Monday, April 6, 2009

Michelle Obama's Recessionista Fashion Sense

Being the First Lady of the United States of America, you would think that Michelle Obama would be dressed in designer duds from head-to-toe. Michelle Obama commands my respect that she mix-and-matches high end designer fashion like Jimmy Choo with mall brands like J. Crew in her ensembles. She combines classic elegance and grace with modern touches, like pairing a conservative black Michael Kors Cardigan with her edgy Azzedine Alaia studded belt. I must say that I love her Azzedine Alaia belts! They are gorgeously clingy like Alaia's dresses; no wonder he is nicknamed as the "king of cling"!

My favorite looks for Michelle Obama

Among the many outfits that adorn Michelle Obama's tall silhouette in her public appearances, these are my my 4 most favorite outfits: 1. Maria Pinto Ruffled Blouse paired with a thick belt and high-waisted skirt; 2. J. Crew crystal constellation cardigan paired with a J. Crew dazzling-dots pencil skirt; 3. Oversized white bow blouse by Moschino, worn with a black pencil skirt by Michael Kors, black cardigan and Azzedine Alaia studded belt; 4. Thakoon Silk Dress. Amongst all the outfits, my personal favorite item is her Ruffled Blouse from Chicago designer Maria Pinto (the same woman who designed Mrs Obama's purple dress). I found out that this blouse's ruffled effect is achieved through individually folded and sewn squares; no wonder it sits so beautifully on her.

Close up of the Maria Pinto Ruffled Blouse

While many may applaud Mrs Obama on her fashion savviness and frugality, others are saying that she has shown zero interest in the big guns of American fashion like Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta (with the exception of Michael Kors), and deliberately going for emerging designer names like Jason Wu, Thakoon Panichgul, Narciso Rodriguez, and Tracy Reese (my personal favorite brand for dresses) and mall brands like J. Crew. You might ask who cares about one woman’s wardrobe choices in this time of turmoil? A lot of people. Fashion choices made by our First Lady can really boost the sales for a particular designer or brand. Take the J. Crew crystal constellation cardigan that Michelle wore during a visit to Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre in London on Wednesday for example. The $298 cardigan was completely sold out by 10 am that morning, and her $158 dazzling-dots pencil skirt was practically sold out as well. I think that the cardigan is gorgeous, but the $298 price tag is still a little steep for me. Apparently, many people choose to disagree because there is currently a 200-person waiting list for that $298 cardigan! It has been reported that J. Crew has seen a 64 percent increase in their stock price in the past 4 months since Mrs. Obama started wearing their clothing in her public appearances.

J. Crew crystal constellation cardigan

Michelle Obama’s image is indeed under incredible scrutiny as the first African-American First Lady in history. Nevertheless, I think she is revolutionizing the political fashion arena one emerging designer at a time; and appealing to so many women across America by wearing brands that are affordable for the average female. In my opinion, her message to the fashion world is "You can still look fabulous by mixing high-end fashion with affordable brands." That is a true Recessionista attitude!