The general consensus is that Michelle Obama nailed it when it comes to her Inauguration Style. Both her lemongrass Swearing-In ensemble and ivory one-shouldered ball gown wowed.
She makes it all look so effortless, but if you were the one standing up there for the whole world to see and analyze and pick apart, what (or who) would you wear?
There are boundaries, of course, and a few UNWRITTEN rules to follow:
1. Choose an American Designer
This tradition started in the 1700’s with Martha Washington, who was encouraged to wear American-made fashions over those from Europe. Some First Ladies even opt for a designer from their home state (Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush) but I say, why limit yourself?
2. Keep ‘em guessing
Up until the day of the Inauguration, no one, and I mean no one, knew what Michelle would end up wearing, which only built up anticipation. Even Isabel Toledo, who designed Michelle’s daytime ensemble didn’t know if she would wear it, until she saw it on TV. Toledo is not a mainstream designer, so choosing her was an unexpected choice. Ditto for Jason Wu, who designed her Inaugural gown.
3. Err on the conservative side
The fashion must fit the occasion, which is one of tradition and respect. Even a style risk-taker like Michelle is smart enough not to push the envelope TOO far. Don’t show too much skin. No over-the-top, outrageous outfits. Keep it simple and classic and timeless, otherwise the clothes will look dated. Keep the bling in check.
4. Image is everything
Michelle realizes that clothes have the power to speak volumes. Yellow is a color of optimism. Choosing affordable accessories like gloves from J. Crew shows she is “real” and down to earth. And the designers she picked - Toledo who is Cuban-American and Wu who is Taiwanese-American, is a way for her to represent our melting pot culture and those who are living the American dream.
5. Stay true to yourself
Easier said than done. But one thing I love about Michelle is her confidence, which shows through in what she chooses to wear. This is a woman who plays by her own rules.
So, here is who I would pick.
Michael Kors for the day look. Nobody does chic, classic jet-setting Jackie O style better. His take on American-sportswear is spot on. I picture a brightly colored sheath with matching jacket paired with simple accessories and classic pumps like the Jimmy Choo heels Michelle chose.
For the Inaugural Ball, I would go with Carolina Herrera. Her designs are elegant, ladylike and ultra feminine. With the exception of the black bustier debacle Renee Zellweger just wore to the Golden Globes, I love pretty much anything she designs and think she would make a beautiful choice to create my fairy tale gown.
Who would YOU choose?
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