OK, let's talk about Michelle Obama's Inauguration Day outfit
Jan 20, 2009
Now that the swearing-in Inaugural ceremony is over, on to more important things. Let's talk about Michelle Obama's Inauguration Day outfit.
It's a glittery yellow sheath dress and accompanying knee-length coat specially made for the First Lady. The shoes are emerald-colored kitten heels. The look is finished off with a pair of olive leather gloves.
Colors First impressions: The spring-like color palatte of yellow and green she has going on is fantastically in tune with her husband's campaign message of hope and change. It's bright, fresh, and most definitely symbolic of a new beginning.
Brands Considering the brands that she chose to wear, the First Lady has negotiated that fine line between being down-to-earth and aspiratonal. It's an outfit that's at once relatable (most middle-class women own something from J Crew), carries just a touch of glamour appropriate to the festivities (Jimmy Choos), but still shows an independent edge (Isabel Toledo, an independent Cuban-American designer who's little-known beyond fashionistas and hipsters).
Cost According to the Kansas City Star, the dress and coat costs around $1,500. Adding in the shoes and the gloves, we can estimate the total cost of this outfit to be around $2,000. While this is pricey, it's not un-affordable for most American women who want to splurge. Again, the comfortable price range straddles that fine line between being relatable and aspirational. It's expensive, but not too much (hint, hint, Sarah Palin).
No more Oscar de la Renta What also sends a message is what Mrs. Obama is not wearing; namely traditional fashion heavyweights like Oscar de la Renta, who has outfitted many a First Lady (such as Laura Bush) before. I like how the outfit is centered around Isabel Toledo's creations, which spotlights a niche designer who has a fantastic way of pairing coarse and delicate fabrics.
One little critique One little thing that bothers me about the outfit: The olive gloves with the emerald heels are two shades of the same color. Not to sound like a whiny style commentator on E!, but I'd style the olive gloves to be a totally different color, not one that sorta-kinda matches the emerald shoes. Maybe black gloves, or some sort of neutral color. The olive just looks so drab compared to the bright emerald green.
A new precedent for Power Couple-dressing But overall, it's an exciting outfit — and sets a purposeful, distinct contrast to the President's outfit. Instead of going all matchy-matchy as a couple (which would be the obvious thing to do), they instead chose outfits that contrasted each other's. He's all decked out in black with a conservative, regal red tie, while she's an unpretentious breath of citrus-y fresh air. They must have coordinated this in advance, and as counter-intuitive as contrast-dressing may have seemed, they look great together. More importantly, they look modern and current.
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About the reviewer
I'm a curious foodie, a devout fashion gawker, and an unrepentant print nerd. I work at one of the last mainstream commercial magazines that's still printing. Other things … more
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