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Shelley O

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It's been a while since we've checked in with her.


First Lady Michelle Obama at President Barack Obama's speech on healthcare to a joint session of Congress.



We were getting emails as the speech was still going on asking us if we'd seen this outfit and proclaiming how great she looked.


Um...


We don't think she looks great. In fact, we think this outfit borders on hideous.




The proportions are all kinds of weird on her. There are so many extraneous pleats and gewgaws to this thing. We'll keep saying it: the sleeker the look, the better she looks. That big prim bow at her neck doesn't help either, nor does the color. Rich, saturated tones, Shelley. How many times are we going to have to tell you this?

Sorry to those who said they loved it but we just can't agree. It looks VERY old lady to us.


[Photos: Getty Images/AP Photo]



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176 comments:

It's way too Mamie Eisenhower. Maybe even Bess Truman. Either way, it's pretty ugly and does her no favors.


Tom in chicago

It almost has the feel of maternity wear...


Um, yikes.

Not at all flattering.


i didn't tune in to the speech- it had already been a long day- so i missed this but the first thing i thought when i saw the photos was that my grandmother wouldn't wear this! (she's one snappy dresser.)

you're right, this is all bad. not one good aspect.


That's just awful. You know, when I see outfits like this, I just wonder who would design this and think it looks ok, and then I remember all of the people eliminated from Project Runway and the Fashion Show.


I agree the porportions are odd.
It look like a bit of a throw back to traditional First Lady wear . Maybe she's reacting to the criticism of the shorts and sleeveless dresses.


Thank you, Boys. This is so wrong for her. No public option for that outfit.


I kept rolling my eyes at her last night I almost missed Obama desperately pleading for approval.


Ugh. I know Michelle's clothes shouldn't be the focus of the night, but yeah, that crossed the line from tasteful straight into matronly maternity (not a good combination). jill biden looked pretty nice, though. so did hillary. so that's something, at least.


I love you Shelley O, but please, please get thee to a new STYLIST! You are breaking my heart.


TLo said: "Sorry to those who said they loved it but we just can't agree. It looks VERY old lady to us."

YES!

TLo, once again you guys called it! I said to my dh last night as we watched the speech, "that outfit is doing her no favors!" Funny old-lady like and in just the totally WRONG color!

It's so odd because those strong colors that Shelley wears so well look fabulous on her....this looked like a worn-out shade from someone's ancient upholstery.

TLo, you just need to draft yourselves - for the sake of our nation's sense of style - and get yourselves down to DC to help Shelley out. She clearly is in need of some new gays to help her out!

srq


I couldn't agree more! She keeps wearing things that make her looks weirdly fat and lumpy which is the LAST thing she is. I wouldn't mind some of my tax dollars going to get her a stylist...


It looks like she stole it from someone's memaw. And the color is pukey. OUT!


To be fair, though, from what I can see, her hair and make up look smashing. She glows.


C'est moi, c'est moi Lola

Oh man, she was doing so well! I agree 100%. The proportions are weird, and it screams maternity. It's great that it's not another cardigan, but yowza! Shelley O, keep in mind the things that suit you best!


Ouch...as soon as you said people I loved it I thought you were joking....she looks like a clown :(


Too much volume and the color is just slightly off. She looks good in most things, so this wasn't totally hideous. I like Mrs. Biden's J.Crew getup much better!


I think my aunt has a porcelain doll in that outfit....


Any idea who designed this ode to pleats and bows?
Time for a new stylist, Shelly.
PS: I do like the pin.
PPS: Jill Biden looks really nice, as usual.


It's really bad, as SS said, the proportions are all wrong. She needs someone to help her dress better, it doesn't have to be a stylist, a friend, somebody, the woman from the store I forget her name is not doing a good job.


It looks like she combined all the cliches of an old lady in one outfit, including the brooch.


It is REALLY unflattering. Proportions are, as has been said, totally off.

If there were less of it and more skin (short sleeves, a scoop neck) I think the color might look nice on her - but then, I admittedly don't have a good eye for color.


Marketing Diva

She clearly needs a Gay to style her. I like the color and the pin but it is way to old fashion. Maybe she was trying to be less chic due to all of the criticism over the shorts and sleeveless dresses


If the skirt was straight I think it would have looked nice. The jacket was a bit old but she was attending a join session of congress so a little conservativeness works for me. And I do not think the color was terrible...when they showed a wide shot of the balcony she popped out really nicely.


From mid-neck up, she looks fabulous.

The outfit, however, reminds me of nothing so much as a stiff polyester napkin folded into a decorative shape on a hotel banquet table.


I agree with the previous Anon--I think the color's not bad on her. But the pleats and bows? You called it, TLo!


Amy in Madison

Did she raid Dolores Umbridge's closet? It's simultaneously dowdy and sickeningly cute.


One word - hideous. I love her, but I hate her stylist.


The outfit is occasion appropriate and I like the color. She stands out among other three ladies she is photographed with. Unlike the other three ladies Shelly O looks like she made an effort. I love Dr. Jill to death (because she can and dose do high end hoochie mama very well) but she looks like she threw on a blouse and skirt that she wore three days ago to an education conference and wants to wear the outfit one more time before she drops it off at the dry cleaners.

Again, there is nothing wrong with Shelly O's outfit except it does not cover her figure flaws; it enhances her figure flaws. I love the jacket and would wear it myself but it does nothing for Shelly O!

The next time Tim Gunn goes to DC to visit his family he needs to conduct a seminar on how to dress for the majority of women who attended the President's speech.

TampaBay


I thought it was a little Peggy Olson though I think the look is somewhat ageing. A young lady might be able to pull this off because of the juxtaposition though.


Amy in Madison: "Did she raid Dolores Umbridge's closet? It's simultaneously dowdy and sickeningly cute."

ROFLMAO!!! TFF!!!

Amy, you just nailed it completely!

srq


The pleats add width that she does not have and it hits her right at the widest part of the hips. I agree the bow it too fussy, frumpy. Such a beautiful woman... she must be getting bad advice.


