On polling day, there’s no place to hide, and so it was the duty of party leaders, and supporting spouses, to put on a display of well-dressed unity, leading the nation by example as they publicly exercised their democratic right to vote.
The rest of us could wander down to the polling stations in our jarmies, if we wanted, but those who wish to lead are expected to scrub up well. This was their final chance to impress.
The main focus, inevitably, unfairly, fell on the women, although one of the most refreshing aspects of this General Election campaign has been that the leaders’ partners have not, in the main, felt endlessly obliged to doll themselves up and trot out to play the fragrant doting wives game.
Who can blame them? How exhausting it must be even just to open your wardrobe, knowing that every item you wear, down to your toenail polish (or lack of it) will be scrutinised and judged.
As for the men, What To Wear has become a matter of increasing importance for them too. Navy suit again? With tie or without? If with, should it be the colour of the party, or is that naff? If no tie, how many buttons undone? One? Two? More? (They’ll be down to their boxers by the next election … and that’s a whole new ball game.) Plus there are the many pitfalls of middle-class male off-duty weekend wear - those ill-fitting jeans don’t iron themselves.
But then there’s the Big Day, polling day, which brings sartorial issues all of its own for electioneering couples. Should they do the matchy-matchy thing? If they do, should that be in the party colour? And what if the party colour is notoriously difficult-to-wear yellow?
As they stepped out to cast their votes at Hall Park Centre in Sheffield, it was a big yes from Nick Clegg and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez on that one. The Liberal Democrat leader and his international trade lawyer wife put on an impressively colour co-ordinated display, she in a fabulous yellow blouse with very cool bird-print stripes, teamed with a rich blue A-line skirt and yellow transparent courts (all the rage - good choice), while he chipped in with a tie in a slightly paler yellow, to wear with his (admittedly predictable) dark suit and blue shirt. Bold and confident styling, certainly on her part, and they were the clear style winners at the polling station.
Over to Spelsbury Memorial Hall, Witney, and another colour-co-ordinated show from Tory leader David Cameron and his fashion consultant wife, Samantha Cameron, this time in shades of blue. Perhaps still a bit pumped-up, he chose to go tie-less, while his navy suit looked a touch oversized and rumpled, giving the air of a sixth former escaping the exam hall, but his pale-blue, finely-striped shirt chimed well with Samantha’s outfit. She, meanwhile, showed sure-footed style savviness in her fashionable shirt dress, exquisitely pressed, accessorised with a favourite white belt (£35, from Whistles, if you’re interested), but given a common touch with gold hoop earrings and off-white stilettos - so something for everyone.
In Doncaster, Ed Miliband and Justine Thornton clearly did not decide to go matchy-matchy. At all. Not one bit. The Labour leader did wear a tie, in a rich red, with classic white shirt and black suit (again, a little on the large size - has the shrunken suiting trend completely passed them by?), while his barrister wife stepped out in a pale blue top and casual cropped trousers, dressed up with a coral “wedding-guest” jacket and, inexplicably, grey stilettos. It looked a little hastily thrown together, but all the more normal for that.
There was yet another display of sartorial unity in Glasgow, with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and husband, Peter Murrell, this time in a rather sleek and natty shade of green, with Peter near-matching his striped tie to his wife’s green floral shift dress and gold-green nipped-in jacket. They looked as if they were off to a wedding and, frankly, we have seen Sturgeon before in this outfit, so perhaps these are her lucky togs - but they score highly for thought and effort. Which surely is what it’s all about.