Couldn't sleep, so I decided to skim around and noticed this thread. Caehlim, you've been pretty awesome to me when I've wondered about stuff, so I decided to do some considerations.
Unfortunately no, this doesn't even stop for older women.
Forbes magazine, Slate, Le Journal International, Vogue, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Daily Mail, Business Insider, BBC and Spiegel have all commented on Angela Merkel's fashion sense.
Attempting a hypothesis, I checked all the authors of the various pieces you mentioned. I know darn little about fashion but figured that they'd provide a sufficiently standardized set of data points.
Forbes Magazine - Couldn't find the listed author
Slate - Rebecca Schuman (Female)
Le Journal International - KASIA OPYDO (Female)
Vogue - EDWARD BARSAMIAN (Male)
The Guardian - Couldn't find the author listed
Daily Mail - MARTHA DE LACEY (Female)
Business Insider - Ashley Lutz (Female)
BBC - Katya Foreman (Female)
Spiegel - Katya Foreman (Male)
Quite a few females, and of the two men, one is writing for a fashion magazine and the other is specifically criticizing a photo shoot she did.
But it all ended up looking a tad too private for the taste of Merkel's campaign managers. Dressed in an unflattering baggy striped shirt, elastic-waist leisure pants and sneakers from a chain department store, while standing next to an enormous dead fish, Germany's highest-ranking female politician is barely recognizable as the same person seen smiling sophisticatedly on the glossy campaign posters.
Obama had the exact same thing happen with "mom jeans," so I think we can rule that last guy out.http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/22/obama-michelle-got-rid-of-my-mom-jeans/
if you aren't familiar.
Similarly, it is easy to understand why a fashion magazine would focus upon fashion.
In my experience, it tends to be more women who notice such things and hold expectations, with men being the minority in such situations. This may be a stereotype to some degree, but it's difficult to claim any level of oppression.
Now, the reason for this discrepancy is very obvious: we expect professional men and women to dress differently.http://smallbusiness.chron.com/considered-mens-business-attire-24265.htmlhttps://www.google.com/search?q=types+of+female+business+outfits&espv=2&biw=1025&bih=515&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Q5_pVOOdL477gwS1-YOgBw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1.5#tbm=isch&q=types+of+male+business+outfitshttp://womens-fashion.lovetoknow.com/What_is_Professional_Business_Attire_for_Womenhttps://www.google.com/search?q=types+of+female+business+outfits&espv=2&biw=1025&bih=515&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Q5_pVOOdL477gwS1-YOgBw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1.5
Women have lots of options, but for men, it's only suits. There's nowhere near the amount of variety. The only real difference is the necktie, and the guy did wear different ties.
Because all suits look pretty much the same, people just don't really notice them. However, if they get changed up, it can make waves.http://elitedaily.com/news/world/internet-exploded-president-barack-obama-wore-khaki-suit/733004/
I would venture that this is more nurture than nature. Because women are given a plethora of options, they put more cognitive effort into the idea of fashion. The idea of staying on the edge of fashion remains prevalent to those so inclined.
To attempt a sort of equilibrium, I see three different options:
1.) Remove professional standards of dress. I consider this unlikely in the near future, even if I'd love it.
2.) Limit the kinds of things women can wear. This is wrong in all kinds of ways.
3.) Create a larger set of options for men's standards. This would be a task meant for anyone more apt in fashion than I am, but it's certainly doable. However, I don't consider it likely.
In September, Ryan Seacrest apparently set up a new line of suits, called Distinction. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ryan-seacrest-launches-color-coded-724181
Compare to the 1940's. http://mens-fashion.lovetoknow.com/Mens_Fashion_in_the_1940%27s
One bit in particular jumps out at me.
Everyone wore a tie and through it, a man could express his individuality.
As mentioned, the newscaster in the original post wore different ties. I'd be curious how things would go if it was the same tie every day for a year along with the same suit, though.
I'm inclined to think that if any better option than the suit existed, someone would have found it by now.
From what I'm seeing, the professional dress of women goes through all sorts of changes, easily outpacing the subtle bits of what kind of tie a man wears, or what color the suit might be. It's an inequality, but not one easily remedied.
Having trouble sleeping and I'm sure I rambled an awful lot on here. Hope it wasn't too illegible.