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Michelle Obama's inauguration wardrobe reviewed

Michelle_obama_inauguration wardrobe

Just as President Barack Obama turned the page on American history Tuesday in Washington, First Lady Michelle Obama is turning the page on American design. The lemon-grass wool lace ensemble she chose for the swearing-in ceremony wasn’t designed by one of the aging custodians of the 7th Avenue Establishment Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan or Calvin Klein. It was by Isabel Toledo, a Cuban American whom nobody knows but everyone should.

By wearing clothes by up-and-coming designers such as Narciso Rodriguez, Thakoon Panichgul, Maria Pinto, Maria Cornejo and Toledo, Obama is helping to promote a new generation of talent, and write the next chapter in American fashion.

Toledo, who sells at Barneys New York, has been designing under her own name for 20 years in New York, and was briefly the creative director for Anne Klein. (Bet they wish they'd hung onto her now!) She is married to fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo. “She’s never been about making clothes to make herself famous,” says Rosemary Brantley, founding chairwoman of the Fashion Department at L.A.’s Otis School of Art and Design, where Toledo has been teaching since the 1990s. “She’s about flattering the figure and she’s curvaceous herself. Everything she does is thoughtful. She would never bang out a dress with a normal side seam. One of her things is rethinking construction.”

With its retro “Mad Men” silhouette and trendy yellow hue, the dress and coat proved that Obama can strike a balance between being conservative and taking risks. She looks better wearing one color, rather than breaking up her tall frame as she did on election night with the black-and-red Rodriguez dress.

Some might think that the inauguration ensemble was a tad dressy with its beaded collar. But Obama likes to dress up, and she’s determined to play her part in promoting fashion as fantasy. She may also have raised a few eyebrows with the borrowed $17,000 Loree Rodkin diamond chandelier drop earrings she wore to the “We Are One” concert over the weekend. After all, Nancy Reagan was skewered for borrowing clothes from Bill Blass, James Galanos and others. But that was before the red carpet became the runway, and lending became a key form of advertising for designers.

Besides, Obama knows how to do the high-low thing, too. She wore J. Crew for the Kid’s Inaugural Ball on Monday night. And just hours after the inauguration, the e-mails were already flooding in from Dress Barn, Bluefly and other  retailers about how to get the look for less.

Because fashion is a business and Michelle Obama means business.

-- Booth Moore

Related:

Photos: First ladies' inauguration gowns

Should Michelle Obama borrow clothes and jewels like a celeb? Nancy Reagan couldn't.

Michelle Obama chose Jimmy Choo’s green 'Glacier' pump for Inauguration Day ensemble

Michelle Obama Chooses Jason Wu for Inaugural Balls

Aretha Franklin's inaugural hat trick
 

Photo: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama escort former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, to a helicopter at the U.S. Capitol after Obama's inauguration. Credit: Tannen Maury / Bloomberg News

 
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It looks like Linda Blair threw up all over Michelle's dress. Yuk.

Not a great choice for her, IMO. The color and cut screamed frumpy.

I thought she would have worn a suit..maybe like the eggplant like color to match President Ombama's scarf. Plus it could have been a little warmer for her. I really did not like that green get up she had.

michelle is a walmart mom, just like sarah palin. Can't get past that fact.

This is a great day! Everyone was beautiful and full of hope.

Some say frumpy. But remember, the temperature was and still is below freezing. She had to wear something thick and bulky to stay warm. The fact that she showed ANY leg or neck at all was sacrifice.

I thought and still think

Michelle looked ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL today.
She looked warm, comfortable, graceful, youthful, stylish, and elegant. All on a freezing cold day with the eyes of the world upon her.

I don't understand what satisfaction there is in trying to disparage such an amazing woman.

She looks elegant, and the gold must relect the warmth that she must be feeling in her heart today.

Tackiest dress ever worn to an historic event she seems like a nice lady, just a nice lady with no taste.

Ok. Dress isn't that great. She'll get better with time . They are regular people with more important things in mind than fashion. I'm sure she doesn't sit around reading Vogue and In-Style.

