Mrs-O.com is a blog dedicated to chronicling the fashion and style of First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded September 2008. 





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Mrs. O Takes Miami

Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images

First Lady Mrs. O is in Miami today, speaking at the Florida Campus Compact Awards Gala held at Miami-Dade College in Miami, FL. The event is held annually to honor students and teachers from across the state of Flordia for their commitment to public service - one of the first lady's primary issues of focus.

Per the Miami Herald, Mrs. O asked the crowd: 

"How do we show these young people that service is more than what you do once in a while, or for a year or two after college?"

Well chosen for the southern climate and event, Mrs. O wore for a brightly printed floral dress, topped with J.Crew Merino flutter bow cardigan (...and as luck would have it, the cardigan's on sale). 

P.S. Our apologies for neglecting to mention ... the first lady also spent her early afternoon at Eglin Airforce Base (sans cardigan), speaking with military families stationed there. Further reading here.

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Reader Comments (75)

Love the dress. Can someone tell me whose it is? Also and I don't mean to be negative, I truly am looking for answer--regarding those cardigans. Since she wears them so much and sometimes in this case I think they break up the look of the dress/oufit, why doesn't she just wear long sleeves if she is cold? I think the look would be a bit smarter esp as I know she spends quite a bit on the dress if the first place. Seems odd to then put a cheaper cardigan over it. Can someone explain? Shelly

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered Commentershelly

The dress is goregeous.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 6:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBella R

The dress looks very familiar to me, but I can't quite place it at the moment ...

Also, wanted to let everyone know ... apologies if the posts have been a bit slow over the past few days. I'm in Mexico for a wedding through Sunday and blogging remotely. Trying to enjoy myself too, hence the slight gaps in blogging / moderation...

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 6:56 PM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

Mrs. T - You deserve a nice weekend, and the posts did not seem slow to me!

I love the way this dress fits Mrs. O. And that cardigan will not be available for long!

I for one am not taking the bait on your comments, shelly.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 7:33 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

Mrs O, can do no wrong. She looks wonderful. Purchased Barack and Michelle Portrait of An American Marraige yesterday very informative and interesting, gives a slight look into their lives.Completed reading today. A great love story. Love them. Can't wait for your book Mrs. T.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterdkchoc

Sorry you feel I was baiting Bevi. I was not. I am older and take a more traditional view than many of you and I am just trying to be open to seeing things a new way. They only way I know how to is through asking all of you. Shelly

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered Commentershelly

I think Mrs. O looks lovely. The large floral print seems so appropriate for Florida. What appears to be a floral design on the cardigan seems to compliment it for me.

Mrs. T, I hope you're having a good, relaxing time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:34 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

Ooooh Mexico! Sounds like fun! Enjoy yourself Mrs.T, and the posts have been great. Your doing a great job.

I like this outfit. I think it's one of her more simple ones which is never a bad thing.
That print of the dress does look kinda familiar to me too. The pattern is really interesting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 8:44 PM | Registered CommenterAri

Have a juicy burger in Mexico Mrs T. I had the best tasting burger (and endless supplies of fresh squeezed juice) in Guadalajara recently, I was amazed. Apologies to any vegetarians/vegans.
Mrs O looks beautiful and effortless as usual, but more importantly, it's her messages that always strike a chord with me. What a smart, real, insightful woman .

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 9:17 PM | Registered CommenterCamille

Politico has a 7 minute video of her speech:


I question whether or not this is a dress. It has a solid yellow skirt. At her second event, outside at Eglin AFB in Pensacola (very hot she said), she took the cardigan off. Should be pictures coming on it. The top appears fitted at the waist with some sort of pleating below it.

This speech was my preferred one over her second--not that the second one was bad.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 9:27 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

I saw the pictures earlier and I thought Mrs. O looked radiant.I like the way the print in the dress is similar to the oversize motif on the cardigan. These are really nice clors for fall even though it was hot as the dickens in Florida today.I saw the cardigan on line and it is rather lightweight so she probably wore it more for the A/C indoors. Some posters have wondered why she pushes her sleeves up instead of leaving them long as is. I saw Randolph Duke style a model on HSN and he said he does it so the arms won't look inordinately long, as well as it's fashionable.
Also, ladies if you like the style of this dress, check out www.Spiegel.com they have several at some really affordable prices. HAPPY SHOPPING !!!
P.S. Mrs.T I hope you enjoy your vacation!

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 10:25 PM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit

The only slight full length view showed a dress with a print top, a mostly plain skirt with ombre stripes of shades of orange - light to dark - at the bottom of the skirt - and some of the floral print at the top of the softly pleated skirt. Pleated softly (unpressed) rather than gathered.