Amy in Madison: "Did she raid Dolores Umbridge's closet? It's simultaneously dowdy and sickeningly cute."

LOVE the HP reference!!

Michelle, as always, looks lovely neck up. Outfit is a miss.


Jacket or skirt, not both together.


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Hideous. Too fussy, unsophisticated, and very, very unflattering. It's fine (maybe even necessary) to go more conservative for an occasion like this. But you can still find something that looks chic, flattering and professional without resorting to this fussy thing. Whoever referenced Dolores Umbridge nailed it.

Jill Biden is looking rough. Her body is hot but the face, not so much. And comb your hair, bitch. You're not a 17-year-old just coming back from the beach.


After the last time Mrs. Obama attended a joint session of Congress, and was raked through the media coals for baring her arms, I think she just wanted to fade into the woodwork this time. Look, this was a major, major speech, one of the most important of the President's term in office so far. He did not need any distractions, and Mrs. O is savvy enough to get that.

So snark away. Some of you will never, ever like what she wears, but it doesn't matter a whit in the grand scheme of things. Good grief.


Shelley O
As in: OOOOOOOLD

and the color?
W.
T.
F.


somebody lift that moratorium on the fashion)death penalty STAT.


Ugh, I agree. That outfit looks as if the designer went out of his way to put all of the most unflattering details for Michelle's figure into one big pile of hideousness.

I think people are liking this because it's more traditionally First Lady-ish, right down to the grandma color.

I don't understand it at all. She's young, she's pretty, it's the year 2009. Why does our First Lady have to be matronly?


The color is hideous, and not just on Shelly. The jacket cuts her at just the wrong spot on her body, making her look much wider than she is. And the sleeves are too short! The camisole (?) underneath looks too tight. Just bad on every level. Definite OUT.


Whenever there was a shot of Michelle, I kept thinking "Man, Tom and Lorenzo are going to have a field day with this one."


J Crew color name = TONGUE


Thank god you said that. I thought the same thing when I first saw it. I LOVE her makeup, though.


At least she looks better than the little old lady to her left. My elementary school librarian had better style than that lady.


TLo, I'm a HUGE fan of your blog and check it nearly every day. However (and I know I'm probably in the minority on this one), I wish that you wouldn't do the Shelly O fashion critiques. Although I can't completely put my finger on why it rubs me the wrong way, I think it has something to do with the fact that her industry (politics/law) has NOTHING to do with fashion or beauty, yet this aspect of her is being critiqued in a way that it never would be for a man. I get it, double-standards for women, blahblahblah. But, I just wish this blog wouldn't contribute to that backward mentality.

Anyhow, just my two cents. In other news, yay health care!!! :)


Anonymous on 9/10/09 at 10:01 AM said... Jill Biden is looking rough. Her body is hot but the face, not so much. And comb your hair, bitch. You're not a 17-year-old just coming back from the beach.

NO SHIT!!!! The sad thing is, Dr. Jill can "rock it" and "shut it down" when she wants to. If she had combed her hair and borrowed the pink jacket from Shelly O, Dr. Jill would have looked great.

TampaBay

P.S I am NOT making this up! Before becoming Ms. Vice-President, Dr. Jill loved to shop at Forever 21 and Level LVL. Maybe she still does.

TampaBay


Oh, it makes me so sad to see her dressed like a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

Plus, she wore that hideous bow cardigan to Kennedy's Funeral.

Tim Gunn must be summoned to the White House..IMMEDIATELY!


Elise said...

TLo, I'm a HUGE fan of your blog and check it nearly every day. However (and I know I'm probably in the minority on this one), I wish that you wouldn't do the Shelly O fashion critiques. Although I can't completely put my finger on why it rubs me the wrong way, I think it has something to do with the fact that her industry (politics/law) has NOTHING to do with fashion or beauty, yet this aspect of her is being critiqued in a way that it never would be for a man. I get it, double-standards for women, blahblahblah. But, I just wish this blog wouldn't contribute to that backward mentality.


It has nothing to do with double standards for women, nor does it have anything to do with Mrs. Obama's prior career roles. It has everything to do with her current role as First Lady, which, like it or not, no matter how educated or accomplished is the woman who fills that role, it's basically the job of a professional hostess. Part of that job - a BIG part of that job, we would argue - deals with how she presents herself. Mrs. O gains even more attention than the average first lady because she's shown herself to be very interested in fashion and willing to take risks and break out of the mold that former First Ladies have set.


Elise, I am going to very respectfully disagree. I think Michelle Obama is a standard bearer for American fashion. In today's Wall Street Journal, Christina Brinkley makes much of the fact that many young designers (Thakoon and Jason Wu are examples they cite) were really launched into stardom by M.O. wearing their designs. Maybe it's not fair that she and other first ladies are scrutinized more than their male counterparts, but I think it's a part of the package, and I think Mrs. Obama is savvy enough to realize it and try to capitalize on it.

That said, I do wish her husband would get a tailor to take up some of his pant hems. I've seen a few pictures of him where it looks like his pants inseam is about three inches too long.


My grandmother is still fiesty at 84 and would never wear something so hideous (it would clash with her 2010 Volvo hardtop convertible!). The color is drab and the jacket looks like an upside down cheerleading skirt.


I love her. But this look is just frumptastic. Her body is way too bangin' to hide it under all that fussiness.


Maybe she dressed like to school marm to deflect the fact that her husband is brainwashing America's children by telling them to read, write, and do well in school.


P.S I am NOT making this up! Before becoming Ms. Vice-President, Dr. Jill loved to shop at Forever 21 and Level LVL. Maybe she still does.

TampaBay

9/10/09 10:32 AM


Maybe she's auditioning for 'The Real Housewives of Dover'


It looks like puke.


