Dressing The Future First Lady, Mrs. Obama

Dress by Narcisco Rodriguez, photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, NYC

Michelle Obama has the potential to be a great promoter of American
fashion once she's first lady. But first, I have to point out that the
dress she wore by Narcisco Rodriguez, was not a good choice.<!--break--> The dress
was already dicey --a runway hootchy mama /flapper girl/ Star
Trek theme. To tame it down, she wore a cardigan. The over all result
was a dress that cut her off in all the wrong places. And the patch of
red, like the underbelly of a giant animal character at Disneyland.

I won't dwell on it much --maybe she was trying to echo the
colors of her daughters' dresses. This dress was such a strong contrast
from her masterfully chosen purple dress at the Democratic National
Convention designed by American designer Maria Pinto.

Michelle Obama is doing for the dress what Barbara Bush did for a strand of big
white pearls. With her tall slim figure, she can pull off looks that
are simple and elegant, while keeping it in check that she's in control
without looking frumpy.

My recommendations: Stick with the
American designers. If she can find clothing made here, all the better.
Seek out young designers working on eco-friendly lines. Much of those
fabrics are milled here, dyed here, made here. It's a win-win
situation. Her designer of choice has been Maria Pinto, who worked for
Geoffrey Beene. Pinto designs the sleek and classic silhouettes that
her clients wears so well. Like Nancy Reagan and her collection of red
suits, the future first lady would be smart not to deviate too far from
keeping it simple. She should avoid the same mistake Hillary Clinton
made when she wore a black Donna Karan gown that was too tight and had
way too many peek-a-boo holes --during her husband's first term in
office. (Fortunately, I couldn't find a picture of it. It is a painful memory.

No doubt, everyone from André Leon Talley, Anna Wintour to Rachel Zoe
will have their offerings. But my advice is to stick to what she knows
works best. She looks great in bright colors and bold geometric prints.
She washes out in neutrals, and they age her considerably. Beware of
suits. Often, they don't photograph very well, leaving the wearer
looking frumpy. Mrs. Obama is such a great dresser already, she has the
figure for to wear haute couture, there really isn't much point in
messing with a formula that already works.

More pictures may be found on The Literary Fashionista blog.

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