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Fashionable First Lady Michelle Obama helps the poor in $540 sneakers

First Lady Michelle Obama at food bank event in expensive sneakers


First Lady Michelle Obama, who's become quite the fashion role model with her J.Crew wear and buff-arm-spotlighting sleeveless frocks, is under scrutiny for what she wore on her feet the other day.

They're trendy Lanvin sneakers. Which look really nice and comfy and all. Trouble is, they cost $540. If you can find a pair anywhere.

And, of course, if you've got $540, plus -- what? -- 9 or 10% tax in some places. Which seems like a lot for two shoes not guaranteed to benefit your jump shot.

The other trouble is that -- wait for it -- she wore them to a poverty event, a Capitol Area Food Bank for Feeding America to provide much appreciated help and publicity to benefit the food bank.

Mrs. Obama  also has gone to serve a lunch hour at soup kitchens in Washington, where an unidentified presumably homeless person showed up with a camera cellphone to capture Mrs. Obama, who kindly posed for the man.

We have a video review below of Michelle Obama's first 100 days too.

First Lady Michelle Obama's fancy $540 Sneakers close up

The sharp-eyed Amy Diluna was first to spot the first lady footwear contradiction here.

Sharp-memoried politics readers will recall all the positive attention Mrs. Obama garnered during the presidential campaign for her everyday, every-woman $150 dresses from Black & White Market.

While Cindy McCain, John's wealthy wife, and some woman from Alaska both attracted negative attention for their expensive clothing, some of it reputedly borrowed.

(FYI, Michelle Obama is a Democrat. The other two women are Republicans. But what could that have to do with anything?)

Diluna also notes about Mrs. Obama: "A week ago, she shoveled dirt at a tree planting while wearing the line's chiffon tank. Dresses and strappy pumps cost upward of $1,500, while tops go for $400 to $1,000." An online poll by the N.Y. Daily news finds 59% think the shoe choice was in poor taste for a poverty event.

Now, the video below.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Top photo: Michelle Obama, Jill Biden, second from left, and volunteers at the Capitol Area Food Bank for Feeding America event. Credit: Paul Morigi / Getty Images

Bottom photo: Lanvin shoe closeup. Credit: Reuters

Comments () | Archives (39)

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Let them eat cake, eh Michelle?

My male opinion. . .
This is not news nor a negative reflection on her - she is our FIRST LADY . We want her to look good, feel comfortable, and represent us as well as she does. Would you send the Queen of England to the Bronx in a pair of $15.00 sneakers? NO. So why the First Lady?

No matter what she wore, the point is that she is there helping.

Oh my God, Michelle Obama is wearing expensive shoes to a help the poor event! Next thing you know she will be taking a Chauffeur driven limo with Secret Service Agents as body guards. And I bet she flew in a private jet and maybe even a helicopter on her way to the event! What did you expect the First Lady of the United States to wear, Keds and old jeans?

So long as the media keeps focusing on such nonsense instead of doing some actual investigative reporting, the American people will be forced to get their news from rumors and campaign advertisements (not he most reliable source of info). We need some substantial news in these highly unstable times, not rediculous rants about expensive shoes, or haircuts, or evening gowns. Is there really anyone in America that is worried that our economy, or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going badly because on the money Michelle Obama or her husband are spending on cloths? Do you suppose the poor people she was trying to help are offended that she lives in the most expensive environment on earth (the White House and it's security and transportation systems)?

We need to focus on substance rather than BS.

wow, I didnt even know that there is such a expensive sneakers. my last shoes was $19.99 bought it a year ago!!


Let's see: If the First Lady does things to help the poor, but does it while not being personally poor herself, she's nothing but a hypocrite? Is that it?

Better that she spit in the face of the poor, and denigrate them, while wearing stuff from Wal-Mart.

Better that her husband, the President of the United States, implement policies that screw the poor and the middle class and deliver more dollars into the hands of the already extremely wealthy.

I think that no matter what Michelle Obama does, media types like you will always find a way to claim it shows "hypocracy"

Why does it matter what clothes she wears? Isnt she doing the right thing by going to charity events.
To the writer.. Go find something better then pointing at the wrong things to create bad publicity. She should have the choice to wear and buy anything expensive or inexpensive with her money.

The fact is that she went to two great events to help the underprivileged and not that she was wearing some expensive shoes. Why the hell should anyone care what she wears. What we care is what she is doing.

And yeah I am not african american, republican or a democrat. Hell i am not even from america !

"Fashionable First Lady Michelle Obama helps the poor in $540 sneakers"

Because we all know that she should have put on a pair of $90 JcPenny's sneaks before feeding the poor. Or perhaps some old, worn out (with a hole in the toe) sneaker for feeding the poor. I mean we must dress for the occasion, right? LOL. It's not like anyone wouldn't have noticed had she slipped on some cheap sneaks because every one knows she's rich already. They would have said she was trying to play the crowd.

