WASHINGTON — Some things never change, like all that talk about powerful women and their hairdos. “So what do you think of her hair,’’ asked one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s longtime aides at Wednesday’s swearing in ceremony for Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. “Do you think it’s too long?’’ The ladies in attendance, including White House Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall, former White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers and ABC correspondent Claire Shipman, all agreed Clinton could use a quick snip. As for her radiant glow, the gang chalked it up to what Myers called M.O.B. “That’s short for mother of the bride,’’ she said. There was no further discussion of Clinton’s daughter Chelsea’s upcoming nuptials.

Stock, whose hair escaped analysis, wore a baby blue cotton pique suit made by a McLean, Va., dressmaker for the occasion. Upon her confirmation, she took to the podium with arms raised in delight. “You look like Muhammad Ali,’’ Clinton told her, later adding that Stock will be in charge of beefing up America’s image abroad with exchange programs such as the popular Fulbright program. Despite the gentle ribbing, Stock thanked the former first lady for first bringing her to the White House as social secretary. Stock then saluted another former boss, Bloomingdale’s legend Marvin Traub, whom she hailed as the man who “opened up China — right after Richard Nixon.’’

This story first appeared in the July 15, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

One person notably absent was current White House Social Secretary Julianna Smoot. “She’s at a White House luncheon for Senate wives,’’ explained Ebs Burnough, Smoot’s assistant, who kept checking his text messages just in case his boss broke free.

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