I can't believe you all are looking at the same outfit I did. I loved her choice! I thought she looked beautiful. I thought the outfit was beautifully tailored, and got more interesting the more you watched her move. It truly was a very special dress for a very special day and I thought Michele looked absolutely lovely in that color. One of my favorite outfits of hers so far.

One of the very few ways in which race really makes a difference is what colors of clothing you look good in.

Michelle Obama looked *good* in that dress, although no white or pale-skinned woman would have.

It's still impressive, though, to see the amount of attention that is paid to women's clothing rather than to their acts and deeds. If we were inaugurating Hillary Clinton today, would we be talking about Bill's suits?

I think even though she must have been wearing a bullet proof vest under all of the clothes she still looked beautiful.

She walks like a man and the dress was just too screamng loud for the occasion - Look at Mrs Bush - pure class....
All has to do with taste........

She looked like she was going to a wedding! Totally inappropriate for the wife of the most powerful man in the free world. Hope she get better style advice as time goes on.

I was hoping she would wear a more brilliant color, say blue, like Malia. Her coloring is so wonderful for vibrant colors like this. I like her and usually like what she wears. Oh well. This is just the beginning, right?

Michelle Smith: You can't help but remind me of a scene in Hairspray, where Edna just bought the beautiful red dress and the scheming Velma said "Well, you'll stop traffic!"

I thought the outfit looked great on her and was totally appropriate for the occasion. Good look, good colors, nice shoes and gloves.

It was a little windy for her chosen hairstyle though.

I thought Michelle looked beautiful and poised as usual, but the jacket and dress did give her a slight appearance of pregnancy?

I saw those curtains at Goodwill last week.

Is she proud of her country yet?

I think the color is terrible! :(

Be serious ... this is NOT a great choice ... not flattering to her figure, not the right color and lace for an ourdoor winter event? Puleeze. This is a flop ...

"Bob " and Michelle Smith- looks like you need a new personality!

HER outfit is lovely and reminds one of COCO- and a tall woman can carry that layer- traditional look. A light chartruse- a hand adorned top coat with chiffon tie and lovely green leather gloves. If you do not like what she wore- then you must be perfect- hahaha-
To utter one neg today- you are a traitor and not worthy of a comment!I design the clothing line PRYZM and she can wear any color but muted yellows and look lovely. Want to know ugly? The hearts of Cheney and Bush- Laura wore gray to make her invisible -however made Aretha look like a QUEEN! Say wonderful things or shut your mouth!
REAL AMERICAN'S are going to be positive to support USA!
over 50 and White- happy to welcome the Obama family and they can be in a sweatsuit -just glad you are here now!

The dress was disappointing and looked like a brocade tablecloth. The beaded neck was too flashy for daytime and the green accessories were tacky. She looked beautiful at the We Are One concert.

why are people writing such STUPIDNESS, cant "Lady Obama" (i call her lady because she is just that) just wear the dress because SHE likes it. Who are we to give our opionions that are so shy of expert. I would love to see what is in the closets of the insultees. Honestly, only a DUNCE speaks of others poorly, did you know that qualifiefies as poor sport and bad manners not to mention a jealous critical spirit. Find something good to talk about, she looked AMAZING, and I am in the fashion buisness and I say that, where do you guys lend your expert opions from? working in an office shuving paper and playing with computer keys?

First Lady Obama looked regal, poised,stunning, and not afraid to take a chance. It was not just the dress, but let us not overlook the confidence in which she carries herself and projects to young women as a role model. People keep talking about her being a woman of color, and I don't wish to diminish this, but she was/is a beautiful and intelligent person regardless of labels, which I was proud to have represent our country today.

It was ugly fabric, out of season in color and poorly fitting, The gloves and shoes didn't match anything - even each other. It was bad......

Her outfit reminded me of something a much older women might wear to a wedding-boring.

just tacky, she could have done better in her choice

great outfit great color, the gloves were a beautiful touch!!

Hope she improves with time. People make fun of Laura Bush, but she is a classy, classy lady.

Absolutely gorgeous! The colour choice was wonderful on her, and very fashion-forward as yellow is very in. The fabric - wool lace - was both lovely and sensible. While others shivered in their bulky coats, Michelle was warm and poised.
She looked youthful, elegant, and very First Lady. :)

All I can say is PHHHHHHHHHT! Look, Bush is done, gone, finished. Laura Bush looked lovely, and Michelle Obama looked FANTASTIC. Anybody who thinks otherwise, needs to get a life, she's going to be around for 8 years, so learn to love her, and her Beautiful Daughters. Leave this beautiful Family alone.