Elise,

For as long as I can remember, there have been critiques about First Ladies' style, or lack thereof. It may have begun with Grace Coolidge, who was the epitome of style in her day. I think it began again with Mamie Eisenhower, her bangs and love affair with the color pink.
Jackie Kennedy then set the standard. We had never seen such a fashionable First Lady. We all wanted to dress like her and have our hair styled like her.
Mrs. Obama is a breath of fresh air, especially for those of us who love fashion. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics.


The pleating on the back is too much - it seems to broaden her out, by the picture. The color looks washed out too, like old sofa upholstery. Not a fan. I do like the brooch on her neck, though.


UUUUUGHHHH

When the nun behind her ( I am assuming based on the white blouse and boring suit) and the matronly looking woman to her right, and all the others look better - and less ridiculous, this is a MAJOR OUT!


The first Lady looked like she found that suit in the back of a White House closet and decided to wear it even though Barbara Bush had left it behind when she moved out in 1992 because it was too frumpy even for her.

I thought Jill looked like she forgot to put her skirt on and showed up in her slip.


Make-up and hair look amazing! The outfit is possibly the worst I have seen her in. How could she think it was a good idea? Even Barbara Bush wouldn't be seen dead in it, let alone Laura.


And conisdering the month she's had, I think Victoria Kennedy looked great and also completely appropriate.


Heh. Charmingfare took the words right out of my mouth -- I was going to ask if she raided Mamie Eisenhower's closet.

Just really dated and clunky looking. I don't love the color on her, either.


This comment has been removed by the author.

I happen to think that coral is one of the most universally becoming colors, but I can certainly see that a richer tone (hue? I'm a bit uncertain on the correct terminology) would have been more attractive on Our Shelly.

I do agree about the collar bow - had it been nixed in favor of the brooch alone the neckline would have been more flattering. Hmm, and what about a more open neckline as well? The jacket's neckline and shoulders somehow seem to be crowding her jaw. Yes, too busy there.

I think you were on the money, TLo.

All the best,

NDC


Anonymous on 9/10/09 at 10:38 AM said.."P.S I am NOT making this up! Before becoming Ms. Vice-President, Dr. Jill loved to shop at Forever 21 and Level LVL. Maybe she still does.
TampaBay

Maybe she's auditioning for 'The Real Housewives of Dover'

NAAAAAY..........Dr. Jill has a REAL job. However, Joe B. would make a great "hubby" on a Housewives show. I can see him hanging out with Greg Leakes, Simon, Mr. Hartwell and Mr. Zarrin on Andy Cohen's live show...."Bravo After Dark:! LOL! LOL! Throw in house-hubby Bill Clinton and what a show!!!

TampaBay


Good Lord, totally wrong color on her. The pure jewel tones make her face pop; this washes her out and makes her look like she raided a thrift shop for this outfit. If she's going to persist in wearing any shade of carnation, it has to be less orange and far closer to rose pink with no grey or muddy tones to it.

Plus, this outfit highlights her pot belly and makes her look preggers. The constant speculation about whether she's got a bun in the oven even caused the Prez to drop a "casual" comment to a reporter about how he and Michelle have a hard time saying no to the White House chef's wonderful pie. So I guess it's actually a "pie belly." Whatever the reason, there are plenty of ways to camouflage a pot belly and her stylists aren't doing her any favors by pretending it doesn't exist.

She should circulate in more Michael Kors. His garments are always flattering on her and draw attention up to her beautiful neck and face. Plus, the classic Kors spare, sporty lines are slimming, great for broad-shouldered and tall women, and look far better on her than this overworked costume-ish outfit that adds volume around the waist.

Well, props for experimentingi, though. But, hey, she should exercise her veto power more judiciously.


yeah, not crazy about that. I know she doesn't want to repeat herself, but the sheath dress is her friend. I don't even mind the color so much because I think the pin could have added some warmth if it was maybe a shoulder pin. I just hate the a line cut of both the jacket and the skirt, coupled with the crazy pleats. It looks like Betty Draper maternity wear and it's old and dated.


I agree! I was NOT keen on this look. It makes her look heavy! And she's not heavy!!! Its' just too bulky, too pleaty and the bow is making me throw up in my mouth!

She's too classy for this.

xoxoxo


Hi TLo, Gorgeous Things (great picture!!), and Stkr Shock - thanks for your responses. I think I understand what you're saying, and what TLo said particularly about the First Lady having the job of a professional hostess made a lot of sense in terms of why the fashion critique would be "OK." Gorgeous Things, your point about young designers being launched into stardom as a result of Shelly O is also well taken, and Stkr Shock I recognize that evaluating what the First Lady looks like is historically very normal.

At the same time, I think the First Lady's role has changed a lot and focusing so much on her appearance (IMO) undercuts the important messages that she sends. I also worry that the same type of thing will continue to go on when a woman is eventually the president (not by TLo, just in general), and I'm skeptical that the eventual First Man's fashion or appearance would be evaluated so persistently regardless of his "host" role.

I know I'm clearly a minority on this issue, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself from now on. I appreciate your taking the time to write your opinions because they help me see where you're coming from. Also, TLo, I want to clarify that your implicit and explicit messages about women continually resonate with me and I wasn't trying to suggest that you personally buy into the double standard. For instance, your posts on naked men featuring women's clothing obviously run counter to that notion :)


Is the Shelly O suit PINK or CORAL? It looks like PINK to me but that may be due to my computer.

TampaBay


Her hair and makeup look great.

I like the front of the jacket if it were in another color without the bow and the pin.

The rest is awful.


Her hair and makeup look great.

I like the front of the jacket if it were in another color without the bow and the pin.

The rest is awful.


IndyAnna said:

frumptastic


Wow. Nailed it!


"Elise said...I know I'm clearly a minority on this issue, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself from now on. I appreciate your taking the time to write your opinions because they help me see where you're coming from. Also, TLo, I want to clarify that your implicit and explicit messages about women continually resonate with me and I wasn't trying to suggest that you personally buy into the double standard. For instance, your posts on naked men featuring women's clothing obviously run counter to that notion :)"



You're forgetting something, this is a fashion blog, not a political blog or a woman's right blog.

