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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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Tuesday
Mar172009

Serving on St. Patrick's Day

Photo credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images Mrs. O will don a new look today: construction gear (or a Nina Ricci mohair sweater set). The First Lady is helping to build an affordable, energy-efficient home on the National Mall in a service effort led by YouthBuild - a youth and community development program. Per the AP, the home will help a Texas family that recently lost their home to a hurricane. Mrs. O continued to champion public service in her remarks today:

"Community service is an integral part of empowering our people and making our communities stronger. And service must become a part of each of our lives. It has to be an integral part of each of our lives if we're going to create a more unified nation that we all want and that our President talks so much about."

"...I too found my life enriched when I left my job at a corporate law firm. I thought that was the best thing I'd ever do, making a lot of money in a corporate firm in Chicago. But it wasn't until I stepped away from the corporate track and worked in city government and eventually helped to found the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program, a national service program, that I realized how important public service and community service was to my own development."

Not wearing exactly the type of dungarees we had envisioned, Mrs. O chose a pale yellow mohair sweater set by Nina Ricci. InStyle first revealed the cardigan's origin when it was worn for the Inauguration, paired with Mrs. O's lemongrass Isabel Toledo ensemble. Here Mrs. O wears the sweater set with cropped gray pants and blue hiking boots - a chic new take on construction gear we suppose. Update: While not everyone is loving today's look, Bluefly's blog, Flypaper, features a stunning profile image of Mrs. O from the event. Tonight the Obamas will also host a St. Patrick's Day celebration at the White House. Early signs indicate it will be a festive evening indeed. The fountains on the north and south lawns of the White House have been dyed green. The idea was Mrs. O's very own, borrowing a tradition from the city of Chicago, where the river is dyed green every St. Patrick's Day. An image and further detail follows at the Huffington Post.

Reader Comments (135)

and how about Mrs O being honored by CDFA??????
WOWSER!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Woo-hoo, photos please...
sounds like a wonderful organization

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterPerry
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

Thanks for the correction, Mrs. T! I thought the designer of that inauguration cardigan was Rykiel, for some reason.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

From what I see so far, she looks great! It's actually something I would wear. I don't see the footwear but I am sure there will be more pics in good time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

I love the green fountain at the WH!

The sweater set is a nice pre-spring color to wear in DC this time of year.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

I saw the boots. Not loving them, but I am sure they were functional. With her color scheme, all shades of brown or green construction boots would have worked. She looks great up to the ankles.

Mrs. T, can you show the pics where she wore this sweater set before? I don't recall ever seeing them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Oh Ok, I see the pic that Mrs. T posted of when this sweater set was worn before. It is not really showing because it is under the coat, right?

About St Patrick's ...
Lots of partying going on at the White House every week, I see. Not sure how I feel about that. OK, I guess. Looks forward to seeing Mrs. O in her green dress. If she went to the extent of dying the water green, I imagine that she would do the low hanging fruit of wearing green too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

This is the inauguration sweater? I thought it was the sweater that she wore on Jay Leno. Okay, my knowledge of Mrs. O's clothing is starting to get a little scary.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I like the sweater set, but have never been a fan of pairing that color with grey. It looks washed out to me.

I can't wait to see what Mrs. O wears tonight!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDebra

Hey, who's that I see waaaay in the background, on the left? Could it be...TBG???

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

@ Christina,

That is definitely NOT the Jay Leno sweater. That was a totally different fabric, but similar color. And if you remember clearly, the Jay Leno cardigan had piping of a different color fromw hat I remember.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Kermit spotting, Christina? :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Simply GORGEOUS! See, I can appreciate a great Mrs. O outfit :) And love, love that she rewore the cardigan from inauguration! I hope she stuns us as well tonight.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterJojo

Here is a better glimpse of the Nina Ricci cardigan from the Inauguration:
http://img.timeinc.net/time/photoessays/2009/callie_obama_inauguration/callie_inaug_02.jpg

The J.Crew sweater from the Tonight Show was a similar color but two-tone:
http://images.nymag.com/images/2/daily/2008/10/20081029_tonightshow_560x375.jpg

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

I have to admit, I laughed out loud about the Kermit / TBG parallel last week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

Cute Boots...Are they Timberlands?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBritt

I don't really like the outfit but then again I suppose it's fitting for a roll-up-your sleeves type of thing instead of a gala event. She's so down-to-earth!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterpump9

Kermit-spotting is becoming like "Where's Waldo" for me, Chicagoan!

Okay, I see the difference in the sweaters now, though they do look pretty similar, you have to admit. Pale yellowish-green...

