LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Michelle Obama, hailed by many (Emphasis added--E.M.) as America's new style icon, officially took her place on the world stage on Tuesday wearing an outfit in the nontraditional color of yellow and set fashionistas atwitter.
The new U.S. first lady, 45, chose a sparkling sheath dress and matching coat in a yellow-gold hue by Cuban-born American designer Isabel Toledo for the presidential swearing-in ceremony. She matched it with a wide diamante necklace.
What she will wear to the formal inaugural ball later on Tuesday remained a tightly held secret. But her choice is expected to provide clues to her future balancing act as glamorous first lady in a time of deep recession.
Michelle Obama, a former lawyer, has been credited with bringing a chic, youthful style to U.S. politics and for mixing comfortable chain store garments from the likes of Gap and J. Crew with edgier new designers like Chicago's Mario Pinto and Narciso Rodriguez.
Initially seen as slightly aloof, she won hearts in June by wearing an affordable $148 black and white off-the-rack dress for an appearance on the popular female TV chat show "The View." It sold out nationwide overnight.
First off, there's that "many" again. Is it the same "many" who expected Barack Obama's words to be chiseled in marble? Do any of the "many" not work for the news media? Inquiring minds want to know.
Second, I'm not sure how "affordable" a $148 dollar dress is these days here in Flyover Country. I'm guessing that the wives of unemployed or soon to be unemployed auto workers would find that price tag a little steep. But then, I'm a frugal clothes shopper, and just bought a three-piece "wardrober" for a little more than one-tenth of that price (okay, with shipping the amount came to just over $22)--so I'm probably not the best judge.
Third--"slightly aloof?" Well, okay, the way that Chris Matthews is "slightly infatuated" with our new Pres. 'Cause, you know, electric thrills up the leg are totally normal for a reporter to experience in the presence of a politician.
Of course, some of us who have been doing the "Kennedy comparisons watch" have already noticed how many of Michelle Obama's outfits have been inspired by a former first lady's gowns and dresses. So let's have a look at some pictures:
A yellow dress worn by Jackie Kennedy:
And a coat in yellow:
So I'm going to go way out on a limb, here, and predict that Michelle Obama's super-secret Inaugural Ball gown is going to look rather like something Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once wore. Michelle could choose to copy Jackie's Oleg Cassini-designed ivory Inaugural Ball gown, or she could go with Cassini's celadon silk gown that looked rather Grecian, or a copy of a pink Cassini gown, or even something like the Joan Morse dress (all of which are here).
After all, when you're reinventing Camelot, you've already got the costumes in mind.