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November 16, 2008 7:12 AM   Subscribe

The fashion world scrambles to stay ahead. Michelle Obama emerges as an American fashion icon. She may appear in Vogue. Can she recover from her election night fashion faux pas? This is history in the making.
posted by twoleftfeet (81 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dear Michelle,

please ignore all this crap, just be yourself, and feel free to give the finger to any news outlet that gives you a bad review for doing so.

Yours,

the sane part of the world.
posted by DreamerFi at 7:30 AM on November 16, 2008 [35 favorites]


I could not read past the first few lines in the Chicago Tribune article. This:

A new big O is ascending on the fashion scene.

Incoming First Lady Michelle Obama is poised to be the new Oprah and the next Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—combined!—for designers, retailers and fashion aficionados. (Does that make her a double-O agent of change? Hmmm.)


is just painful to read. Sorry. Do not want.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 7:36 AM on November 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


I like this part:

"Michelle Obama knows the designers that are not only American but are also important to fashion," Choy said. "If you look back to Laura Bush or Hillary Clinton, they wore, OK, Oscar de la Renta and maybe Ralph Lauren, these established designers. But there wasn't this sense that the first lady knew what was happening on the ground. She wasn't necessarily wearing designers who were struggling to make it and had brilliant new perspective on American fashion...
posted by mediareport at 7:39 AM on November 16, 2008


I think we should take up a collection and buy her $150,000 worth of XKCD t-shirts. You know. Send a message.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:43 AM on November 16, 2008 [7 favorites]


Can she recover from her election night fashion faux pas?
anyone considering that a misstep clearly hasn't seen Angela Merkel on any given day.

This is history in the making.
no, it's just high school all over again. it the cute girls (read: the well-funded) making fun of the 'lesser' ones while themselves being impervious to how they are being perceived themselves. what's the word again? oh yeah, shallow.
posted by krautland at 7:58 AM on November 16, 2008 [12 favorites]


Big deal. Janet Reno was also an historical fashion icon.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:02 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago, Michelle Obama appeared on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and, in reference to Sarah Palin's expensive clothes shopping binge (news of which had just been released to the media), Michelle mentioned that she usually bought her own clothes online, like the outfit she was wearing that night, which was from J Crew. It was a nice, subtle dig at Palin, but it was also true.

Now, go do a Google search on the phrase michelle obama j crew. Check out the sponsored listing, and click on the link.

Or, do a Google search on michelle obama dress from the view, in reference to a very early campaign appearance on The View from months ago. There are three sponsored links on that one. Check out the top news stores about that one, too.

And yes, those appeared online long before Election Day. I haven't seen anything comparable for Cindy McCain.

So while Michelle Obama does have great taste in clothes, I think more and more American designers and retailers are going to promote her image as a fashion icon because that idea is helping their own image and their bottom line, too.
posted by Asparagirl at 8:13 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Quit ogling the first lady.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:19 AM on November 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


By Jan 20 this might be the 'in' item.
posted by mazola at 8:25 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't get the pooh-poohing from the peanut gallery here; if you're not interested in fashion, what are you doing in this thread? There's no doubt this is an interesting story for folks who like to follow the clothes business. From Asparagirl's clues, it sounds like the fashion industry is playing catchup, and probably praying she starts telling them in advance what she's going to wear.
posted by mediareport at 8:26 AM on November 16, 2008


Sorry leave this to the pros. Michelle Obama gives all the grace and style of a Seven Sisters grad who is in their second year of clerkship. No, no leave this to Carla Bruni who notices you're alone on the couch at a party and sits down next to you in her oversized Obama shirt and $500 jeans with this really hot American Apparel scarf and starts talking to you about how her really passion is "ze music" and asks you to come up to your room and you smoke a joint with her on her balcony and she sits down on her bed and pulls out this acoustic guitar and goes into an unbelievable cover of Eleanor Rigby and you think you've fallen in love and this is so going to happen, then some guy comes in and he sits down next to her and she smiles and goes "geoff. have you meet my husband, ze is Nicholas," and you smile and grit your teeth and he goes "Oui, very nice to meet you, my wife she sings beautiful, no?" And you make some small talk about how great The Editors are and excuse yourself to go down and have a Heineken. Another Saturday night ruined.
posted by geoff. at 8:32 AM on November 16, 2008 [28 favorites]


mazola, how fitting that Obama's acceptance speech was at INVESCO Field/Mile High Stadium, home of the Denver Broncos' Barrel Man.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:37 AM on November 16, 2008


yeah!, what geoff said...
posted by billybobtoo at 8:41 AM on November 16, 2008


Isn't Sarkozy right wing? Would Bruni really be pro-Obama (probama)? Although the right in France isn't even visible from the shrillest of leftwing American communists...
posted by DU at 8:44 AM on November 16, 2008


I'm reserving judgment on Michelle Obama as a fashion icon until we see more of her style. Oprah dresses simply like a woman who has a blank check to spend on clothes, whereas Jackie Kennedy Onassis clearly had a natural sense of style and knew what was appropriate both for the occasion and her body type.

