Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dressing for the New Camelot

As Inauguration Day, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along, it's nice to see the news media doing some objective reporting on important topics:

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.


Fabiola said...

Hi, Erin,

This is a bit off topic, but I was wondering if you could write a post evaluating the Bush administration.

I guess it would be rather hard to do such a thing, but I, honestly don't know what to think of him. The world press clearly hates him and I think they have managed to turn everybody against him... which leaves me wondering (as the press only supports guys such as Obama, ugh).

Anyways, thanks if you can do this and I will keep reading your interesting blog.

God bless,


Anonymous said...

Ms. Obama's public appearance seems to be refreshingly bright, and cheery. It might be nice for the masses to see her in re-accessorized togs at some events of officialdom. (Heaven's, didn't she just wear that item of clothing last week?) The inauguration outfit was clearly 'one-time use' apparel or at least something that might end up in a museum display! On the other hand, it's a good thing those long, white kid gloves have gone out of style for all those animal-rights advocates among us.

As to the idea of a 'take' on Mr. Bush's eight years...well, one must come to their own conclusions, and not always wait to depend on the media for a 'sanctioned' opinion, for it robs one of personal evidence of the goodness of a person, to allow the cloud of publicly perceived persona to hide one's own interpretation of carrying out the duties of public office. After all, Mr. Bush was the president of all these United States (grrr!).

eulogos said...

Her gown was white but it sure didn't look like Jackie's! It really didn't make her look her best, sort of made her look thick in the middle. And the one shoulder strap was too square, sort of like a towel thrown over the shoulder at a funny angle.
I did like the yellow outfit.

But here we are talking about dresses when Obama is planning to celebrate the anniversary of Roe v Wade by repealing the Mexico city ruling which prohibited US Family Planning funds overseas to be used to pay for abortions. It didn't prohibit them from being used for the pill or IUD's, of course. But now we will pay to kill older, better developed babies.

LIke Jackie, huh? Jackie only had two children that lived, but she had several other pregnancies. Had Kennedy lived, they might yet have had more children. Despite her great fashion sense, Jackie was willing to bear children. And that was before the Democrats were the party of death.

Yellow dress, white gown, who cares?
Susan Peterson

Hélène said...

Although I haven't been a fan of Bush, I liked reading this perspective on him. Fabiola, you might like it as well.


As for M.O.'s attire, I think she has the potential to be a very well dressed lady, but both her choice of dress election night and for the inaugural ball leave much to be desired. In my opinion, which obviously doesn't count for much, tonight's dress was flat out ugly. Also, it is just me, or does she almost always look grumpy?

Rebecca said...

I always take my cues from the MSM as to what I should think about someone. I haven't been able to really keep up on what Bush did or didn't do, or what he wore while he was or wasn't doing it, but my guess, guaging from popular opinion, and the fact that every other vehicle and store window in the Bay area where I live has an "Impeach" sticker on it, is that he is probably a pretty solid character. That's just a guess though. I too would like to hear some kind of synopsis of his time in service from Red, though I know that's a pretty tall order.

Mrs. Obama looks like a pretty lady but I thought the yellow thing made her look like a big square paint sample. I'm sure the poor woman didn't pick it out for herself.

Sally said...

There is always something 'off' about Michelle's style to me. The yellow dress/coat outfit was too sparkly and fru-fru. Between the sweater, the scarft, the bow, and the necklace she always looked like she was falling apart. It was COLD and she was outdoors, it wouldn't have changed things too much if the coat had a proper closing. And during the lunch, the cardigan made the whole outfit look frumpy.
Then the evening gown was made of a fabric that looked more like a little girl's Easter dress than a grown woman's gown. The strap was too wide--the towel description is perfect. It seems sparkly yellow silk with a diamonte necklace would have been better for evening, and something a tad more conservative for the Inaugural.