Michelle Obama or Mrs. O has leveraged her home town of Chicago into quite a fashion center for simple Midwestern styles with a big city edge. Her sleeveless tops and stylish shoes are echoed on many working mothers and young professionals bustling about the windy city in summer or winter. Since the First Lady came upon the national scene she has made an excellent fashion idol by mixing interesting colors and layering a sweater for just the right occasion.
Now a lot of off the rack separates are flying out of the department stores as more people embrace her common sense looks. The Fashion Council of American has dubbed Mrs. O a fashion icon! That is pretty good for your first nine months in the public eye.
In my opinion Michelle Obama brought back that efficient 60’s look where a simple but high quality dress accessorized with the right bracelet and a simple necklace is contemporary while stylish. Connect that to her earthy, mother figure taking good care to raise two young daughters and it is no wonder her approval rating and her fashion sense are being applauded.
Many of the anchor department stores are gushing with praise as Macy’s, J Crew and designer maven Tommy Hilfiger among the most notable. Michelle Obama has brought the pretty and demur back into the limelight and carried Chicago fashion right along for the ride.
Think the intersection of fashion and politics is just about Michelle Obama’s toned arms and Hillary Clinton’s bland pantsuits?
Then you need a history lesson: prepare to be dazzled by lots of American flag draping and Mao wear at the FIT Museum‘s (located at 7th Ave and 27th St in NYC) new Fashion & Politics exhibition, showcasing 200 years of stylish political statements.
Among the exhibits:
…a woman’s costume, circa 1889, printed with an American flag motif, as well as Catherine Malandrino’s iconic Flag Dress, worn by numerous celebrities and socialites to express patriotism after 9/11, and then again in response to the 2008 elections. Also featured will be an “IKE” dress from the 1956 Eisenhower Campaign, a “NIXON” paper dress, and memorabilia from the historic 2008 presidential elections.
Interesting sidenote: I always associate Malandrino’s dress–which can still be purchased for the tidy sum of $450–with the patriotic aftermath of 9/11, but the dress was actually designed in the spring of 2001, then relaunched this year to commemorate Obama’s inaguration and Malandrino’s 10th anniversary.
Also on display will be outfits representing Civil War women’s support of the Union and Confederacy (modeled on their male soldier counterparts), early 20th century “split skirts” that allowed women to comfortably ride bicycles, and denim jumpsuits worn by Rosie the Riveters during WWII.
And while not part of the official Fashion and Politics exhibit, Isabel Toledo’s unforgettable chartreuse design worn by First Lady Michelle Obama at 2009’s Presidential Inauguration can be viewed at the museum as well.
View local news station NY1’s preview of the the show here, and a slideshow of the show’s design’s here.