It's nice that Michelle has given nods to a couple of stores that anyone who hangs out at a suburban mall knows of, but that outfit she wore on election night was pure fugliness. And the outfits she wore on the night Barack accepted the nomination, or recently when she visited the White House weren't exactly anything to write home about either. Let's wait and see what happens when she's First Lady and has designers pretty much throwing clothes at her. If she's able to sort through it all and make choices which befit her status, reflect her personality, give a leg up to some lesser known designers, and in total make an impression like Princess Diana did, then I'll be ready to call her an icon.
posted by fuse theorem at 8:58 AM on November 16, 2008


If you're into this, you have to go to the blog Mrs. O, which has been tracking her outfits since the convention. Today's post has a stunning photo of her from Paris Match.
posted by saffry at 9:10 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


She looked fine! Now if she was wearing too-tight shorts with a tank top, then we might have an issue.
posted by crapmatic at 9:12 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Michelle Obama gives all the grace and style of a Seven Sisters grad who is in their second year of clerkship.

I totally agree -- she's stately, stunning and pure class. Anassa katakalo etc.

But then, I liked her Grant Park dress. Not everyone can get away with big, bold red statements, but she did.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


and in total make an impression like Princess Diana did

Have you seen any 80s-era pictures of Diana lately?! Holy pie crust ruffle blouses and power suits. She may have looked better than her in-laws or a lot of other people did in the 80s (which was by far the worst fashion decade of the 20th century) but that's not saying much. She was an attractive woman with a lot of time and money to spend on clothes and personal care, but I don't know whether she really left her stamp on fashion history the way Jackie O. did.

I'm trying to define fashion icon to myself, and having a difficult time doing so. I think it might mean someone who has a definitive style that is widely copied. Jackie O. qualifies; most of the other women I can think of were simply well-dressed.

And I LIKED that black and red dress Michelle Obama wore on election night.
posted by orange swan at 9:18 AM on November 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


The first Big O was Otis Redding, right? I wouldn't want to try to top Otis. I mean, did you seem him with Booker T and the MGs in Monterey Pop? Yikes!
posted by raysmj at 9:22 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Have you seen any 80s-era pictures of Diana lately?! Holy pie crust ruffle blouses and power suits.

Agreed. Her famous wedding dress looks more like a cake. I think it's her personal glamour that connected with people, and a personal glamour, although it is often found alongside fashionable dress, operates quite separately.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:28 AM on November 16, 2008


the 80s (which was by far the worst fashion decade of the 20th century)

You've seen the 70s, right?
posted by DU at 9:29 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dude, I spent the later part of the seventies running around in a Cindy Brady hairstyle. And I still say they weren't as bad as the eighties.
posted by orange swan at 9:30 AM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


The 70s kicked ass and anyone who says otherwise has bought into the cliches of the decade without actually looking into the history -- it was the only time in history when extravagently experimental clothing design could be worn by men to work. The eighties took out men back into a fashion ghetto were they could only express their individuality by the choice of Warner Brothers cartoon character in their tie.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2008 [11 favorites]


I thought the red and black dress on election night was a signal that she wasn't going to be like any other First Lady, and was in a mood to party and celebrate. After all, the conclusion of the race was pretty obvious.

It was also subtle ribbing of Republicans by appropriating their color as hell froze over, i.e. the young black male beat out the old white guy who's been around for decades.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:35 AM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


I wasnt crazy about that election night dress at all, I thought it was wrong for her figure, but overall she comes off as a very classy and confident woman. It's all good. Icon or not? Doesn't matter.
posted by facetious at 9:41 AM on November 16, 2008


I'm trying to define fashion icon to myself, and having a difficult time doing so. I think it might mean someone who has a definitive style that is widely copied.

Hmm, still thinking about this defintion, and want to tinker with it. I think "fashion icon" means someone who has a definitive, timeless style.