I am wondering if this is a fabric that has a wide floral band next to a plain area with an ombre stripe at the opposite edge, that has been worked using the width of the fabric rather than cut on the length as is usual. Border prints are handled this way. We'll see.

This particular cardigan doesn't seem to do the pretty dress justice. One fashioned like the black cropped bolero swater she wears so often would have been better - but in a color complimentary to the colors in the dress fabric.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 10:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

Here is that minimal full length view that I referred to. The pattern is more dense in the top, dwindles off in the top of the skirt, the skirt becomes plain in color, then there is an ombre band at the bottom:


And here is a closeup of the waistline of the dress with the soft pleating:


Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

Closeup of sweater detail:


Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee


Honestly, I don't think any of us her can answer your question because we're not her. My only thought is that she simply likes cardigans. It doesn't matter if you or I would prefer that she wear something else; she's going to dress the way she's going to dress.

(And I don't think you're being negative. It's just not a question that anyone here could have any insight in, beyond the obvious.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 11:11 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

Mrs.O also visited Military Families today in Eglin (Fort Walton Beach Florida). Just thought I'd add. She talked to our men and women serving this country.That deserves mention as well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnnabele Lola


I was tempted to take the bait, but I decided not too. The post reaks ignorance.

Thursday, October 15, 2009 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterBella R

Not about fashion but very touching


Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterdenisegirl

I'd love to see this dress (or is it a top with separate skirt?) in better lighting. One article I read described dominant color in both top & cardigan as lavender. I actually think a thin belt over the cardie would be great here.

Not to dive too deeply into the Cardigan Wars, Shelly, but cardies are more versatile than wearing a long-sleeved top or a jacket. (It was 90+ in Florida today!) It's also much softer look. Pushing up the cardie-sleeves makes it personal and is practical for tall women whose off-the-rack sleeves may be a little short. It's probably become a habit with her, too, and something to do with her hands. I actually think Mrs. O is a little bit shy, but she enjoys people & causes so she jumps in.

PS - Mrs. T, hope you're having a lovely vacay down Mexico way.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

Shelly, returning to the subject of cardigans in general. There are so many different styles now. You can really dress a look up or down. It's especially good for softening a look. On a practical level, they're fantastic for people like me who are often cold, but then went through The Change where I was hot AND cold all the time! Now, I'm back to just being cold when I'm cold. They're also very easy to carry around, don't wrinkle, or take up much room in a purse, etc.

I'd recommend that you try an inexpensive one from Target or The Gap. You'll be a convert, I swear!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:55 AM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

Shelly, have you ever worked in an office that was hot in the morning and cold in the afternoon (or vice versa)? Had to go from the hot outdoors into an overly air-conditioned building (or from the cold into a building that was overheated)? If you have, then you'll understand why layering works better than just wearing long sleeves.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 1:21 AM | Registered CommenterHyde Parker

I have to say, she makes that sweater look better than it does in the J. Crew catalog. I'm not totally in love with those tissue-thin, close-cut cardigans for myself, though I know they are very "in" right now. I just have a vision of my arms looking like sausages ready to burst out of the casing.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 1:30 AM | Registered CommenterChristina

She looks wonderful. I agree that only she can answer those questions that Shelly asks. Though I think perhaps it's more that it matches the background colour of her dress and less it's a cheaper addition.

If it helps any, I have always loved cardigans and have many in a variety of different materials ranging from cashmere to crochet and I wear them over skirts, dresses and trousers casually and professionally. I even have tailored jackets that are cardigans! For me they are comfortable, flexible and flattering and a useful way to layer for warmth during the Winter when I personally find it awkward to put on a winter coat over a jacket all the time. I am petite so always need to reduce the bulk....
On the other hand if I'm somewhere too warm for me, I simply peel it off and it fits neatly in my bag. It also means I get extra mileage out of sleeveless dresses/tops that would normally not be used in Winter time. Great for transitional weather. Even in Summer I often find myself in places where it's too cold with the a/c and reach for my cardigan to save my shivers.
Plus I've noticed that the cardigan helps to disguise my tummy area when I'm feeling a bit bloated.

