Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"MObama" the next First Lady fashion icon?

In case you didn’t know, the G-20 is happening in Pittsburgh.

Tomorrow, the leaders of the world will descend upon our quaint city and walk among us mere Steel Town mortals. Well, maybe not so much walk as get chauffeured around in bulletproof limos.

I’m not going to delve into anything political here because, quite frankly, I don’t know enough about the government to speak about it in a public forum.

What I do know, however, is fashion. Tomorrow marks the arrival of one of the best-dressed women in politics — Michelle Obama. As entertaining as protesters are, what I really want a glimpse at is what Michelle decides to wear to her dinner at Phipps Conservatory tomorrow.

Much credit is due to a woman who displays her opinions on gun control — or lack thereof — right on her sleeve. Michelle is all about the right to bear arms — have you seen those shift dresses?

I’m over-the-moon excited to witness the makings of our country’s next fashion icon. When was the last time the White House housed such a figure? Jackie O? Surely not anyone in the average Pitt student’s lifetime.

Michelle is the second first lady to appear on the cover of Vogue. The first was Hillary Clinton, but let’s not kid ourselves — Hillary’s pantsuits hardly inspire any sartorial salivation.

Michelle has an undeniable attention-capturing quality. The July issue of British Vogue featured a photo spread, shot by Mario Testino, of the world’s first ladies at the previous G-20 in London — and if there’s one crowd that’s as “MObama” obsessed as we, it’s the Brits. While all of the world leaders’ wives were distinguished and beautiful, Michelle cascaded off of each glossy page, radiating je ne sais quoi.

In nine months, countless style-conscious citizens have become obsessed with the fashionista.. We can’t get enough of her colorful and preppy aesthetic.

Perhaps where Michelle succeeds best, however, is in her democratization of fashion — undoubtedly no coincidence, given her husband’s political leanings. She mixes couture pieces (Jason Wu, Azzedine Alaia, Thakoon and Michael Kors) with cardigans and dresses from stores like The Gap, J. Crew and occasionally even that holy grail of elementary school teachers, Talbots.

The woman even — gasp! — wears things more than once! She has a few belts in constant rotation, broadcasting to the American public via her waistline, “It’s ok to repeat, girls!” This, is smart — very smart. When the country is in an economic mudslide, she knows to practice a little closet restraint.

Despite her numerous admirable fashion choices, Michelle has managed to pick up a few negative reviews — like the time she wore shorts to the Grand Canyon. The blogosphere worked itself into a frothy frenzy debating whether or not her outfit choice was appropriate.

Honestly? If I hadn’t first seen the picture of her with a towering “Short Shorts!” headline over it, I would never have thought anything of it. Leave the woman alone. Last time I checked, shorts weren’t that scandalous, especially when worn in Arizona. In August.

As Michelle quickly ascends to icon status, my thoughts turn to what her ultimate signature will be. What will people wear years from now when they dress up as Michelle Obama for Halloween?

Jackie O had her big shades and pearls. When emanating Michelle, perhaps girls will slip on a voluminous pleated skirt and pointed flats, top it off with a pink plaid cardigan and clip their hair into an elongated bob.

So Michelle, if by a glorious twist of fate a copy of this paper lands in your hands: Hi, I’m Sam, and I’m a huge fan. Keep rocking those gun-baring shifts. I salute you.

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