But although I love reading about and looking at images of fashion icons, I don't find much about them to be useful and applicable to my own wardrobe choices. And I'm definitely not one to get a "I must have that specific item" reaction when I see something that works on someone else. I do like that election night dress, but it would suit neither my colouring nor my style and it's probably too expensive for someone with my budget so I just enjoy looking at it on Michelle Obama and leave it at that.

The older I get the less interest I have in mainstream clothing sources and fashion magazines. So little of what I see suits my figure, colouring, personal aesthetic, lifestyle and budget. And I find so much of the fashion merry-go-round stimulates desire for unneccessary stuff (i.e., someone sees a fabulous purse and buys fabulous purse without considering whether they really need it or can afford it or will use it enough to justify the price). I prefer to make decisions based on actual needs, and then look for the best option to satisfy the need.
posted by orange swan at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2008


As someone who knows nothing about fashion really, I thought her election night dress was nice because it looked like it was comfortable and it fit and people in the back back rows at Grant park could see it. Plus she looked happy and relaxed (seemingly a diffcult task I'd think at that stressful time) and confident. I was surprised that people thought it was some sort of gaffe, honestly.
posted by jessamyn at 9:59 AM on November 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Whatever fashion gaffe she might have made election night is more than compensated by her extraordinary good taste in having attended the event with her date, the future President of the United States. No handbag or earring choice can compete with that for a night's accessory.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:07 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I found her election night dress distracting, because it looked to me like she had been doused in blood, Carrie-style. Then again, that's just how I think.
posted by brundlefly at 10:10 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think the election night dress was a good design at all. It had too much stuff going on, with the midsection wrapping and the red fading pattern and the color blocking and the jacket and everything. But she wore it very well, and that is what makes great style. Whatever problems the clothes might have is always outweighed by her sheer awesomeness.
posted by casarkos at 10:39 AM on November 16, 2008


From reading the "Election night faux pas" link, it is clear that the dress looks a LOT better without the cardigan.

I'm a heterosexual male, and even *I* know that.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:41 AM on November 16, 2008


The eighties took out men back into a fashion ghetto...

Maybe it was the conservative area I lived in, but the biggest fashion story I remember from the 80s was pink polo shirts on men. Whose point that supports I'm not sure...
posted by DU at 10:42 AM on November 16, 2008


As long as this makes it okay for designers to create fashionable clothes for women with, oh, I don't know, HIPS, it's all good. I swear. I'm too old for Hot Topic and too young for Clearwater Creek, and I need sexy clothes once in a while that aren't madras Bermuda shorts.

And I say that as a woman who loves madras Bermuda shorts.
posted by droplet at 10:44 AM on November 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Maybe it was the conservative area I lived in, but the biggest fashion story I remember from the 80s was pink polo shirts on men.

Several years ago, I worked at a store that sold these. Trust me when I say that it has not gone away. The only difference is that the younger guys pop the collars.

*shudder*
posted by brundlefly at 10:47 AM on November 16, 2008


But then, I liked her Grant Park dress. Not everyone can get away with big, bold red statements, but she did.

I also thought she rocked that election-night dress. The colors were great on her, but it's her confidence and comfort in her own skin that make what she wears look good. I think people think she is a fashion icon not only because she has good taste but also because things she wears become more interesting once they are on her.
posted by isogloss at 11:07 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The only difference is that the younger guys pop the collars.

A pink popped collar polo shirt is, like the Poison Arrow Frog or the blue-ring octopus, Nature's way of saying "WARNING: TOXIC. DO NOT APPROACH"
posted by The Whelk at 11:13 AM on November 16, 2008 [17 favorites]


You've seen the 70s, right?

WHATEVA'.
posted by gman at 11:14 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Je me souviens.
posted by gman at 11:19 AM on November 16, 2008


I couldn't be more pleased with her fashion sense. She's spot-on perfect for the times, not too flashy except when she needs to be, ambitious and unafraid to try new looks; celebratory of her body; and her clothes never overwhelm her persona, mainly due to the strength of her character. True style in a DC, land of ladies who dress like assistant librarians at a job interview, is gonna be so fucking boss.
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:40 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


PS Just got the bowie reference, 2leftfeet, cute post!
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:41 AM on November 16, 2008


Michelle Obama is a very attractive woman with a good figure-that election night dress did NOT flatter her at all. It made her seem like she had a poochy tummy when she doesn't.

All fashion is is art expressed through clothing. If she has good taste-which would be clothing that makes her look good as she is-that is all she needs. Let's see HER and think SHE looks good, not see her clothing.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2008


no, it's just high school all over again. it the cute girls (read: the well-funded) making fun of the 'lesser' ones while themselves being impervious to how they are being perceived themselves. what's the word again? oh yeah, shallow.

