Oh what a day yesterday! I think as a nation we were all inspired, uplifted and filled with hope and pride to see President Obama sworn in. And what a speech!! A tear jerker for sure. I savored and loved every moment of it. In this historic moment, President Obama was poised, commanding, passionate, forceful in his delivery and absolutely Presidential in his first address to the world as President. He is the right man for this time in the nation and the world. His themes of unity, accountability, transparency, inclusion, optimism, change and rebirth all ring true loud and clear at this particular juncture in our nation’s history. We all need to hear and believe in those messages. We all have our unique role to play in changing the game and turning this Great Nation around. And ‘yes we can’, with his leadership, I sincerely believe. Sure it will be extremely difficult and challenging. Sure we all need to be patient as all the many kinks in the system and the structure of this government are slowly but surely righted. The road will be long and winding but what I believe for sure is that with President Obama at the helm, we will eventually succeed.
So to the business of this blog—image and fashion. What did I think of Mrs Obama’s inaugural outfits? I’ll put it this way– if I were dressing her for these events I would have done things quite differently. For the swearing in she had to be warm and comfortable for a long day in frigid temps and I think with Isabel Toledo’s ensemble she achieved that. I also loved that she was very understated in color and silhouette—after all this was her husband’s time to shine not hers. She had the bling near her neckline which I liked because it drew the eye to her face. I liked the green gloves and shoes. The understated lemon yellow color of her coat, cardigan and dress was cheerful enough to convey the optimism mantra of her husband’s long campaign ("That color has sunshine in it," she said to the designer) yet an unconventional color choice which proves again she is unafraid to take risks. She looked statuesque, regal, and like the new First Lady.
What I wished she’d done differently if I dressed her? Essentially chosen a different silhouette—one that complimented her curvaceous hips but did not exaggerate them. A silhouette that balanced her body and proportions instead of one that followed the exact line of it. A design that cinched in her waist to give her more of an hourglass look than that of a triangle. And I would have stayed with the cheerful color sensibility but chosen a hue that was ‘cheerful’ whether it was shown on TV or in print, from close up or far away. The lemon yellow on TV erred on the drab side, sequins and all. And as for the sequins inlayed into the fabric—I was not too crazy about that. But I get it—it added a touch of regal air to the outfit. I would have just executed that sense differently.
So in all, the outfit would not have been my pick for her for that occasion but I thought she wore it well. Mrs Obama is so graceful, ladylike and commanding it truly takes a lot for her to make a major fashion faux pas.
As for her ball gown, a white chiffon one-shoulder embellished gown by Jason Wu, that choice also surprised me. But she looks soft, romantic, fresh and so lovely in it, who am I to critique? She is radiant and glowing (after an incredibly LONG day at that!) and that’s all it takes for a woman to look beautiful.
Was it a dramatic choice, no? Was it fabulous? Probably not. Those who saw the gown up close were able to appreciate the amazing detail and craftsmanship that went into it (ruched bodice, fluffy appliqués and sparkling beading with swarovski crystal) and would be wowed by it. On TV and in print, we lose that detail so it looks plainer. The train was a little too long (The President even stepped on it at one of the dances) and the one shoulder strap a little heavy. But seeing her dance with the President in that dress she looks like a new bride—and how fitting is that comparison? It is a new beginning on so many levels, isn’t it?
Michelle, you pulled it off as usual, in your way and on your own terms. Kudos for bringing obscure designers to the limelight, for walking the talk about revitalizing American talent. I applaud you for your choices and your daring and can’t wait to see how your fashion sensibilities evolve in the coming years.
© Natalie Jobity, Élan Image Management