Please be seated

This looks like a happy little confab:

Michelle Obama and Jill Biden

My fondness for Jill Biden in red has already been noted, and once again, Michelle Obama comes up with a quirky pattern. Since the First Lady’s fashion choices have so often been hit-or-miss, I have to reserve comment on this one until I can see what it really looks like.

Oh, wait:

Michelle Obama

I could swear this woman has something resembling a waistline, and I’d bet money it’s not where she’s telling us it is.


  1. Gabrielle Dolly »

    11 June 2010 · 12:07 pm

    Something in the back of my mind… long-forgotten… a vague, foggy memory… about prints and stripes? Plaids and prints? Does she think because it’s not a real tartan pattern, it’s OK? Typical Democrat hair-splitting!

    Oh, and ‘Chelle? Darling? That dress DOES make your ass look big.


  2. GradualDazzle »

    11 June 2010 · 12:19 pm

    Oh. My. Fargin’. Word.

    Not a big fan of Mrs. Obama on her best days, although if she’s wearing something decent, I’ll be glad to say so. This? Not so much.

    GAH! My eyes! I think I just had a seizure.

  3. Tatyana »

    11 June 2010 · 12:44 pm

    Last time I attempted here to express in words my mental image of this Crow In Peacock Feathers I was accused of being envious of her “achievement”(!!!)

    So instead I’ll just say this:

  4. sheri »

    11 June 2010 · 12:56 pm

    Doesn’t every First Lady have a team of dressers — fashion consultants — designers? Are hers on drugs? I mean really. I hope Suzette sees this getup and helps me understand it.

  5. CGHill »

    11 June 2010 · 1:08 pm

    I will admit that I kind of like Mrs O’s shoes here: they’re serenely uncomplicated, and, as is often her practice, they don’t match anything else she’s wearing.

  6. Suzette »

    11 June 2010 · 1:54 pm

    I admit that this outfit had me stumped for a while but I believe this is the most likely explanation:

    She probably cooked this thing up with the help of a Weather Pixie-type avatar – you know, those little images where you can chose the type of hair, type of pants, type of shoes, etc until the figure looks like you. She must have been working on it, got called away, Bo the dog took a swipe at the keyboard and changed the selections right before Jason Wu happened to be passing pass by. He copied the image and thought to please MOO by making her design come to life. THIS IS THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES SENSE. Anything else would be just crazy.

    Also, I can’t shake the idea that maybe those shoes match some kind of brass thong.

  7. unimpressed »

    11 June 2010 · 2:57 pm

    I’m about as lacking in fashion sense as one can get, but I must acknowledge a Master Lacker when I see one.

  8. Baby M »

    11 June 2010 · 3:12 pm

    During World War II, they used to paint ships in “dazzle scheme” patterns to disguise their configuration and make it harder to determine the ship’s course and speed when looking through a periscope.

    I doubt the First Lady is in any immediate danger from U-boat wolf packs, so the dazzle scheme seems kind of unnecessary in this application.

  9. Lisa Paul »

    11 June 2010 · 3:52 pm

    Lone voice of dissent here. As a short woman, I’ve always been told that only tall women can get away with lots of patterns. If Michelle isn’t that “tall woman” I’m not sure who is.

    And isn’t it to be admired that she looks as if she dresses herself without an army of expensive stylists armed with outrageously priced clothes? Who would pay for those stylists and those designer clothes? Is that the sort of expenditure that would be appropriate in these times — even if the party coffers coughed up for it? And wouldn’t you rather have a First Lady more focussed on issues and her causes than being a fashion plate?

    THis conversation strikes me as being on the same level as the chatter about whether Sarah Palin has had breast implants.

  10. CGHill »

    11 June 2010 · 4:14 pm

    Fair enough, though I feel compelled occasionally to cock a snook at the doofuses who think Mrs O is the second coming of Jackie Kennedy, when half the time she’s lucky to look like Jackie Chan.

    And as a general rule, I don’t get too exercised over what the White House occupants spend on frills and fripperies, since I think the President is substantially underpaid, especially compared to the vast armada of lesser officials pulling down six figures a year.