Perhaps the color was controversial as people aren't used to vibrant colors in these occasions, however, I do think she looked great. After all she was attending a festive event not a burial.

Look at Laura Bush, the gray was so grim, not sure how grim gray equates "classy." But then again, Laura was not attending a festive event. I bet she wanted to be anywhere else but there, to see people call for her husband's arrest, to see and hear people's relief that her failed husband was leaving.

We can talk fashion all we want, but when do we take responsibility as citizens and do something helpful for this country rather than bicker about what people are wearing, isn't that what the Hollywood crowd is for?

Really...such ado over a silly dress. I never will understand our obsession over such things, but I was hoping to get a little more insight from the article. Instead, I'm as frustrated about it as ever.

She was beautiful. Stop hating.

Beautiful. Elegant. She looks swank. Over dressed with the beaded collar? Are you kidding? I cannot believe the complainers. Michelle is an elegant woman who is confident in her frame and she is a fanatastic role model for all women to carry themsleves with poise and dignity and grace.

I am in the fashion industry and I think she looked okay. The color wasn't too bad on her but the fabric was terrible! She would have looked nicer wearing a wool peacoat on top of something more "first lady". Her daughters looked nicer than she did. The gorgeous blue was amazing on Malia.

P.S. The green shoes are a hit. Fabulous. Just fabulous. I enjoy watching her and seeing her fresh style.

I can't believe people thought she should "match" her husband ! hilarious ! How about upgrading your taste to a gold and purple, opposite colors of spiritual attraction. Very complimentary. lol--matching--oh please they are not in a midwestern junior highschool

The dirty gray unconstructed frock on Mrs. Bush looks frumpy and crumpled. Terrible choice. That light heather gray is a color of fear.

It looks sensible and refined. The rest of you are ignorant.

Michelle, ma belle. This woman was beautiful. She exudes confidence and competence. Who says only dull /subdued is classy? /vibrant can be classy too when you have the ability to carry it and Michelle Obama clearly does. Yellow, the color of hope was completely appropriate. I've never seen lace "pholstery" so I can't understand where that comment is coming from. I think using wool lace to provide a flattering and warm fabric was genius.The green shoes and gloves were very fashionable accents and set the ensemble off well.

I really liked her ensemble. I just thought she should have worn a coat during the parade. Her accent of green shoes and gloves were a no no. She should have accented with some gold metallic gloves and shoes or had shoes covered to match her dress. She still looked elegant.

I have yet to see Michelle in a dress that becomes her. I can't believe that people think they will look to her as a fashion icon. Hopefully, the woman will learn to dress in the next 4 years and not embarrass us. The ball gown looks like it came from a sale prom dress rack. What is she thinking!

oh my god u guys would be lucky to have a dress like tht "tacky" are u kiding me? honestly like if u saw tht dress close up u would think u were soo stupid...look a picture of a closeup on google...BOO u stink

I love how this writer just trips over themself trying to kiss Michelle's butt! Terrible dress, but it's not politically-correct to say anything negative about the Obama's!

I loved that gold outfit on Michelle! I thought it was lovely with her skin color, and was a bit envious that I can't wear it (that color would be disastrous on me!).

Folks, Michelle is a beautiful, young, tall, athletic woman, not a dowdy little frump. She is also intelligent and has a big personality. She would look ridiculous in one of those "let me disappear into the woodwork" frocks or suits that Laura Bush was always hiding in, and she did well not to try that.

So get used to the bright colors, the tall silhouette, the sheath dresses, cool shoes & accessories. Michelle can wear all of that, and more! And as a tall woman myself, I salute and applaud her!

Michelle dress for the ball was pretty, but she seemed very uncomfortable in it & she couldn't dance in it, she had to constantly pull at it. You would have thought she would have worn something she could look beautiful in & move in. She looks better in bright colors. She is a beautiful woman & usually seems sure of herself, but neither of her dresses today seemed like she was comfortable.

 
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