Second-Lady Style, A Primer On Jill & Janna's Aesthetic Leanings

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The Vice Presidential debate is tomorrow night, and while we're interested to see what issues Joe Biden and Paul Ryan discuss (and whether moderator Martha Raddatz keeps things under control a little better than poor Jim Lehrer did), we're almost equally as excited to see what their wives will be wearing. After all, Jill and Janna don't get quite as much attention as Michelle and Ann, but the Second Lady can play an important role in our political and style agendas. So, what are they bringing to the table, in terms of aesthetics? Let's take a look.

Janna Ryan — Janna Ryan is a tax attorney, lobbyist and Capitol Hill staffer-turned Midwestern stay-at-home mother of three. She’s mainly stayed out of the big spotlight so far, turning down a chance to speak at the Republican National Convention earlier this year. And her style choices fit right into a “regular folks” Republican storyline: always lovely, but never flashy or overtly expensive.

Ryan’s blond hair is shiny and swingy – almost Middleton-esque – but it looks like she's styling it herself. She keeps her makeup natural and tends to choose appropriate and flattering, but conservative and affordable, dresses. In fact, the two she wore at the Republican National Convention came from Talbots.

So, while we think she’s looked great so far, we also hope to see her kick it up a notch going forward. Maybe some statement jewelry, an animal-print shoe or a more fitted silhouette? She’s definitely got the figure for it.

Jill Biden — Jill Biden is almost two decades older than Janna Ryan, but the two aren’t too far apart, style-wise.

Biden, who teaches English full-time at a community college in addition to her duties as a mother, grandmother and wife of the vice president, tends to stick to skirt suits with feminine details, solid dresses and shades of red, white and blue — colors that support her patriotic message and flatter her fair skin and blond hair. For formal gowns, she generally sticks with flattering but relatively traditional dresses from Reem Acra, purveyor of lust-worthy, embellished bridal wear.

And, while her hairstyle is more Farrah than Kate, the color and soft layers frame her face well. For showing off that enviable body and not worrying too much about "dressing her age," we say Dr. Biden’s got a (perfectly toned) leg up on Mrs. Ryan…so far. But both ladies could stand to try a few more patterns and prints. If we were styling them, anyway.

Photo: Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis/Corbis and Carolyn Kaster/AP/Corbis