Kirstjen Nielsen: stylish with a bite

This week our Fashion Editor Gail Day reviews the style of the controversial Secretary of Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen

Less than five years ago, the name Kirstjen Nielsen was known only to Washington insiders. But since her relatively recent and unexpected appointment as the US Secretary of Homeland Security, she has made international headlines – mostly for controversial reasons.

You will often find Nielsen at the right hand of President Trump. But her appointment to the role came as somewhat of a surprise. For one, her resumé is far from typical for the Department of Homeland Security top job. In the history of the DHS, six people have been at its helm. Those have included judges, prominent defense lawyers and even a four-star general. Nielsen’s job prior to her White House role was as a cyber security consultant in the private sector.

Just three months into her current role at the White House, she started her tenure by putting an end to the temporary protected status of 200 000 Salvadorans who had been living in the US legally.

Ask those in the know and opinion on Nielsen is decidedly mixed. She is said to have risen in the ranks due to clever positioning alongside key players in the Oval Office. One in particular happens to be the White House chief of staff, John Kelly. Nielsen’s harsh immigration policies can be seen as a direct extension of his own.

But even this transition was mired in controversy. Kelly’s original choice for the top job in Homeland Security was a former Air Force colonel called Alan Metzler. On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration however, it was revealed to Kelly that Metzler was too closely tied to the Obama administration to ever be accepted by Trump. Already firmly in the fold, Nielsen was a natural alternative.

To her credit, she had served in the Bush administration from 2002 to 2007 where she oversaw domestic policy for disaster relief. She left the role for a job in the private sector after the controversy surrounding the way the government dealt with Hurricane Katrina. She then built up a career as a cyber security expert which even led to a seat at the World Economic Forum.

Nielsen’s most pressing matter right now is Trump’s controversial border wall between the United States and Mexico. She recently announced that the National Guard would be deployed to protect the border with urgency.

While her political agenda may be divisive, there is one area we can praise Kirstjen Nielsen: her style. We’ve followed her journey in the White House and found her most style-worthy moments.

Classic in Tweed

Kirstjen Nielsen

On meeting with Mexican government officials, Nielsen chose an outfit that is both classic and demure. Her tweed jacket has elements of vintage Chanel style, worn over a white tank top and navy blue bottoms.

All Business in Black

Kirstjen Nielsen
Standing at the President’s side, Nielsen is stoic in an outfit of top-to-toe black. While the president spoke about his contentious Wall System, she looked on in a knee-length black shift dress, a tailored black blazer, opaque stockings and black court shoes.

Dutiful Style

Kirstjen Nielsen
In her role as the Secretary of Homeland Security, Nielsen often chooses monochrome outfits from head to toe. Here she breaks the all-black color with a fitted jacket in a subtle printed pattern.

Kirstjen Nielsen: Secretary of the Navy Blue

Kirstjen Nielsen
Nielsen is the picture of business-like class as she meets with a fellow government official. Her choice for the event is a svelte tailored suit in classic navy blue.

Inaugural Elegance

Kirstjen Nielsen
As Nielsen officially took her oath of office as the sixth Secretary of Homeland Security, her outfit was understated and demure. She chose an indigo-colored shift dress with subtle side detailing. As the President and his vice look on, she is every bit the fashionable White House staffer.


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