  11. Tatyana »

    11 June 2010 · 4:53 pm

    What “issues”?
    She made no contribution to anything- other than order White House fountains to be colored green for St. Patty’s Day – what a noble idea! – and how could she? She is about as equipped to fit her chair as her husband – direct oil-spill clean-up effort.

    “Her causes” indeed. The only “causes” this pair of incompetents have are their own personal aggrandizement and enrichment – in plebeian, monetary sense.

    Michelle Obama’s staff of 25 cost us more than $1.75 million annually.
    Note the date on this item – Spetember of last year. I’m sure in a year passed her budget was increased.

  12. ak4mc »

    11 June 2010 · 5:36 pm

    Some threads here at Dustbury are like “The View” but with actual IQ points.

  13. CGHill »

    11 June 2010 · 5:43 pm

    I try not to Behar myself.

  14. Lisa Paul »

    11 June 2010 · 6:38 pm


    I imagine Mrs. Obama would emit the loudest hoot of all at being called a fashion plate — as she’s obviously not and makes no pretense or efforts to be so. She is a healthy, fit woman who appears very comfortable in her own skin and with her priorities firmly focussed away from clothes except with a nod to comfort and the patterns which she seems to love. And patterns are fun to wear. I always find myself grabbing for them first, until I hear that nagging voice of fashion editors saying short women always have to wear solids. Damn.

    I also have an inkling what a huge time investment it is to look like those fashion plates. Probably the best dressed I ever was or ever will be was between ages 12-15. I was stick thin and my girlfriends and I were obsessed with making our own clothes and got into tailoring. I can remember spending several weekday afternoons each week trolling the fabric stores and pattern shops sourcing the perfect fabric, patterns and trimmings. Then it would take several weekends of sleepovers and several pairs of hands to line, trim and tuck. I can remember holding my arms out for more than one Brady Bunch episode in a row, just so my friends could tuck and pin an outfit for tailoring.

    All I’m saying is, if it took that amount of time, effort and labor for a seventh grader to approach some level of fashion fabulosity, can you imagine what it takes as the years and pounds inch upward and your life is filled with so many more demands on your time. I don’t begrudge any woman for throwing up her hands and saying, “Forget it. I’ll buy off the rack, dress for comfort and be done with the whole process in ten minutes.”

    And, by the way, I’ve read several biographies and books about Jackie O and apparently, her favorite outfit out of the limelight were stretch pants, baggy sweaters and a scarf over her hair. Not to say that she probably didn’t look fabulous in them. But she had the luxury of not being on camera all the time — something no modern First Lady has. Still even Jackie took a break from fashion every chance she got.

  15. CGHill »

    11 June 2010 · 7:01 pm

    It wouldn’t bug me quite as much were it not so distressingly evident that when Michelle’s dressed up properly, she looks like a million uninflated bucks. (Okay, the persistent scowl costs a few thou.) Admittedly, she’s not the tabula rasa beloved of couture designers, who prefer to hang their frocks on girls the general shape of twelve-year-old boys, but there are ways around every conceivable figure flaw, even those that aren’t flaws at all. (See, for instance, the diminutive Kylie Minogue.)

    I concede the point about buying off the rack, though: most of us aren’t in any position to insist on bespoke fashion. I’ve had a couple of things reshaped for me over the years, though my own shape, alas, tends to be a bit too variable to make a habit of this.

  16. Nicole »

    11 June 2010 · 7:05 pm

    Dressing herself or not, girlfriend really, really needs to get herself on What Not To Wear. I’m sure she is fit and has a decent figure but she sure doesn’t dress to flatter herself.

  17. Lisa Paul »

    11 June 2010 · 7:14 pm

    Most of us can pull off a degree of fabulosity once in awhile if we really put our minds to it. And most of us can’t be bothered to do it on a consistent basis. It’s just too damn much work. Yes, you can get around a figure flaw, but I remember the huge amount of effort it took a group of 8th grade seamstresses to compensate for my long waistedness — even though I was a size 2. Barbara Stanwyck had the same figure issue and the studio employed one of the great costumers and his staff of dozens to tailor her clothes to adjust for it. Which is why I always admire fashion plates. They pull off something very few of us have the resources or instincts to do.

