New York Times fashion reporter Eric Wilson rapturously reviewed the First Lady's inaugural clothes in Tuesday's news section, not fashion pages, of the Times. His article was warmly introduced with a front-page tease, "A First Lady Unafraid to Look Like a Million Bucks."
Fashion is no longer the forbidden subject it once was in American politics.
Embracing expensive designer clothes -- and a lot of them -- has not been a problem for Michelle Obama in the way that similar pursuits haunted Nancy Reagan, or even Jacqueline Kennedy.
Changing a hairstyle, as Mrs. Obama did on Thursday, was not the cause for alarm that it was for Hillary Rodham Clinton, even though the president himself was moved to address Mrs. Obama’s new bangs as “the more significant event of this weekend.”
To some, this inauguration, in fact, may have been as much an occasion for celebrating the first lady’s style as it was for President Obama’s second term, and it demonstrated, once again, just how cannily she has used fashion to define her image, without becoming defined by it. Her choices are safe but interesting, with enough of a story and a variety to keep fashion obsessives engrossed. Wearing a broad array of mostly American designers also feeds into the idea that she is doing her part for the fashion industry.
Wilson previously crowned Michelle Obama "the First Lady of Fashion" in an April 15, 2010 article: "Often called the First Lady of Fashion, Mrs. Obama has a sense of style, as we all know by now, that rivals Jackie Kennedy's. She has boosted the spirits of the American fashion industry with her unconventional mix of avant-garde newcomers and off-the-rack Talbots, and claimed a Council of Fashion Designers of America style-icon award along the way."