Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Thank you, Michelle!
Surely enough has been said in the press about Michelle Obama's style. We know more than we need to about her use of unknown designers and small design houses, ... and J Crew. We've seen national and international news anchors going on endlessly about how good she looks and how she's the new Jackie O. We even know that she went toe to toe (Manolo a Manolo) with Carla Bruni and at worst came away with a tie, but it seems to me that in all the babble the important thing has gotten lost.
Michelle Obama is one of us. She has hips! She's built like a real woman and her clothing choices may help free the rest of us from the limits that haut couture [and its less expensive copycats] have placed on us for the past ten years. In other words.... maybe now we can buy clothes that fit and that [drumroll here, please] actually flatter a real woman's body.
With the generational change that has happened in the White House, we have gotten a First Lady who works out - look at those arms! To die for! and who is in good shape, but who is not a size two. Nancy Reagan wore lovely clothes, but she was a size two, as well as a grandmother with the budget to buy Hollywood glamor. She always looked lovely, but never wore anything that a working woman could consider. [Well, maybe that one-shouldered red evening dress, but it's overkill for my office at LSE.]
Hillary Rodham Clinton was a real - working - woman with a real middle aged woman's body, but she tried to hide it in pants suits that just didn't work for her. She probably needed a younger, more hip designer, but you have to give her a little credit for trying. I've tried the pants suit solution, and it doesn't work for me, either - I'm too short and have too much hip to look really good.
Laura Bush had the same problem. She always looked frumpy. I never heard much about her designers, and maybe she didn't really care, but like so many First Ladies there was nothing to emulate.
But now here comes Michelle wearing separates and dresses with pleated skirts, gathered skirts, and even fitted skirts that show her curves. Did you hear the pregnancy rumor that was caused by folks-in-the-know who thought they saw a "baby bump" on election night? That bump is called a "belly" on the rest of us. We all have it; it's pretty round on some of us.
My hope is that with Michelle leading the way we will see skirts that are fuller, more mix and match separates, little jackets and sweaters that can go from day until night and from everyday to fancy. In other words... clothes that all of us can wear. Who am I kidding? Clothes that I can wear!
I'm not too wild about this sweater - probably because it's too busy for me - but give me that fitted sweater and full skirt over Mrs. Brown's too tight suit any day. I can hardly wait to do a little shopping this spring. I think it may be more fun than in years! And, Michelle. You go girl!