Yes, that. Speaking as one of the cute girls with funds I hope that the last thing on her list of personal goals is to become a fashion icon, as I can't think of anything more useless or vapid. Why people care what others are wearing is beyond me, as long as they're clean and relatively tidy, it should be what they do and say that trumps all. Her 'style' is perfect the way it is right now and I hope she resists all the artificial bullshit that people are going to be forcing on her. She does not need to be made over or improved upon.
posted by zarah at 11:49 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I hope that the last thing on her list of personal goals is to become a fashion icon, as I can't think of anything more useless or vapid.

A black woman being upheld as an international paragon of grace and beauty is anything but useless and vapid.
posted by mightygodking at 11:59 AM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not to put down Jackie O., in whom there is much to admire, but she's an unfair standard to apply to someone whose "natural" sense of style was not forged in the environment of wealth and privilege within which fashion and demeanor are one's main priorities.
posted by troybob at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't get the pooh-poohing from the peanut gallery here; if you're not interested in fashion, what are you doing in this thread?

A black woman being upheld as an international paragon of grace and beauty is anything but useless and vapid.

Uh, what I think is being criticized here (and if not, consider it done) is the notion that it's okay to prioritize appearance. Is it good for Michelle Obama to play the game and "win" - not if it sends the message to young women that this is The Game by which they will be judged.
posted by phrontist at 12:11 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll take Eleanor Roosevelt over Jackie Kennedy any day. I didn't particularly like the Grant Park dress, but who cares? Let's see what our next First Lady does while she's in the spotlight, regardless of what she's wearing. Besides, if I like something it usually means it's irredeemably stodgy.
posted by Quietgal at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2008


I think she looked very good in Grant Park, even if obviously the dress has not been designed to be worn with a cardigan like she did, and yes she threw the different volumes out of whack by doing so (she probably thought it'd look to risque, bare arms and all, silly as this sounds: I think she made a wise choice not to look too aggressive).

but then she's a very very tall, slender woman with awesome posture, very striking: she has a natural elegance about her -- most stuff would look really good on her, anyway, even J. Crew as mentioned above, she won the DNA lottery and that's stuff you can't buy at Nieman.

to all the naysayers who now complain about "shallowness", well, I don't remember you guys whining when Obama in the course of the campaign looked cool as shit on TV and in photos, like the black JFK, handsome in his dark slim suits and ready to lead, basketball player and swimmer, unlike the cranky old guy with the broken shoulders and the wonky uneven smile due to his cheeks being deformed by cancer.

it's the TV/Internet age, face it. and your candidate milked TV, and style, and looks, for all they're worth to his advantage. complaining that the First Lady is being treated in a shallow manner now? pretty weak.
posted by matteo at 12:15 PM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just looked away when I saw the cardigan. All is forgiven. All is forgiven.
posted by scottMontgomery at 12:21 PM on November 16, 2008


Can you match the first lady with her inaugural gown?
posted by gman at 12:29 PM on November 16, 2008


if you're not interested in fashion, what are you doing in this thread?

you came into my backyard. so what you live on the same block, if you're waking me up on a sunday morning, you'll have to deal with the cold water.

black woman being upheld as an international paragon of grace and beauty
that's not the cause of this hubbub at all. OP opined that making the cover of vogue was history in the making. "making the cover of x" is only historic if you work in said magazines marketing department. furthermore: suggesting that no black women has thus far been looked at as attractive is racist and ignorant of you.
posted by krautland at 12:34 PM on November 16, 2008


USA has a foxy first lady take that everyone but France.
posted by I Foody at 1:11 PM on November 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I got one wrong. They all looked too frumpy for Jackie O.
posted by orange swan at 1:24 PM on November 16, 2008


'And Michelle is filling out this flashy little number with a law degree from Harvard and a vice presidency with the University of Chicago Hospitals . I bet those will be hot in 2009.'
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:40 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


USA has a foxy first lady take that everyone but France.

You might want to do a little more research on First Ladies of the World before you commit that one to the ages.

