The yellow suit Michelle Obama wore at the Inauguration may have received mixed reviews, but designer Isabel Toledo is already creating a slightly altered knockoff that will sell for $1500- still pricey but way less the First Lady’s choice. The style is sure to sell out less because of its fashion forwardness and more because of who wore it. Similarly, J. Crew’s lines rung off the hook yesterday from mom’s across the country looking for Malia and Sasha’s pretty coats. Certainly, the Obama girls are not only the ones to watch, but the ones to be emulated when it comes to style.
With the presidency in full gear and the buzz behind our First Lady’s Inauguration picks behind us, the question remains, will Michelle Obama prove to be a style icon or just a passing fashion fancy?
The fact is, whether wearing a Narcisso Rodriquez red dress on election night or a Jason Wu gown that bordered on bridal, the opinions on the First Lady’s fashion picks are rarely unanimous. There are some who love her stylish selections while others hope for some “change” when it comes to Michelle’s closet, which is precisely why she will in fact be one of our chicest First Ladies ever.
Stephanie Soloman, Bloomingdales Vice President for Fashion Direction says, "Michelle Obama is definitely a new fashion icon. She is accessible and stylish— she is every woman. It was not just her white Jason Wu gown at the inaugural balls, but also her ensemble by Isabel Toledo, paired with green shoes and gloves. She has fashion flair and the ability to wear an outfit so that her personality shines through. Clothes do not wear her, she wears the clothes. That's what it means to be an idol to every woman. She is a beautiful force. And, her choice of new and up-and-coming American designers is a real boost to the entire American fashion industry."
Kate Ciepluch, fashion director at shopbop.com agrees. “Since Michelle Obama has entered the public eye, she has graced us with a style that is timeless and bold. She isn't afraid to wear bright colors and prints but sticks to sophisticated, chic silhouettes. She is definitely setting the right tone as a fashion icon."
True style icons are rarely conventional and are most often daring when it comes to style. Certainly, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis comes to mind. What most people forget is that the former First Lady started trends as opposed to having followed them.
Like Jackie, Michelle takes style chances (within reason) while letting her true self shine through, and America is ready!
As for the future, Michelle should stick with young, American designers who are more likely to step out of the box. Carol Han, executive fashion director at stylecaster.com agrees, “Since she’s been in the public eye, she has never once failed to look perfectly put together and stylish, and she has a definitive eye for new talent— she’s worn Jason Wu and Thakoon, both fashion industry darlings that happen to be rising up-and-comers.”
And like with most style icons, the public and the fashion industry are sure to want a piece of what she’s wearing. Michelle Obama knock-offs will definately pop up in a store near you. So what should you expect? Naturally, you won’t see her in anything too edgy, and there are times when convention is expected. Hopefully, as time goes on, we will get the chance to watch her experiment with fabric, pattern, silhouette and color like she’s done before. Her Election Day selection for example was a traditional fit with a daring fabric and her Inauguration gown was also unconventional. She showed off more skin than most First Ladies, but did so with elegance and simplicity. The color and form was surely symbolic- white, pure, fresh and fluid, and while not everyone was a fan, that’s the chance an icon takes.
The First Lady should be warned from her style advisors to stick to what works as far as silhouette- the First Lady’s athletic build and height would not lend itself to all styles. With that said, she should be congratulated on her style thus far. The pressure is high- Michelle is young, hip and therefore expected to look fabulous.