Not to mention that TLO have no responsibility to represent the views and opinions of every reader they have.


Basically, it's all been covered by other posters, so I'll be positive. From the neck up Michelle looks gorgeous and amazing. That is all.


- edina -

P.S. Loving all the Betty & Peggy references!


StkrSchock said, to Elise, "It has absolutely nothing to do with politics."

But I think that's exactly what Elise is saying. And while I'm not sure I agree, I can see her point: Ms. Obama is on the political/governmental stage and so what she wears should be irrelevant. But there is indeed a double standard at work. As a nation we are most comfortable thinking of presidents' wives as hostesses and good will ambassadors and little else. I look forward to seeing how things shift when we have a First Gentleman in the White House.

But I can see TLo's point, too: Ms. Obama does have an interest in fashion. Ms. Bush the First declared herself uninterested in fashion or adornment beyond clasping a string of pearls around her neck; if she was in the White House in the time of TLo, I suspect we wouldn't be discussing her clothes as often. But clearly Ms. O. is like us: she likes clothes.

And now, here's an article about the President's tie:
http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/2009/09/09/lucky_tie/


I'm sorry to say that this does make her look like she's working on losing several vacation pounds.

But I don't object to the color that much.


Carrie
...
Such a beautiful woman... she must be getting bad advice.


She is supposed to be a capable adult woman - it is not about advice - can't we expect her to be responsible for herself?

Anonymous
9/10/09 10:36 AM brava

Anon At least she looks better than the little old lady to her left You the woman in the blue-gray suit? That is a little old lady. Cripe


Dowdy.
That is all.


Could just be just as simple as & they know how easily distracted the knucklehead pundits are & didn't want the topic of conversation today to be Michelle's arms instead of the health care reform bill.

--GothamTomato


Add a matchy pillbox hat with a fussy veil, slap it on Queen Elizabeth, and call it a day.


I really like what Jill Biden and Mrs. Kennedy are wearing.

Michelle, we love you, but no more bows!


Anonymous
9/10/09 10:02 AM After the last time Mrs. Obama attended a joint session of Congress, and was raked through the media coals for baring her arms, I think she just wanted to fade into the woodwork this time. Look, this was a major, major speech, one of the most important of the President's term in office so far. He did not need any distractions, and Mrs. O is savvy enough to get that.

So snark away. Some of you will never, ever like what she wears, but it doesn't matter a whit in the grand scheme of things. Good grief.


But this outfit is so hideous, it IS taking away from the president's speech in some circles. Simple, plain and elegant, would have been the way to go.


I want to see it without the little cape/jacket. The bottom half doesn't look that bad (except for the color). The pleats on the back would look cool if the front was different and, again, a different color. I agree though, it looks altogether elder-ish and the bow thing is NOT working. Sewing Siren might be right, a reaction to the whole shorts deal.


Elise said:
I know I'm clearly a minority on this issue, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself from now on. I appreciate your taking the time to write your opinions because they help me see where you're coming from

Dear Elise, please don't keep your thoughts to yourself! Thoughtful debate of the kind you are practicing here will always be welcomed by me, at least. Even if I don't agree!


Anonymous
9/10/09 11:16 AM Carrie
...
Such a beautiful woman... she must be getting bad advice.

She is supposed to be a capable adult woman - it is not about advice - can't we expect her to be responsible for herself?


A woman shouldn't get advice on what to wear?

Sound the alarms! Tim Gunn needs to quit, NOW!!!!


What designer made this monstrosity?


I agree - that outfit is hideous. Her hair and face look amazing though! What a smile!


The black pleats make a superman cape and the front bow is made for a poodle, it's weird. Yet it looks like something I'd want to try on in a store and then look terrible in and put back on the rack.


Speaking of advice from Tim Gunn, I assume that his show has been cancelled? Any definitive word? I'm sure his contract wouldn't allow him to do anything with Bravo anyway.


oy, it reminds me of something Mrs George Bush Sr would wear. I think they were probably trying to go ultraconservative because of the nature of the speech, but it is hideo ous....who is her stylist I wonder? She really needs to hire team TLO


Anonymous
9/10/09 11:39 AM Speaking of advice from Tim Gunn, I assume that his show has been cancelled? Any definitive word? I'm sure his contract wouldn't allow him to do anything with Bravo anyway.

Correct!

TampaBay


Basically, it's all been covered by other posters, so I'll be positive. From the neck up Michelle looks gorgeous and amazing. That is all. - edinamonsoon

Yep.


A woman shouldn't get advice on what to wear?

Sound the alarms! Tim Gunn needs to quit,


Well maybe not PR, but Liz Claiborne has been dowdier and dowdier all the time. C'mon fashionistas defend this...


http://www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/plusNewArrivals,default,sc.html

http://www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/womensNewArrivals,default,sc.html


mll (another lulu)

Wow, just wow! Not to the dress but to the universally negative tone of comments. At least I got *one* thing right, as we were watching the speech I turned to my husband and said the blog would be all over this dress tomorrow. But I didn't study it as apparently everyone else did; on my plus twenty year old TV I thought it was an entirely different shade of pink and it looked good on her. Then I'm here this am and find out it was coral??? AND belongs on an eighty-year old pregnant woman???

You know, I'm starting to be proud of myself, I don't follow the herd mentality at good bit of the time I've discovered. But I still sort of enjoy all the snarky opinionation most of the time, yeah, I think so, sort of, well, maybe not all of it. I think I'm gonna go clean something now.


Elise said:

At the same time, I think the First Lady's role has changed a lot and focusing so much on her appearance (IMO) undercuts the important messages that she sends.

You raise a good concern, but I would respectfully disagree with your conclusion. I know I'm probably going to say this wrong, but I'll try. Shelly O understands that she is a role model and I think she actually relishes it. Morever, I've seen video clips of her using wardrobe exactly as a means of sending her important messages.

