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Michelle Obama inspires wardrobe guessing game

Barack Obama's words are already being parsed for clues to his administration's tone. Will his inaugural address be a lyrical call for unity, like Abe Lincoln's second? Or will it be like Franklin Roosevelt's first, an attempt to calm public fear?

But speculation is even more intense over the issue of Michelle Obama's clothes. Bloggers have made an international parlor game out of guessing what will she, the first African American woman to serve as the nation's first lady, will wear to the inauguration. For this woman who loves to alternate high-end with low-budget, which will she choose for the momentous occasion?

As for her gown for the 10 inaugural balls the Obamas plan to attend Tuesday night, curiosity is intense, and international.

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in California hosted a gala Inaugural Fashion Show on Sunday (emcee was Nick Verreos, who appeared on "Project Runway" in 2005) that imagined Michelle O. in a sleek, body-fitting red gown. The Washington Post has pictured her in a body-skimming green gown.

And the Times of London recently speculated that Mrs. O., as the blogosphere refers to the woman said to be as fashionable as Jackie O., might even defy experts, predicting a politically safe all-American look. Maybe, said the Times, she'll opt for "something French to show that she's backing her husband's new, Euro-friendly promises."

Some may scoff at the intense interest in fashion as evidence of a vapid press corps run amok. But interest is intense -- when Women's Wear Daily recently ran 35 sketches of visions from designers, it got 6 million hits.

The Ticket prefers to think of all the talk of clothes as a sign that in a bad economy, style can lift morale. As the New York Times speculated, maybe Mrs. O. will become a one-woman bailout for a floundering U.S. fashion industry.

-- Johanna Neuman

The Ticket offers ready-to-wear coverage of the Obama inauguration and the new administration for all sizes and fashion sensibilities. And while you're planning your inaugural attire, why not register here for cellphone alerts on each new Ticket item? RSS feeds are also available here. And don't forget Amazon's Kindle as well.

 
Comments () | Archives (6)

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Love the reference to Mrs. O! We're tracking the future first lady's every fashion move at Mrs-O.org. "Lift morale", it does indeed.

It will be a cold day in hell when Michelle Obama is cast as another Jackie Kennedy. No way, no how!

No need to be so harsh. Michelle Obama's style is her own. She is classy yet not stuffy. I appreciate her unique flare. Some people have to put other people down to feel better about themselves. She is not perfect in her style choices, no one is. I consider myself pretty stylish, but I am sure if I were under a public microscope there would be some people out there who would consider some things I wear not so fashionable. I would also bet money that those who are so critical of our First Lady are not fashion icons either.

Mrs. Obama is now the First Lady of the United States of America. Referencing her as 'the woman' is an insult. Let's not get started with this kind of crap. I won't be back to this site, so need to reply, but we are all out of patience and don't need any of this or people like you to 'taint' our fresh air this country has needed for so long. She can wear what she wants and dress her children the way she pleases. That's what we are all about. I agree with Christine -- I'd love to see your choice of attire for the Balls and how you would look.

Someone should telll her that jewels as she wore were totally inapproipate....they are for after 5pm only.....dress with gold threads, after 5 only, necklace after 5 only....she should have had a good wool coat in blue, green or black and dress boots....her gown was horrible, off white does not go with his white tie and tails, and it had to may :fluffy'e" floating around.....she needs to class it up. other pictures show her in floral house dress with sweater, ON THE FIRST LADY. I thought Laura Bush was boreing in her clothes but Michelle is WAY OVER DONE....dress it down and make it classy....

@Anita LeBlanc: It is obvious you don't know anything about style, fashion or taste. Try and shop somewhere other than the Cracker Barrel gift shop sometime.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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