Have fantasticl time Mrs T!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 2:24 AM | Registered CommenterCouture Coco

This is a beautiful dress...so appropriate for Florida. Cardigans are among my favorite pieces of clothing, and I wear one nearly every day except in the summer. This cardigan looks great with the dress.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 4:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

Christina: I forgot to add that I think you would really like Italian merino wool if you tried on a sweater fabricated from it. It's not really that thin, it's very soft and it drapes beautifully. I am hooked on the Italian merino wool cardigans at J.Jill, which is my favorite place to shop. They have several different styles, including a longer cardigan which comes in many beautiful colors. They are also adding more colors after Oct. 21st, and I can't wait to see them!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 4:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

The cardigan makes the dress more versatile and comfortable in changing temperatures. With the beautiful colors in the dress think about the possibilities of other complementary cardigans and jackets to change the look. For a Miami appearance this choice is perfect. It is nice to see a First Lady who isn't stuck in a stiff office-looking suit.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 6:51 AM | Unregistered Commentercapitolhiller

I love love love the print on her dress but (for me ) the cardigan is overpriced for what it is.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 7:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterjestina

Mrs O always look so radiant and full of life. I love coral color, and the layered look. Coral is one my favorite colors this year. I think anything she wears looks good on her. I wear coral and orange and get lots of compliments too. Mrs. Obama, keeps us wondering.....I'm here everyday.

Mrs.T have fun.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered Commenternuvision

I just noticed that it's not only a large floral print, but a rather tropical print as well. I love it. And I think the sweater works well with it. Mrs. O looks great.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 9:06 AM | Registered CommenterWillow

I really like the print and color of this dress. Very Miami!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterTracy

@Shelly- for modern professional woman like myself, the cardigan is a wonderful layering tool. Long sleeves are not always the answer. But layering with cardigans over dresses and blouses and tees and tops gives us versatility, flexibility, and adds another style element to an outfit.

I really wish folks would accept the fact that Mrs. O loves a cardigan and that is that! Enough said! It is what it is! If it is not for you then it's not for you! But please let it go.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterAttyGirl

Beautiful outfit. This is a particularly pretty cardigan - such delicate applique. That's one of my favourite colours too so I WANT ONE! Not so enamoured of the dress because I'm not keen on prints, but the cut is lovely. She looks very chic in the whole ensemble.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 11:10 AM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

@ charlene in detroit

I think your right,I'm slightly taller than Mrs.O and I always push up my sleeves because they usually hit quite a bit above my wrist

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 11:11 AM | Registered CommenterDee1814

I can't tell you why Michelle Obama wears cardigans so often, but I can tell you why I do: 1. mostly to deal with temperature variations. Going from a cold office to a hot car to a cold restaurant or store in the course of a day (not to mention some of Mrs. O's venues--that airport tarmac is probably 120 degrees) makes layering essential. Many offices keep their temperatures on the cool side to accomodate men who are wearing 3 layers (undershirt, dress shirt and suit coat) so just a long-sleeve dress isn't enough. 2. a twin set is a softer alternative to a traditional women's suit, and wearing 2 layers puts an outfit more on a par with a man's suit. I switched from wearing tailored suits all the time to cardigan twin sets with either a skirt or pants, and still look dressy enough for my office but am more comfortable, while spending less on clothes and their upkeep.
I think Mrs. Obama's cardies are perfect for her lifestyle!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 11:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandy Beach

I'm with Shelly on the cardigan issue. And I am perfectly happy to have everyone jump all over me.

I agree with whomever it was who pointed out that the cardigan detracts from dress which is a very nice dress indeed and looks beautiful on the First Lady...from what we can see of it.

I understand the "democratic" appeal of "high-low" dressing (mixing designer clothes with massmarket like J Crew) and I think that kind of mixing can be successful.

However, in this instance the cardigan (which is very sweet) is way too unconstructed (designer trade word) and "slouchy" to be paired with this kind of well-tailored dress. It cheapens the dress.

I understand comfort and layering. I've been through menopause as a public figure. Now that I am retired I wear cardigans almost every day. Yes, they are comfortable. But in public places, they have a sort of sophomoric connotation.

I would have thought that the lovely J Crew cardigan in this picture would look great over a summery dress at a garden party, or with a straight skirt with perhaps a camisole underneath, or buttoned all the way up to the neck or near it over a nice pair of pants. But not here with this dress.

Here are a couple of J Crew cardigans currently on the website, one paired with a gathered skirt and another with a straight skirt. I think the first works particularly well, although its not for a work-related setting unless you work in design or film etc.



Friday, October 16, 2009 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterkbarch

Sorry, after seeing the full length picture and understanding that this a straight skirt with horizontal stripes...I have to soften my criticism of the cardigan a bit. I'm still not crazy about it but the coordinated top and skirt (if it is indeed separates) is less formal than I thought.

But I'll stick with my earlier point of agreement with Shelly...too many cardigans, sometimes in the wrong pairings.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterkbarch

Well, I love the whole look. She wears a v-neck so well, and the colors are spot-on for Florida.