In particular, she uses more casual looks to be more accessible in her interactions with school kids. But she also uses wardrobe another way as well with them. The subliminal message she appears to be sending, particularly to the school kids she frequently visits, is that presenting yourself well is something anybody can do and it helps build self-confidence (part of Barack's and her larger theme, as First Cheerleaders, about doing the best you can, no excuses). While she clearly goes for the gold for major occasions, her everyday look inspires people to think "I can do that!" or "Ok, this isn't impossible. If I keep myself clean and neat, people will have a more positive opinion of me."

While you'd never hear her say anything as crass as "don't be a slob," she communicates the message by picking out shy or quiet kids here and there and complimenting them on how nice or how pretty they look in that outfit. She's careful to single out both boys and girls and chooses kids of different skin colors and nationalities, using appearance as an opening to get them talking a little so they'll always stand a little taller and proudly remember "The First Lady talked to ME! And she thought I looked nice just the way I am!"

And for the rest of us, she's remaining relatable by sending the message "hey, you can look good in hard times without breaking the budget" by doing stuff like wearing a $40 dress from Target every now and then. Rather than "representing the nation" 24/7 and risk being labeled as remote and snobby, she puts on the dog only for more formal or official occasions. Even then, her message is "know when to dress up, but have fun and experiment a little, too." In other words, there are really no set in stone rules, so long as you present yourself well and appropriately to the occasion.

It's a wonderful message. Plus, she gamely takes risks, bloops occasionally, and is right back out there taking risks again. She simply ignores the conceit of the fashion elders and remains plucky in choosing the unexpected.

You've gotta love her for it.


Anon said, ". . . Liz Claiborne has been dowdier and dowdier all the time. C'mon fashionistas defend this...
www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/plusNewArrivals,default,sc.html"

It made me gasp. And not in a good way.


Frankly I don't get "Shelley O" as fashion icon. I never thought of J Crew as being ahead of the curve. The fact that she is probably 15-20 years younger than most first ladies definitely gives her an edge as to what she can wear: (some) 40-somethings can bare their arms; 50/60-somethings are less likely to.

With regard to the comments on judging the First Lady's fashion choices, I'm not offended by it. I would guess that the women's fashion industry is probably 10X bigger than men's, and women are more likely to be interested in fashion than men. What a person wears doesn't reflect on their accomplishments, but seeing what the "rich & famous" wear is entertaining. If Ms. Obama is interested in fashion, then it is more likely to reflect her personality, and that is something to watch.

I am by no means a fashionista, but I still like to see who wore what on the red carpet. And it's what the women are wearing, much more so than the men, that make it a fashion event in addition to an awards ceremony.

Polly Glot


I don't care for it on her at all. It makes her look a couple of months pregnant. Why would she even buy something like that? I'm convinced that some of her dressing selections are made during bad PMS moments.
I was impressed again with how well put together Mrs. Kennedy was. She's obviously a woman who has found a style that suits her and sticks with. Color is kind of ho-hum, but cut, fit are perfect. She's obviously someone who takes a good look at herself before she walks out the door.


Yeah, not loving this.


" Joan said...

Basically, it's all been covered by other posters, so I'll be positive. From the neck up Michelle looks gorgeous and amazing. That is all. - edinamonsoon

Yep."


yep. yep.


The jacket would have looked good with a sleek sheath dress underneath. The dress/shell-and-skirt underneath do little to complement her figure, and actually give her a bit of a belly.

So it's a NO. I do love the color, though.


I don't think I have ever agreed with your criticisms of Mrs. O, but I have to give it to you on this one. The cut of that outfit was so completely wrong for anyone, but particularly for her body type. She is too much woman to be wearing something that pleated all over. Perfect hair and makeup, though.


Anonymous on 9/10/09 at 11:53 AM said..."Well maybe not PR, but Liz Claiborne has been dowdier and dowdier all the time. C'mon fashionistas defend this...

http://www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/plusNewArrivals,default,sc.html

http://www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/womensNewArrivals,default,sc.html"

It cannot be defended! They even managed to mutilate the Dana Buchman line which was at one time a bridge line at Saks & Neiman's.

Dana Buchman is now sold exclusively at Kohl's.

What is Tim Gunn doing at/for Liz Claiborne. I wonder???

TampaBay


MouseAnony, CPK and Brooklyn Bomber, thanks for your thoughtful comments and the link to the tie article! :)
MA, I loved your post in spite of the ways our opinions may differ.

JessicaSloet said:
"You're forgetting something, this is a fashion blog, not a political blog or a woman's right blog.
Not to mention that TLO have no responsibility to represent the views and opinions of every reader they have."

Of course. It's just that a quick look at the Mad Men recaps in particular suggest that TLo has never been one to shy away from the politics of gender. As such, I felt that my comment was appropriate for this blog on an entry devoted to a woman in politics.


Seriously. It's dreadful! I'll give it this: it's definitely a "first lady" outfit. It's respectable and mature and it looks designed. Nobody will look at that and go, "Should our First Lady be so hot?"

However, since I answer "Should our First Lady be so hot?" with a resounding YES, I prefer her outfits that show her off, not hide her like this. But I guess since they're trying to get this health care thing passed she's playing it safe.


The skirt makes her look a mile wide ... and no woman wants that.


But yes, her face looks beautiful.


What is Tim Gunn doing at/for Liz Claiborne. I wonder???

I thought he was supposed to be Creative Director. (chief creative officer). So ultimately isn't this HIS responsibility?

This makes me feel a little bit justified in my calling out some of his criticisms/advice that seem "off".


Anonymous
9/10/09 10:01 AM

Jill Biden is looking rough. Her body is hot but the face, not so much. And comb your hair, bitch. You're not a 17-year-old just coming back from the beach.
=========================

Um...with all due respect, Rep. Joe Wilson, shouldn't you be busy writing appologies?