And if she goes to give a talk the site of some natural disaster like a hurricane, she should rip her dress so that she is fit for the occasion. hehe.. Point is, what she wears does not change her status. And most NORMAL people wouldn't expect her to alter clothing.

In response to criticism from right wing racists, The President of the United States will sell Air Force One planes, as well as his limousines, and take public transit from now on. The First Lady will stop wearing clothes from American fashion designers. She will be shopping for Made in China clothes at Wal Mart to attempt please the unpleasable.

Obama is becoming a dictator trying to control all the people, plus time and space!

ummmm.. they are doing well financially and i fully expect her to wear some expensive items. michelle does not flaunt her wealth EVERYWHERE she goes like some people and that's exactly the point. the shoes didn't look expensive and no one wouldn't have known any better or felt disrespected if some pretentiousness reported hadn't noticed. the fact is, she looked casual and that's what matters.

$540 for sneakers....ridiculous. She doesn't have to wear the cheapest shoes out there, but how arrogant to wear shoes like that to an event such as that.

Andrew didn't you get the memo? You are supposed to comment only on her buff arms and J Crew sweater not her size 14, $450 shoe encased feet..

You don't go to a (pre-programed ) helping out the poor photo-op in coture footwear. It's either bad judgment or a total disconnect.

If she wants to wear $540 sneakers - which are incredibly ugly, by the way - that's fine with me, but she and her husband should quit telling the rest of us to sacrifice. They apparently don't know the value of setting an example.
The posters on this thread seem to think it's silly to feature MO's expensive shoes - are these the same people who had a fit because the Republicans loaned Sarah Palin some duds?

What the article primarily points out is the double standard of media treatment regarding Michelle Obama vs Cindy McCain (Read Democrst vs Republican).. The leftist media and blogs were all over Cindy for her expensive apparel, but Michelle usually gets a pass. Deny it? Just google something like "Media bashes Cindy McCain for wearing expensive clothes" and you will see what I'm talking about..

Wow. You actually cancelled my innocuaous post? Must a raging teeth-gnashing Leftist at the helm this morning.

Obamas usually say one thing but do something else. It's been their strategy all along.

Barack talks about cutting deficit but he actually add to the deficit by 3 fold. He talks about Gitmo closing, but leaves it open. He talks about closing military court, but does nothing to do it .

Michelle talks about J.Crew and wears Diluna sneakers. She talks about how great the public schools are, but put her own kids to the most expensive private school.

On and on..

get used to it. Watch their words and compare their actions

I agree that President Obama and the First Lady should be able to buy whatever they can afford. However, these shoes demonstrate the Obama's Elitist attitudes. During his Presidency, President Obama has condemned auto executives for flying in private jets, the amount of Executive pay and the amount of professional athletes salries. Then Mrs. Obama shows up at a food bank wearing $540 sneakers. They are hypocrites, and don't have a clue about average people.

I'm waiting for the media outrage, like we had with John McCain's houses and the cost of Sarah Palin's wardrobe. Guess I'll just have to keep

"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes"

In your effort to size up the shoes worn by Michelle Obama, you have provided a platform for others to address the style of the First Lady. Her natural flair involves much more than her selection of footwear. Her style is also defined by her commitment to important issues and her ability to raise awareness and garner support of them. Her poise and panache is evident in her role as a woman and mother, as well as First Lady.

Rather than clog your coverage of Michelle Obama with irrelevant observations of her fashion choices, why not flip-flop your attention to her efforts? While many find support and comfort in her ability to reach out and heal those in need, it is apparent you choose to single out the shoe rather than the soul.

It is obvious Michelle Obama has her feet firmly planted on the ground. I applaud the "Fashionable First Lady" because her commitment to help others is, in my opinion, very much in vogue.

Are we seeing the emergence of an American Imelda
Marcos ? Marie Antoinette herself would be scandalised
by this nouveau-riche exibitionism.

This is her idea of stimulus .Rumour has it that the over priced sneakers were actualy a gift from Tony Rezko.

Has everybody forgotten that Mrs. Obama is a VERY successful woman in her own right? She made $273,618 in 2006 alone, BY HERSELF. I'm sorry, but If I were to be making that kind of money, i'd probably have a few pairs of really expensive shoes as well, not to mention quite a few other luxuries. Sure, the Obamas are telling the general public that they will need to sacrifice to get through these hard times, but the general public isn't wealthy and we shouldn't expect the Obamas to give away all of their money that they EARNED just to meet (more like lower themselves to) the standards of middle class Americans. After all, we're not communists... or are we?

I think the Obama's are doing a fine job of not being too flashy with their wealth, but we can't forget that they are a wealthy family and have been for a long time. They do have luxuries that many average American's don't have and can't afford. If my family brought in $991,296 in a year (as the Obamas did in 2006 together as a couple), I don't think you'd see me shopping in stores like Target or K-Mart (I've not purchased anything from a Wal-Mart in over 5 years now). So why don't we stop focusing on a pair of shoes that an upper class woman (who earned her economic status on her own) wore to a food drive and start focusing on the fact that she went to a food drive in the first place!

