale, which celebrates Pacific and Māori creatives. It looks great but let’s start with the inside – the cotton is brushed which means it’s super soft and cozy. It’s screen printed by hand, in Avondale, and it looks cool because they’ve used a sick gothic font. Great value for $95.

New Balance 991 sneakers

Swarbrick very casually said she was wearing “my wife’s sneakers” but these are in fact New Balance 991s which could set you back $340, even if you are a wife. Originally released in 2001, 991s are a “cult classic” according to the New Balance website, where they’re sold out. You could opt for the grey and silver 990v4 Core instead, for $350.

Bed socks by General Sleep

Image of socks

Following the tradition of the cozy hoodie, Swarbrick warms her toes with the softest socks $69 can buy. A bit indulgent, especially considering the Green Party is selling lovely green possum merino socks as merch for about half the price, but we don’t need to shame someone for wearing nice socks just because we’re jealous. They’re made in Auckland, her hometown, but Swarbrick got them from Frances Nation in Ōtautahi. 

Recycled red puffer vest

Image of red puffer vest

Cute and club-housey, in a scouts kinda way, the red puffer vest is a great layer. It gives pockets in which to hide hands on a cold evening, and levels up a hoodie from lounge to office launch wear. Swarbrick got hers from Koha apparel, a shop which sells secondhand things and gives proceeds to help clothe people in need, or help the homeless. Some items cost $10, and others $350, so it’s hard to guess how much this might have set Swarbrick back. Due to the bespoke nature of Koha apparel’s offerings, you’ll have to find your own red puffer vest. In fact, that image is actually a baby’s puffer vest because there was no evidence of the one Swarbrick owns online.

Papa black linen bias skirt

Image of model wearing black linen skirt and top

Another local label, Papa showcases the work of Pacific designer Keva Rands, releasing limited pieces throughout the year. What can go wrong with a plain and flattering bottom? Nothing. Also – this is a multi-functional piece. I imagine Swarbrick can wear this to the beach or the Beehive depending on what shoes and whether she chooses a blazer or sunscreen to match. This particular skirt was once almost $300, but is currently on sale for $177.

Verdict: Excluding the mystery cost of the puffer vest, putting together this Swarbrick fit will cost you $691. All the pieces are cosy, warm or comfy enough to warrant wearing them all the time, and can transition easily from couch to office, day to night, wife to wife. 

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