Seriously, maybe it's just me, but the term "bitch" gets thrown around quite a bit. It is not a term of endearment, as much as some might try to make it out to be.


Pleats + bows = volume.

If you're going to wear a pleated jacket, it's best matched up with a very simple skirt. If you're going to wear a pleated skirt, it's best matched up with a very tailored jacket.

Has the person who designed this fessed up yet?


Actually I'm the one telling it like it is.

That outfit was awful.


I'm thinking she has to wear a shitload of bodyarmour now and has to find clothing to accomodate that. :(


The outfit is NOT good -- reminds me of something my grandmother would wear at a Leisure World function. And this is the grandmother who prefers colors like mustard, avocado, and rose. Sorry, Mrs. O, but this was a big NO. Heidi would Auf you for that outfit.


There's no nice way to say it. The outfit makes her look like a big bologna log.


It looks like she walked off the set of Harry Potter.


I think the fabric is pretty, if a bit off-season (looks like wool: too wintery for September in DC). The cut of the jacket also has nice vintage styling. I think the jacket could be OK if (1) a bit more fitted; (2) leave off that damn bow; and (3) paired with a black pencil skirt.

Michelle and I have similar builds, though I'm a few inches shorter than her, and I've entirely sworn off full skirts. Slim skirts are the way to go for us tall, slim ladies. And no one over the age of 12 should ever wear bows.


Wait, I just noticed the scary pleats on the back of the jacket. Add those as (4) to my list (above) of what needs to go.


Speaking of fashion, don't know if you've seen this item:

Tonight, which is the first night of Fashion Week in NYC, there is a huge event called "Fashion's Night Out" that has been organized in all five boroughs of New York. 700 retailers have agreed to stay open until 11:00 pm and each have various special events celebrating fashion.

http://fashionsnightout.com

Dang! Project Runway -- "To see, or not to see, that is the question."

Well, Lifetime has reruns. Champagne, hors d'ouerves, and celebrities sound pretty nifty.


I have to admit I noticed that hideous bow immediately, but was quickly distracted by her beautiful hair, makeup, & smile. After that I didn't see the rest of the outfit. Looking at this suit in the cold light of day reminded me of "First Lady outfits" of days past. She has bad fashion days like anyone else albeit on a national stage. I would hate for cameras to be outside my house on most days.


The nickname Shelly O is sO annOying. StOp it.


i thought the color wasn't bad, but the bow was ridiculous, wasn't thrilled with the borach/clasp. The front would have been fine without them. hated the back and the skirt.

-Erin


" Anonymous said...

The nickname Shelly O is sO annOying. StOp it."


nO.


I like the color, but it's Barbara Bushish.


I agree with whomever posted that "from the neck up, she looks fabulous." I think the retro-ocity of the bow with that sort of cool pin and the 3/4" sleeve was actually sort of cool. But from the shoulder's down - un disastre! Terrible proportion and tried way too hard. The irony of the collar gave way to a literal mess.


It was appropriate but I thought she looked like she was wearing a 1960's maternity dress.


Elise said: I know I'm clearly a minority on this issue, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself from now on.


I love and read this blog for the interesting comments section as well as TLo's brilliance. So please don't stop commenting and responding, Elise. And thanks MouseAnony, BB, Strkr, GorgeousThings et al.

And also, TLo - THANK YOU for keeping the space hospitable to open discussion. You probably get tired of the abuse and the craven thanks - but thanks.


Also, I wonder what color that dress actually IS. I've seen the speech now and your recap etc. Every shot of it looks different. Pink, Salmon, Coral?

One thing doesn't change tho. Not a good look for her.


Maybe Trudy Campbell can borrow that outfit if she ever gets knocked up.
Can't say I hate the color....but the rest....oh my. U to the G to the L to the Y.


How funny - on the TV I watched this on, the color came across as that vibrant fuschia she looks so good in.

When I see the color in the photos here, however, I have to agree with you. Maybe the intricately pleated jacket with a very simple skirt would have worked (to my eye), but the pleats everywhere look here is bad.


If they wanted her to keep a low profile while the president tries to sell people on his health care plan and tries to recover from a disastrous August, this was not the way to go. If she had dressed in a simple sheath dress in a neutral color with a jacket to amp up the professionalism, that would have worked. It would have been bland and boring, perhaps, but it wouldn't have gotten much notice and would have still been appropriate and possibly even flattering.

It backfired because now everyone is talking about how awful she looked.


A young, attractive, sexy, fit, African American First Lady makes everyone so anxious that she has to dress like Barbara Bush to reassure the public that she has no intentions of breaking any molds. -victoria


Barbara Bush would have loved this is red- yuck.


Elise said:
I know I'm clearly a minority on this issue, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself from now on.
------------
Noooooo....please post your thoughts. Isn't that what makes this blog great?? We agree politely to disagree? Gosh, if we all felt the same way about things, wouldn't it be too terribly dull??
Post away, girl!!!!


I LOVE the back of the jacket.

And agree with everything you say, just as long as the revised look (color, no bow, streamlined front of the jacket, skirt as a dress for clean line) keeps the pleat on the skirt and the back of the jacket.


Wow - what is with the Barbara Bush Hate?

To the people saying leave Shelly O alone, how about leaving BB alone. She was in her late sixties when she was first lady. A larger grandma-like woman whose platform was literacy. She never claimed to be into fashion and was nearly 20 years older. So she dressed in kind of boring older woman clothes. She had very few hits and probably nothing controversially inappropriate.

I thought this wasn't about politics? Can't a Democrat woman be judged on what she wore without some of you having to attack someone who has NOTHING to do with it? (And is not a contemporary or a valid comparision?) - The same applies to ME.


I honestly thought it was mternity wear. Plus she wore long sleeves on a nice evening in DC, and back in February for the State of the Union, when it was freezing here, she was sleeveless. Just an observation. Plus it was a bad color.


"Anonymous said...

Wow - what is with the Barbara Bush Hate?