    Even with Michelle Obama’s staff which, surprisingly are not her personal slaves or dressers and are not out of line with the numbers employed to support her predecessors:

    “As far as Michelle Obama’s staff size being “unprecedented” in modern times, this appears to be factually inaccurate. According to the Washington Post, the Bush White House also had 16 people on staff whose official titles included the term “first lady” working for Laura Bush, and a recent AP story placed her total number of staffers at between 24 and 26. The same AP report also noted that Hillary Clinton had up to 19 staffers, while Lady Bird Johnson and Jacqueline Kennedy had 30 and 40, respectively. To that end,, another Web site dedicated to checking the facts on issues prominent in the public discourse, described the claims of Michelle Obama’s “unprecedented” staff as “grossly inaccurate” and “on par with her predecessor’s.”

  18. Andrea Harris »

    11 June 2010 · 7:45 pm

    I’ve seen photos of her looking perfectly fine in an elegant outfit. This is not one of those outfits, but rather what Jackson Pollack would have come up with if he had gone into clothing design. I am now convinced that Mrs. Obama is doing this deliberately. No one dresses to look like the underside of a carpet unless they are trying to make a statement. I think that statement is “I hate you, America.” Or maybe it’s just a poke in the eye to everyone who demands that the First Lady look classy or at least presentable at all times. I mean, who are we, the little people, to tell Her how to look? I really think that underneath Mrs. Obama’s smiling exterior there lurks a lot of anger at something. She always looks like she’s gritting her teeth when she smiles too. Maybe she just needs to switch to decaf.

  19. ak4mc »

    11 June 2010 · 8:00 pm

    No one dresses to look like the underside of a carpet unless they are trying to make a statement. I think that statement is “I hate you, America.”

    I tend to lean more toward, “I get dressed with the lights off.”

  20. Teresa »

    11 June 2010 · 10:38 pm

    Part of being the First Lady is knowing that any time you go out the door you will be on camera. Jackie knew that – she never ever wore her “kick back and relax” clothes when she left the living area of the White House (this has been noted time and again by many people over the years).

    This is the trade off made for being President or the President’s family. Don’t want cameras breathing down your neck every minute of the day? Well don’t run for President and dissuade your spouse from running. Period.

    The First Couple are supposed to represent the US – all the time – not just when they feel like it. That’s why it’s the toughest job in the world. Part of that job is look decent whenever you will be in public. As this was a planned public affair and NOT a trip to the local grocery store – she gets no slack for looking like she dragged out the rag bag to get dressed for the occasion.

  21. ian cormac »

    11 June 2010 · 11:00 pm

    It’s actually a little embarassing the outfits her advisors let her go out in, and the press praise her to the stars. Whereas with Palin, no matter how well she looks, there is an insistance to try to discredit her, hence the latest silly rumor, which is totally without foundation.

    It’s par for the course, like not pointing out hat there is no “Ocean of Mexico” from the leading advisors on the Gulf spill. some of this has faded as the disolutionment has set in.

  22. Baby M »

    14 June 2010 · 8:50 am

    Michelle Obama has a big frame. That’s a fact, not a criticism. It’s in her DNA, and she will never look like a runway model or Zooey Deschanel. As one who comes from a family whose genetic makeup is spring-loaded to “pudgy,” I understand completely. My very lovely sisters probably understand even better.

    That’s not to say Michelle can’t look really sharp, but she needs to select clothes that fit her shape instead of fighting against it–and I don’t care what her build is like, that US Navy Measure 32 dazzle scheme wanabee look isn’t going to flatter any woman. (Not even Zooey.)

    I think this is striking a nerve because of how the Obamas were sold to us during the campaign. They were said to be hip and cool and with it; Michelle the dazzling and elegant spouse, Barack the mighty and inspiring orator with a mind like a steel trap. Now that we’ve been living with them for a couple of years, we’re seeing that these “informed attributes” aren’t up to the hype. The President can do quite well delivering a set-piece address, but he’s nowhere near as persuasive a speaker as the hype led you to believe. When speaking off the cuff he has his inarticulate moments and mispronounciations just like any other mere mortal. He doesn’t know everything about every issue–no president ever has; the good ones are just self-aware enough to know when they need to delegate and ask for help.

    So too with Mrs. Obama: she’s not anywhere near as elegant, visually or in manners, as her hagiographers would lead you to believe.

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