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inauguration style

Michelle Obama: The rise and rise of the neighbourhood girl.

BY Victoria Luckie 2009

What does a girl wear when her husband is about to be inaugurated as America’s most popular President for ages? How does she pick an outfit knowing that if she makes a mistake it will live on being repeated in newsreels for  decades?

The name on the lips of every well-heeled Chicago lady of a certain age right now is Ikram the high-end Chicago boutique where Michelle Obama ordered her inauguration outfit. The final ensemble by Isabel Toledo was stylish and practical. Sending all the right messages, it was made of quality fabrics like wool, lace and silk.The fifties-style cut was evocative of a golden age with a nod to America’s style sweetheart Jackie Kennedy.  When paired with the classic bob hair style, ribbon-tie coat and gloves it shouted or rather inferred politely conservatism.


Even the ‘cutting-edge’ lemon grass colour and heavy embroidery was reminiscent of the late fifties and early sixties. The only break from tradition being a glitzy necklace (and even that was vintage) and her mis-matched Jimmy Choo’s.  Though much has been made of the latter; in my view these were not glaringly out of place for the occasion, especially when compared to Jackie K’s dreadful inauguration pixie boots.

At the neighbourhood ball Mrs Obama wore cream, a fact many would-be political analysts have attached a lot of significance to due to Jackie Kennedy having worn white. Yet that was where the similarity ended. Sparkling gently, in a filmy one shouldered Jason Wu dress, the new First Lady smiled and shifted a little uncomfortably on her feet. Michelle Obama looked more like a book nerd who has just woken up and found herself prom queen. The overall effect was more Cinderella than style icon. as befitted the bride of America’s new Prince Charming.

(I wrote this for my course newspaper at City University 2009 I never found out if the paper was published with thanks to Reuters News for letting me watch the OBAMA inauguration  while on observation in their newsroom ).

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