As for the 'Eighties were the decade that style forgot' crap I'll point out that people said that about the Seventies in the Eighties and Nineties. Eighties styles will rise again as have the once loved then derided styles of previous decades.
posted by i_cola at 2:05 PM on November 16, 2008


Michelle Obama is a beautiful woman and looks great in anything she chooses to wear (as does her husband, actually) but really, can we stop acting like it is so important a part of the *job* (okay, "role") to dress like a model?
posted by Morrigan at 2:39 PM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Michelle Obama is a beautiful woman and looks great in anything she chooses to wear (as does her husband, actually) but really, can we stop acting like it is so important a part of the *job* (okay, "role") to dress like a model?
I wasn't personally wild about the red and black dress on Election Night though the criticism of it seems over the top. And she looks fantastic in purple.
posted by etaoin at 3:05 PM on November 16, 2008


I'm just waiting for her debut on gofugyourself.
posted by VicNebulous at 3:05 PM on November 16, 2008


Wouldn't it be cool if the First Wives had a parallel summit along with the G-20 nations where they set a unified fashion direction to counter the global financial crisis?

Yeah, that would be cool.
posted by mazola at 3:14 PM on November 16, 2008


As for the 'Eighties were the decade that style forgot' crap I'll point out that people said that about the Seventies in the Eighties and Nineties. Eighties styles will rise again as have the once loved then derided styles of previous decades.

I think if they were going to start looking good they would have by now. The nostalgia/fashion redemption cycle is about 20 years long. In the nineties, there was a definite retro seventies vibe when wide legged pants and platforms and ABBA came back. It's the ones now, and the eighties should be in right now. I did see a return to primmer, neater tailoring in the early years of this decade which mirrored the early eighties, but otherwise, I don't see an eighties influence.
posted by orange swan at 3:20 PM on November 16, 2008


orange swan, I'm seeing some. Legwarmers are for sale again, and I'm seeing off-the-shoulder faux-torn tops. I'm also seeing lots of high side ponytails on women, but then, I am talking about Boston's North Shore.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:40 PM on November 16, 2008


but otherwise, I don't see an eighties influence

You clearly do not live in Brooklyn. I will say though it seems to be more of an early hip-hop look that is being revived, with some new wave, than acidwashed pastel hideousness.
posted by dame at 3:47 PM on November 16, 2008


Ah yes, legwarmers. I'd forgotten those were back.

I don't know that this really invalidates my viewpoint. The clothes on the seventies' TV shows/movies still look better than those on eighties' shows/movies.
posted by orange swan at 4:00 PM on November 16, 2008


But although I love reading about and looking at images of fashion icons, I don't find much about them to be useful and applicable to my own wardrobe choices. And I'm definitely not one to get a "I must have that specific item" reaction when I see something that works on someone else.

orange swan, I always assumed you wore a dress made out of neckties with a hat made out of leather belts and shoes lovingly constructed from wire coathangers. This is not the case?
posted by Ritchie at 5:55 PM on November 16, 2008


Quit ogling the first lady

But, but ... Mami got back, yo!

Damn!
posted by bwg at 6:01 PM on November 16, 2008


As long as halfway through the term she doesn't Emancipate her Mimi, she'll do just fine.
posted by troybob at 6:03 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


You clearly do not live in Brooklyn. I will say though it seems to be more of an early hip-hop look that is being revived, with some new wave, than acidwashed pastel hideousness.


It's really more that some of the cooler, fringer elements of 80s design and fashion are now Totally Hip In Retrospect. It's gotten mixed in with late 70s and new wave and become this new mutant fashion that's not really any one time. Which is great, I love it when that happens.

In terms of retro, people around here and more likely to go 60s (girls) or 70s (guys) than 80s. The outliners go even further, 50s, 40s, ect. There is more than a few New Romantic-Professional Goths.

But no one is rockin' the Mall Look. Ever. Thank god.
posted by The Whelk at 6:03 PM on November 16, 2008


The other day I heard someone refer to her as 'Blackie O.' Sigh.
posted by lullaby at 6:37 PM on November 16, 2008


Love Michelle, love her clothes, can't to see what she's going to wear next.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:36 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


LEAVE MICHELLE ALOOOOOOOONE!

Y'all who are hating on Michelle's election night dress don't get that they were ALL color coordinated. Malia was read, Sasha black, Big B's tie had black and red in it and her loveliness rocked it in her dress.

Go hate on Sarak "40k on briefs for The Dude" Palin and leave Michell alone.

:)
posted by liza at 9:28 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


but otherwise, I don't see an eighties influence
Every single fashion outlet aiming at females aged 12-35 in Australia seems to be re-living the eighties. And it is all awful.

(I am more a 1950s girl myself. Though YSL circa 1970s is not bad either)
posted by Megami at 9:38 PM on November 16, 2008


Yeah.. the key thing about her (and about other style icons; Jackie O, Lady Di (not Princess Di; was never ever ever entitled to that formulation), Brigitte Bardot, etc etc) is that she wears the clothes, and not the other way around.

