11/29/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sarah Palin's Green Couture

I never thought I'd use the word "green" to describe anything about Sarah Palin. But I must give credit where credit is due...or at least where it used to be due.

When it comes to browsing through clothes racks, an uber-eco-conscious shopper can choose from two extremes: Spend a pretty penny on organic cotton, hemp, bamboo or polyester threads made from recycled plastic bottles--or save a bundle by buying secondhand.

Self-described average "hockey mom" Sarah Palin is a used-clothing shopper.

Perhaps like you, when I first heard this I imagined her plowing through racks at the Goodwill--trying to save a buck like every other "Joe-six-pack" struggling to make ends meet in a nose-diving economy. It turns out that she shops at a high-end resale boutique that sells brands like Stella McCartney, Chloe, Bella Sera, and Houghton Hill--probably the same labels you'd find at Saks Fifth Avenue or Neiman Marcus.

Still, I reluctantly respected her for it, even though it might be the only green idea that she and I share.

But it made me wonder: Why on earth didn't she say "thanks, but no thanks" to the now-infamous $150,000 worth of fancy new outfits from NM, Saks, Bloomingdale's and Barney's? Especially given her self-promoted political identity as a fiscal conservative, anti-pork barrel, regular middle-class person who wears other women's discards?

After all, this is more than three times the average annual U.S. salary, and stores 99 percent of Americans probably can't afford to shop at.

I'm continually baffled by the way the RNC keeps trying to change precisely the things about Palin for which they presumably chose her, seemingly molding her into the Washington elite that she's promising to rattle-up if her ticket wins on Election Day.

And I have to wonder about the missed opportunity to introduce this green shopping habit into mainstream USA. Imagine if the RNC had showcased the fact that Sarah Palin buys clothes from resale shops? That sure sounds like working-class America to me. And given the way the public went crazy over her eyeglass frames and peek-a-boo toe pumps, she could have launched huge demand for secondhand fashion.

Who knows? Had she been allowed to continue wearing her own clothes, or if the campaign had bought J. Crew online (a la Michelle Obama), maybe McCain could have stayed in Michigan.