To the people saying leave Shelly O alone, how about leaving BB alone. She was in her late sixties when she was first lady. A larger grandma-like woman whose platform was literacy. She never claimed to be into fashion and was nearly 20 years older. So she dressed in kind of boring older woman clothes. She had very few hits and probably nothing controversially inappropriate.

I thought this wasn't about politics? Can't a Democrat woman be judged on what she wore without some of you having to attack someone who has NOTHING to do with it? (And is not a contemporary or a valid comparision?) - The same applies to ME."


It has nothing to do with politics. It's about the clothes and regardless of your political affiliation, Barbara Bush was almost universally regarded as a frumpy dresser. YOU'RE the one bringing politics into it.


I'm going to follow the First Family's tradition of accentuating the positive.

Face and hair, fabulous.

Pleats on back of jacket, potentially fabulous if it were the only "done" bit on an otherwise classic, simply cut jacket without the doo-dahs in front. With better proportions. And better color (even no color). And a less bulky fabric. And over a sheath dress, not separates, perhaps with a subtle pleat in the skirt to tie together.

And ...

In other words, completely different.

This positivity stuff is harder than it looks...

Never mind, they could dress from the thrift store and I'd still love them.

I agree with others that a jacket over


I attended the speech (I'm a political reporter) and it looked great in person. After, most of the reporters (who weren't talking about Joe Wilson's outburst) were talking about how flattering the outfit was.


I loved the color, but probably because it's a color I tend wear. At first glance, that ensemble looked like a maternity dress, not exactly the look she wanted, I'm sure.


In an attempt to "reach across the aisle" and promote bipartisan rapport, Shelly borrowed a dress from Mrs. Bush..... Mrs. Barbara Bush.

Next time I think she should just pull somthin' out of the closet.


Brooklyn Bomber said...
Anon said, ". . . Liz Claiborne has been dowdier and dowdier all the time. C'mon fashionistas defend this...
www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/plusNewArrivals,default,sc.html"

It made me gasp. And not in a good way.

9/10/09 12:03 PM

Just one point here. That's the plus size line, which has ALWAYS been cringingly dowdy. There is an entire plus size Liz Claiborne store in the Westchester Mall in White Plains, NY, and it's just too depressing for words. They seem to consistently select the blobbiest looks to run off in the larger sizes. The smaller sizes seem to have plenty of attractive and sporty looks. I used to live in that brand (because of the long sleeves and broad shoulders) until I became "plus-sexy."

Well, ok, at least plus. ;=D


"I agree with whomever posted that "from the neck up, she looks fabulous." I think the retro-ocity of the bow with that sort of cool pin and the 3/4" sleeve was actually sort of cool. But from the shoulder's down - un disastre! Terrible proportion and tried way too hard. The irony of the collar gave way to a literal mess."

I think the outfit was chosen primarily with TV in mind-- that she would be shown in tight closeup from the shoulders up, so they picked something with visual interest from that angle.


MouseAnony....

There was also a link to the misses sizes.

http://www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/womensNewArrivals,default,sc.html


Look at how good and SLIM Dr. Biden (white skirt) looks beside her. Why does First Lady O continue to dress like this? Horrific choices. She must have NO gays with her, only overly smart women with ZERO fashion sense.

Blech.


What exactly is an "overly smart" woman?


That color is just sad. Nearly as sad as the broach.

Of course, with a face like that, who cares what she is wearing? The woman is beautiful.

I can see this dress on Barbara Bush very easily and I can just as easily see her caring very little what any one thought of it. She was not beholden to fashion and proud of it.


Oh, tlO, y'all are tOO adOrable.


I was amused at Barbara Bush's shrugging off fashion and cheered her. AND I cheer the opposite attitude exhibited by M.O. It's great that there is room for both.

But, I relate more to M.O. And when I saw that Jon Stewart piece at a retirement home/center (?) in Florida where a petite older woman said about Michelle, "She's a HORSE!" - I not only related to Mrs. Obama, I had to love her.

And I just hope she lets up on the horsey outfits.


I guess "overly smart women" is a reference to "smart" dress (ie a bit stodgy & correct & neat) rather than "intelligence"?

PS - Fascinating to hear from our anonymous political reporter that this looks fab in the flesh. I thinks that's often the problem with still pix of Michelle. She's so animated that still captures can make her look a little disheveled.


I like the concept of this outfit and I think she was trying to be more serious and formal, but the execution is off. Too many pleats and it doesn't fit her as well as it should.

I think the color is pretty, then again I'm in the minority.

I LOVE the pin. I'm a pin freak though. I really want Madeline Albright's book about her pins. I'll stop now.


MouseAnony, great post.

I liked the outfit from the waist up, thought it would have looked better with a different cut to the skirt.
Vintage look is always awesome and that was a great pin.


I think the color is lovely against her skin tone and her hair and makeup are impeccable. While I personally would prefer Mrs. O in a less fussy, more tailored outfit, she isn't dressing just to please an East Coast fashion aesthetic. I am sure that this outfit was a big hit in parts of the country where variations of this "go-to-church" look are perhaps more popular. (And I am not saying that in a disparaging way.) She's the First Lady for everyone, not just the sophisticated fashionistas....It's not my personal taste, but I wouldn't say it was a horrendous choice either--she still looks like one classy lady. On the other hand, Jill Biden, looks a bit sloppy next to her.


i'm not dorothy gale

The color of the suit is very pretty on her but oh my! those big pleats are not.


I well know this is the wrong venue for this comment.

Her family and all of congress is exempt from the proposed horror of the health care plan.

I cannot begin to care what she is wearing.


In some shots, it looked like her lipstick was the same color as the dress, which was not flattering. I thought it looked like an amalgamation of all the ugliest things Oleg Cassini ever made. She's a beautiful woman, but this... no.


Anonymous said...
MouseAnony....

