Proof that a woman’s worst enemy is almost always another woman:
As a distant observer of fashion, but a close student of the semiotics of female power, I am a little puzzled by Michelle (Obama’s) frequent choice of sleeveless dresses at official moments. She is an attractive woman, whose height gives her a commanding presence, and it is clear that she puts effort into toning those upper arms. So the dresses look good; but this is not about pretty. She is in her forties, and the sleeveless sheath is the province of younger women, and/or socialites; it works for cocktails or a barbeque, but not church or work. (And yes, she is clearly channeling Jackie Kennedy. But Jackie’s clothes — and everyone’s in the early 1960s — were a lot more grown up and sophisticated.) The sleeveless bit seems too casual, and maybe a little too revealing for the role she is currently playing, and the one to which she aspires. Successful First Ladies — and here Laura Bush is a good model — manage to convey a careful mix of distance and familiarity.
Meow! Maybe Mrs. O. wants to demonstrate her lack of Kill Whitey tattoos. (Note that I am not so catty as to reproduce a photo of Mrs. Bush in one of her fun, distantly familiar outfits. But TBogg did.)
I expect we’re in for a great deal more of this. As a frumpy resident of the frumpiest part of the heartland, I only recently learned the meaning of “style” when used as a verb. My daughter’s friends, all cable-TV subscribers, “put together outfits” for one another, holding them up on hangers with necklaces and accessories draped over them. “Who are you wearing” is not a question for Jame Gumb anymore.
But you know what I like about the way Mrs. Obama dresses? That it looks like she does it herself. Maybe she doesn’t, but there’s a certain pleasant simplicity to her style, like she has a closet full of good, classic clothes and flattering accessories that she could put on in the dark and still stand an 80 percent chance of looking fine. I’m tired of all this batshit Pat Field “Sex and the City” sartorial lunacy. Michelle Obama wears her clothes; they don’t wear her.
In other words, she doesn’t need Andre Leon Talley, and if she has half the brain she took to Princeton, she’ll keep a few million miles between the two of them.
I’m always running out of here early on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but after weeks of dragging myself through Rob’s 10 a.m. torture sessions at the gym, I’m finally feeling — if not seeing — some results. So I’m giving it priority. But I’ll be back later, to fill out the ideas for the last two genres in the DWIFF challenge — mockumentary and chick flick. (Groan.)