Saturday, August 30, 2008

Change of a Dress

It is the Saturday after the 2008 Democratic National Convention, five days after Michelle Obama addressed the DNCC and the country, impressing us all with her eloquence, grace, family stories, and reverence for the United States of America.  I am still reeling from the excitement from the well-orchestrated week of orators, signage, and unified mantras.  And I must admit that style is still on my mind.  I know fashion is not even an issue on the table, but Michelle (I feel I am on a first name basis with her now) rocked the fashion world while her husband rocked the vote.

During and after Michelle's speech on Monday, I studied her turquoise Maria Pinto dress, examining the lines and the color, noting that it appeared asymmetrical at the back, relaxed at the shoulders, carefully adorned with a turquoise starburst brooch, and very different from the typical look of a presidential wife.  This was not a business suit, but the dress of a mother, wife, and lawyer with style.  This look told me that Michelle can manage household duties, run a meeting at Public Allies, join Barack at a rally, attend a dinner meeting with campaign staffers to strategize for the next day, and get home in time to make sure Malia and Sasha brushed their teeth and said their prayers before bed.

Whether a deliberate tactic or not, this shift from business suit to tailored dress makes a statement.  It brings Michelle home to everyone.  Her look, like the campaign message, is the look of everywoman, not solely a high-powered attorney.  And it shows she is comfortable in this role.

I continued my fashion watch during the rest of the week, noting Michelle's choices on each night while assessing the oration.  Michelle continued to surprise with olive and dreamy white concoctions, all with appropriate and matching jewelry.  The night of Barack's acceptance speech, her patterned and again brooched Thakoon Panichgul kimono dress was powerful in its uniqueness, telling of culture and fashion awareness while being extremely approachable.  Bravo.

Today I was standing in my neighborhood bodega, perusing the magazines, and I noticed all of the press photos on the covers of local and national papers of John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, austere in her black skirt suit, and I felt a longing for more color, more stylistic variety.  The suit no longer holds the same power it once did thanks to Michelle Obama.  Mrs. Obama brought about this change by displaying the work of new and fresh dress designers on the most important stage of all.

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