What's sad is that the position of First Lady is essentially a throwback to standards of 'proper' behaviour by upper-class women from the 20's; have your charities and parties, dear, and don't disturb then menfolk over in the West Wing. I have a sneaking suspicion that Michelle is going to upend that in slow and subtle ways. Hillary tried as well, of course, but subtle isn't exactly her strong suit in many ways.

Being First Lady is much like being a Princess, I imagine. You're essentially a figurehead, but you're in a position where you can do a lot of good just by showing up. I'm willing to bet that Michelle will do all the things she's expected to do, and quietly turn the office into a venue for substantive but uncontroversial change.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:40 PM on November 16, 2008


"I am more like a state prisoner than anything else," she wrote, "there is certain bounds set for me which I must not depart from—and as I can not doe as I like I am obstinate and stay at home a great deal."

- Mrs. Washington.


I think Abigale Smith also used the term " First Prisoner" in regards to that odd aristocratic curlicue that is being First Lady.
posted by The Whelk at 10:50 PM on November 16, 2008


Why should I care what other people wear?
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:15 AM on November 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Dear Michelle,

Ignore them. Dare to be a frumpy mom every now and then.

Oh... and stop wearing dresses that make you look like a black widow. Some people out there are afraid of spiders, and that's not what you're going for. Think natural fabrics.
posted by markkraft at 1:21 AM on November 17, 2008


orange swan, I always assumed you wore a dress made out of neckties with a hat made out of leather belts and shoes lovingly constructed from wire coathangers. This is not the case?

I don't always wear that, but when I do you can bet I look divine.
posted by orange swan at 3:48 AM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


One thing that I hope to see now is a more level playing field for black models, for one thing. I also appreciate the fact that Michelle Obama seems to have an attractive, healthy body weight which may become more of a goal for young women, as opposed to some of the more unobtainable celebrity standards.

Yes, it's tiresome that so much attention is focused on things like her physical beauty and what she wears, but, realistically, it's not a spotlight that she can escape, and she has the brains to perhaps turn some of that focus towards positive messages.

btw, I think this Leibovitz photo of her (from the link in saffry's comment) is just breathtaking. If more fashion photos were like this, I'd probably buy more fashion magazines.
posted by taz at 4:18 AM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


A black woman being upheld as an international paragon of grace and beauty is anything but useless and vapid.

Halle Berry, Lena Horne, Grace Jones, Naomi Campbell., Sade. Just off the top of my head, those are a few black women who have been lauded, internationally, as great beauties and style icons. It's not like Michelle would be a ground breaking first.

Yes, the fashion industry still puts white models first, but in the real world the beauty standard isn't lily white the way it was in the old days. I don't know anyone, male or female, who doesn't routinely find women of colour to be all kinds of gorgeous.

Michelle Obama is a naturally good looking woman, who is made even more attractive by her strength and intelligence. She's already a style icon, without trying, and it would be a waste of her time and talent to make her try harder. Not to mention that putting her in $2000 designer suits while so many Americans are losing their homes and retirement funds could be a really dumb move. The fact that she looks so good already, shopping for herself at moderately priced stores, that makes her really easy to like.

Let the fashion industry rot, even putting forth a black woman as a style icon still keeps us touting outer beauty as a character trait, as a type of power, and as a form of self worth, and that's just fucked up.
posted by zarah at 11:12 AM on November 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


re: black cardigan

I was at Grant Park that night, and while it was a beautiful day, it was a cool evening. Too cold for bare arms. I don't know anything about fashion, but I do know about dressing for chicago weather.
posted by garlic at 11:35 AM on November 17, 2008


btw, I think this Leibovitz photo of her (from the link in saffry's comment) is just breathtaking. If more fashion photos were like this, I'd probably buy more fashion magazines.

That's because Leibovitz can take interesting photos of dirt. She's incredible.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2008


still keeps us touting outer beauty as a character trait, as a type of power, and as a form of self worth

Eh, no more than intelligence, another form of DNA Lottery. I see nothing wrong with appreciating genetically gifted people (like appreciating a beautiful landscape), as long as it doesn't cross over into hateful treatment of those not so gifted. The fashion industry as a whole is mixed in this respect -- some do appropriately focus on the positive, some are much more about undercutting self esteem. But the whole concept is not bad.
posted by wildcrdj at 3:14 PM on November 17, 2008


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