Sarah Palin acquired her general election wardrobe from GOP money, she gets attacked for this, yet Michelle Obama goes to a charity event in these expensive shoes, her and her husband have a Chicago pizza chef flown to the White House, Obama has $100 a steak dinners at the WH, and all on the taxpayers dime.

Why then the outrage against Sarah Palin's expensive wardrobe, yet some have no problem with the taxpayers paying for the Obama's living high on the hog and on the taxpayers dime?



That's what corrupt newspapers like the LA Times do. They hire liars like Andrew Malcolm, who don't even bother to explain how either sneaker issue is a "problem." He just calls them "problems" and moves on. This is properly called lying through ones teeth.

Andrew Malcolm is a liar. The LA Times is corrupt.

Andrew Malcolm is a liar. The LA Times is corrupt.

Andrew Malcolm is a liar. The LA Times is corrupt.

Andrew Malcolm is a liar. The LA Times is corrupt.

Please, How smart do you have to be to be the Press Secratary for Xanax Lady, Laura Bush?

Your shots at Mrs. Obama are just that, cheap shots.
Try to find gainful employment somewhere.

Tony, the "job" the Ms 0bama had, was the result of her husbands job, and "donations". After Ms 0bama left the job, it was never filled by anyone elses. It was a purely political payback "job".

The other 0bama income was the result of book sales of books that were ghostwritten ( by Ayers) for 0bama. All phoney all of the time,.........that's the 0bamas for you.

To the writer: How do you keep a job writing about a woman's shoes. I can see your high paid education at work.

What a moron...

This INSANE need to find fault with ANYTHING Obama and Michelle do is simply pathetic!!!

Do you do this pathetic whinning when Nancy Regan spent $10,000 on ONE gown? Do you remember what $10,000 was in 1981? Did you remember that in 1981 this country was in a recession? 2 PRIVATE hairdressers for Nancy Regan? Did you complain about that?

Of course not, you just thought that as first lady, she was entitled to look good representing the country. Which is why your pathetic complaints about Michelle Obama will go exactly where the ENTIRE Republican party has gone....NOWHERE!!!!!

Michelle, EARNED the money to buy whatever type of shoes she wants. The Obama's made OVER 2 MILLION DOLLARS!!!!! They can afford to but what they want.

I think she should wear what ever she wants nor matter how much it costed as long as she does not use tax payers money to pay for it. The Obama's are not the average American, as most people were lead to thinks,they are worth millions ($).So, leave Mrs Obama alone with her ugly shoes.

ms barack hussein 0bama keeps a permanent hairdresser on her staff,.........her salary came from a phoney job created by politcal payoffs, it no longer exists.

Michelle is wearing the sneakers because they matched her outfit, her pants, not that she is serving the poor as the top reason for the shoes. People are caught up in everything the First Lady wears. It is better she wears them with the outfit or they might never be worn. It is time the American, negative-commenting public finds something else to do with their time.

That is for the days when her father Bo couldn't afford to buy her fancy things. Take that for minding her business.

Whoa! Alla you haters stop hating on Imelda.. I mean, Michelle!

The White House has stated that the First Lady has "buyers" that handle her wardrobe. Sarah Palin also never seen the inside of any of the stores her clothes came from. She also stated that she would rather wear her own clothes. Sarah Palin bad, First lady good. Doesn't add up to me.

Nancy Regan borrowed that $10,000 gown in 1981. In 1982, she agreed to stop borrowing clothes — thanks to a pact created by the then-White House counsel and Office of Government Ethics — because the gifts or loans represented taxable income when the donors could benefit from her wearing them.

I don't have a problem with anyone wearing expensive shoes. I have a problem with someone who has tried to instigate class envy to get her husband elected. Someone who has railed against the "bourgeois" and supports "sharing the wealth" seems a little hypocritical when you see them out there enjoying the good life though they don't encourage anyone else to live so lavishly.

By the way she is the First Lady......married to a man who is a public servant. She is not on par with the Queen of England.

Hey Guy's..i couldn't care less that Michelle Obama wore expensive sneakers to a food drive. What i do care about is her comment that 'we' must give up our piece of the pie so other's can have more. I always beleived charity begins at can the obama's neglect their own family who lives in dire can obama tell us to turn down our heat as he heats the white house with our tax $ at a 84* temp. He tells us we need to not eat as much while he serves up 100$ lb. steaks weekly. His adminstration tells us it's unamerican not to pay taxes and we should be grateful while we do it yet how many in the obama adminstration are tax cheat's?The obama's do not live the life they insist that we live. When did hypocrisy become an acceptable life style?

i love michelle obama because she is very helpful and inspiring she also will give you anythig she have in order to help other peopple i just love michelle obama!!!!


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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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