There was also a link to the misses sizes.

http://www.lizclaiborne.com/New-Arrivals/womensNewArrivals,default,sc.html

9/10/09 5:46 PM


Ah, yes, sorry. Took a look at these. You're right. Some of these are really unfortunate. They're also in weird colors that won't carry well from season to season, and reminded me a little bit of the rather bright palette favored by Isaac Mizrahi. Then, funny thing - I see "Isaac Mizrahi's picks" link in the upper left-hand corner and guess what comes up? A lot of the very same items in that same color story!

Hmmm. I smell a rat.

Especially disappointing is that this brand could always be counted on to produce some handsome office wear each season in basic color palettes that could be added onto and supplemented from the Claiborne line each year. These things are all over the place! And I'm not seeing a lot here to use as basics to build on.

Very disappointing. I'm wondering if Isaac is calling the shots on design and Tim is being pigenholed more in a mentoring role?

Anybody have the inside scoop on what's going on over there?


I just checked mrs-o.org. The suit is by Moschino.


Gloria, maybe you're new. Please keep the politics off of the comments. This is a fashion blog.

"It's just that a quick look at the Mad Men recaps in particular suggest that TLo has never been one to shy away from the politics of gender."

I think the gender politics are intrinsic to the show and TLo kind of has to address them in their recaps.

I won't comment on the outfit, because at this point it's all been said. I don't like it, but maybe the color did look better in person. I could live with the color, personally.

I'm hoping the "overly smart women" comment was a slip and didn't mean that: a) women should not be too smart; b) fashion sense is somehow more important in a woman than intelligence; and/or c) smart women have no fashion sense.

I recognize that there is still a double standard regarding the First Lady's clothing as opposed to the President's. But that is true in general about women and men, I believe. Besides, the president sure took a beating for those high-waisted jeans.

Oh, and I think that calling the Vice President's wife "bitch" is disrespectful and inappropriate. Joe Wilson, indeed.


Any word as to whether she actually has a stylist/stylists? And if so, who s/he is/are? Her looks are inconsistent enough to make me think she's going it alone. What about getting Rachel Zoe on the case? Now wouldn't THAT be an episode of the Rachel Zoe Project?!! Surely if RZ can make Anne Hathaway into a fashion icon, our Shelley could be taken under her wing and decked out in more becoming attire.


It looks like the 40's, 50's over-styled old lady wear is back.
Ewww.

Please TLo volunteer to be her gays, or at least train them.


I agree this look is not flattering to her. I think it is a shame however that this blog trends toward highlighting the times when her fashion is amiss than when she actually comes out swinging.

In the past few weeks she's worn a simply stunning red, fitted dress. She's wore a simple Merona dress from Target that was very flattering, the dress she wore at Sotomayor's swearing in was cute, she wore a white version of the Theallet dress. She's looked quite lovely and versatile in recent weeks and yet we get another 'Geez, Michelle looks like a frump and needs help dressing' post.

Again, I don't disagree that this particular look is not flattering, but the entirety of her look is a lot more complex and probably closer to what most professional women deal with (great looks tempered by some fashion misses) than perusing through this blog would lead one to think.


" Anonymous said...

I agree this look is not flattering to her. I think it is a shame however that this blog trends toward highlighting the times when her fashion is amiss than when she actually comes out swinging."


That's not even remotely true:

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10


no, no, no Shelley, please.


@ charmingfare

Comment I had just finished typing when I suddenly looked over at yours:

"She looks as though she just came back from a dress up tea party in her Mamie Eisenhower costume. Is it the worst look? Not for the right type of woman...and that woman is not a first lady... unless she is working far and above our heads in the realms of simulacra and irony..."

Perce


This outfit was to show the Republicans that the Obama White House could be inclusive. Michelle's wardrobe now includes Barbara Bush's outfits.


carlabarla (3:09): michelle obama's speech outfit is orful
carlabarla (3:10): it's like she decided that having a figure isn't cool
carlabarla (3:10): nor is dressing her age
Laura (3:10): xDD
carlabarla (3:10): the woman in the grey looks much better


not surprised the political reporter above said it looked good in person...it looked really good on my large TV in HD, i'm tellin' you!

whatever, she's fab.

from the site Mrs. O:

"Mrs. O wore a Moschino bow front pique swing jacket with matching skirt. Her rhinestone, pansy brooch, shown in more detail below, is Sonia Rykiel."

http://mrs-o.org/ for more on her fashions!


This comment has been removed by the author.

Nah, I wouldn't say "borders on hideous."

I would say completely 100% hideous. That color is really the #1 thing killing me. It is KILLING ME.


The outfit doesn't even physically fit her. It's too tight in the shoulders, the material pulls on her upper arms, and the sleeves are so short they make her arms look long and gangly. All that pleating and bunching leading the eye upwards to that bow that looks like it's choking her.

It's the worst outfit I've ever seen.


Matronly....ick.

Remember when for thei inaugeration all of those designers submitted sketches for a gown for her? They should do something similar with the celeb stylists .... give her a few ideas. Would love to see what Rachel Zoe would put her in.


OMG! Barbara Bush left an outfit behind! Whoever said, "Girl, you should definitely wear that!" should be fired, immediately. Unless she was going for "Senior" empathy, Shelly failed miserably.


Oh, where are Shelley O's gays? She needs help here. I was going to say that she was digging in the back of the closet and found one of Jackie's old outfits, but the many who preceded me and mentioned Barbara Bush and Mamie Eisenhower were much closer to spot-on.


It's like she wants the press to speculate whether or not she's pregnant. It looks like what one of Betty Draper's neighbors would wear while preggers; I think Betty's a little too stylish for this pink, pleated thing.

Or, yes, Dolores Umbridge. All she needed was a tacky picture of a kitten. Blergh.

Wait! I get it! She WANTS us to think she's preggers, with her maternity wear circa 1962 and her gorgeous, glowing face. The press/bloggers wouldn't say nasty, sexist/racist things about a beautiful pregnant First Lady, would they?

Oh, who am I kidding. Of course they would.





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