As a woman who wears cardigans a LOT, I am often surprised that I have pushed my sleeves up. It's unconscious much of the time.

Keep in mind that we see her here at a podium. But she shakes about a jillion hands at these things. A knit "gives" in a way a rigid fabric (even one with spandex) does not. And it looks prettier when it's stretched a bit as she moves her arms.

Don't ya'll think we're dissecting this to death???

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:11 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

Here's a video of Mrs. O without the cardigan talking to the troops---a full length look in the beginning of the video. (Man I want those arms--shows strength and beauty). I really like the print and colors of the dress as well, especially for the climate of Florida. I also love to hear her words as well. The dress pattern is very unusual. The floral pattern stops about a third way down and then horizontal colors. I'm digging it--she's an incredibly bold woman.


Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterJanelle

She's dressing wisely. It's 85 in So Cal today. The calendar says fall, but the reality is, I'm in cap sleeves and a lightweight skirt! Dress for where you are - who would go to Hawaii and pack cashmere? Smart, Mrs. O: If Miami is sizzling, dress the part. Very nice look.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered Commentercanyongal


LOL!! You don't work for any of these stores, but you must work for the Pres or be an economist because you find all the good deals and send us looking, ready to boost the economy. Too funny!!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 12:51 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Here's a good full length shot of the dress, sans cardigan, taken at Eglin Air Force Base.

I came up with my earlier (speculative) description from a photo that showed only bits of the skirt. And from a photo that was out of balance color-wise - too far to the yellow and red end of the spectrum.


Friday, October 16, 2009 at 1:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

Thanks Janelle for the video link of her speech. My goodness she looks gorgeous in that dress. The way her skin glows and she looks so radiant. I love how the dress starts with a print at the top and then creates an ombre effect at the bottom. With skin and a body like that, who would want to cover up their arms all the time?

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 2:07 PM | Registered CommenterAri

Michelle looks so cute in that fabuloso outfit with its yummy colors that I just want
to reach out and hug her right now.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermsjones

OT for an old thread, but, Mrs. T -- Here's something to add to the stargazing look. Mrs O being announced by Girl Scouts of America as their new honorary national president. It's something all first ladies receive, I believe. Anyway. Cute pic of Pres & Mrs O with leaders and young scouts. She's coordinating with their uniforms!


Friday, October 16, 2009 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind


I think you're absolutely right about merino wool sweaters -- I have a few and I love them. But, you know how these very thin, light cashmere sweaters seem to be in now? I think Mrs. O was wearing four of them on the cover of Essence when she was posing with her Mom...(I'm JOKING, EVERYONE)

Anyway, they are thin because you're supposed to layer them, and have them look very casual and slouchy. I do get that, but...mmm...just not sure that totally works for me.

However, there was an J.Crew argyle sweater that Mrs. O wore at some occasion (a gray and yellow pattern) that was a bit more substantial, and I bought that sweater for myself and really like it.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 3:10 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

Hey Guys, Thanks so much for lifting my spirits while I help you empty your pockets! I appreciate it so much and hope the info helps. I know some people don't like Flotus' belts, but for those that do, well here you go....... If you like her favorite Sacai studded belt, Spiegel has an elastic one that comes in black as well as purple, item # 2AJ 45763 $29. Also, if you liked the one she wore by DVF, Spiegel also has one that is similar, item # 25 P0487 was $59 now on sale for $29.99. HAPPY SHOPPING !!!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 5:24 PM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit

Hi Gang,

I love the colors. Mrs. O'bama has really given us people who like colors a reason to celebrate.

Shelly, your comment is very helpful and I agree with a sharper look without this cardigan. Also, I think the front is cut to low!


Friday, October 16, 2009 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterLisa

See Mrs T, the First Lady wears two beautiful pieces, but the pattern on the sweater is so strong it conflicts with the pattern of the dress. If the sweater had been simple, the outfit would have worked perfectly. It's like having really good food ingredients and putting them together wrong. And it's not like her husband can help her out in this department either!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered Commentersorryfor hatin' it

Further thoughts on jacket vs cardigan.

Have y'all seen what's current in jackets? It's all big shoulders: either 80s-style rounded line-backer Dynasty shoulder-pads or spearing-out futuristic shoulders or intricate folds ballooning out or layers of gee-gaws that add heft to the shoulder.

It's a hard-edged look that only model type figures can rock. i don't think the look would flatter Mrs. O or many of the rest of us either. Bigger women don't look good in them and, I know, shrimps like me look pretty silly in this style.

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

Here's a video of her speaking at a military base where you can see the dress very well. It's lovely!

Friday, October 16, 2009 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterfreerider

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