Thursday, February 10, 2011

First Lady of Fashion, cont...

"This is my philosophy. I hope that women learn to wear what they love ... like to patronize American designers, and the vast majority of the clothes that I wear are. But there are a lot of other designers that have cute stuff, too." So says Michelle Obama in regards to her Alexander McQueen dress controversy (see previous post "First Lady of Fashion").

So what did she wear when making the morning TV talk show rounds on Wednesday? Why, H&M! Apparently, the dress retails for about $35. And this is not the first time she's worn the budget-friendly brand. A deliberate statement? Maybe. Either way, she looked great! And good for her for mixing up those accessories. Fab neon shoes!

I love the liberties she takes with her personal style. Clearly, she does not take fashion or what she wears so seriously -- she has fun with it. I can't wait to read Everyday Icon, a book on this subject by fashion writer (and former Bazaar EIC) Kate Betts.

Betts responded to the State Dinner dress ado in a January 28th New York Times op-ed piece and it was spot on, in my opinion.

Highlights: "Michelle Obama’s impact on fashion extends far beyond the “made in America” label stitched into her dress. The optimism, glamour and accessibility that she communicates through her style of dressing transcends cultural borders and economic boundaries. Yes, she is sometimes an ambassador for American designers, but more important, she is an ambassador for the self-possession that defines American style.

Maybe she chose not to promote a specific American brand at the state dinner last week, but she certainly promotes a healthy sense of enjoyment and individuality in fashion. With her brio and idiosyncratic clothing choices, Mrs. Obama has rewritten the dress code for women who work. We wear cardigans now instead of always jackets, flats instead of impossibly high platform heels. We have a little fun with fashion, even to the point of being more frivolous.

And, most important, we dress for ourselves, something the first lady does so effortlessly it’s hard to imagine that there had ever been any dress code for her position. With her floral prints and hula hoops, she’s not afraid to flaunt her femininity — so why should the rest of us be?"


  1. I’m so happy you wrote about this today! I do love the light she is shining on fashion and accessibility to all levels of income and she has definitely contributed to the shift in workplace attire – which I’m grateful for that contribution. I do feel there are a few “sacred cows” and State Dinners being one, oh, and you don’t go to Buckingham Palace on an official State trip in a cardigan.

  2. Those shoes! I had this on yesterday when getting ready and I kept running back over to the TV! What an ensemble of colors!