So she's going to be doing work-related stuff in that beautiful sweater? I can hear my mother now: "don't play in your good clothes!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

oh how cute she looks. i want to see the boots close up. cutest construction worker ever.

anybody have close up pics of the water fountain at the white house....i think that is such a fun idea she had.

love her.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered Commentertoi22

@ Mrs. A - are you in the food industry? (low hanging fruit)

I like the boots and the fact she dresses "up" for a manual work day. Mrs. O has a fey quality about her - she sometimes dresses with humor in an adorable way. She does not broadcast this intention, but shows little quirks here and there. An equivalent scenario might be that of a female soccer coach running a practice wearing kid leather gloves in an unusual color with cashmere linings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

I think you have to wear impressive boots on a construction site - stepping on nails, things falling on your feet, etc.

I would have gone with a sweatshirt and dungerees here, like pump9's mom. We know Michelle has dungerees, she was wearing them in the swing set photos.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered Commentertrudy

LOVE Mrs. O!!! Love almost everything she wears, but I am not feeling this outfit at all! I am also 5'11", and I think longer tops work best with pants. They tend to draw the eye downward and keep those of us whose heads are in the clouds a little closer to earth. I can't wait to see what fun, festive ideas she brings out at tonight's WH party.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMs. G

This is not my favorite outfit. I would have gone with nice denim jeans, a fitted turtleneck, and brown boots. But, that's just me--I'm not trying to be critical--just saying this is an unusual choice. I do agree that the color combo is a bit washed out. On the other hand, I don't think Michelle has to be a fashion plate where she goes. I think there are times she will just want to be a regular woman, doing some volunteer work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersusan

Yes...TBG is in the building!

Lovely color of the sweater

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

Does anyone think maybe she's trying to downplay the whole "fashion icon" thing with this look? I think it's a wise move, if she is... get a few not-so-fashionable looks out there to point to before the media starts criticizing you for worrying more about how you look than what you're doing (and we know they'd love the opportunity).

Very, very smart... IF that even plays a part in this look. Not saying it does, just wondering what everyone else thinks.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

Oh Lordy. I was fine with the outfit until I saw the boots. Jezebel has a close-up: http://jezebel.com/5172157/michelle-obamas-boots-were-made-for-mocking

They appear to be tied with something that looks like the tail of a small furry animal. I am not really reading the blue as spunky in this context, but strange--especially as she's not otherwise accessorized. And are the suede? If so, they are completely impractical and somehow become a mockery of real work boots. Not that I think that was her intention or anything.

Mrs. O, explain this one to me because I don't get it!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterLisaC

Hey, Mrs. T,
Tx for the cardigan pics.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Oh, give the lady a break. She supposed to be helping to build stuff, not walking the runway!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterKels

Worst thing she's ever worn. What a relief. I was beginning to think she was a mannequin, not a human woman :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commentert'other Mrs. O

A huge ditto to Kels.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered Commenteredwina

LOL at those boots! I agree with Jezebel. Hey, but all of us have those "I got dressed in the dark" days.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I think the boots are "fur"-lined, though, for what it's worth, with visible "fur" showing at the lace area. I don't think she actually laced them up with the tails of baby squirrels.

(Next Big Controversy: Why does Michelle Obama Hate Squirrels?)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Michelle is doing something upflifting and extremely civic and we are focusing on her cardigans and boots. At what point does this interest in Michelle become unhealthy obsession?
I'm just asking. I wonder about this for myself.
*prepares to get creamed*

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered Commenteredwina

Why is Michelle Obama in highwater pants? It's not the first time I've seen her flooding. No part of this outfit is good, but she gets a pass for today's volunteer work. Can't be a fashion plate every day, I guess.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMara

Edwina -- I'm already there! I've asked myself that same question, and I've decided that I'm able to hold in my brain both the civic pride stuff and the "honey, those boots -- no" stuff.

Someone posted this earlier, and I have to say I thought it was a good point and it made me check myself: we can't be gushing over the beautiful outfits, and then when the not-so-beautiful outfits appear, start saying things like "clothes don't matter!" I know I've caught myself wanting to do that, but it's hypocritical.

At this point, strangely I know, I think of Mrs. O as a friend. And sometimes friends wear unfortunate outfits. You still love them, though. Her more off-the-wall moments just make her seem that much more normal, to me. If she always looked like an exquisitely wrapped Christmas present, that'd be weird.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I wonder if she will be sleeveless tonight..I hope so!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBritt

The color of the fur on the boots looks fine with the color of the pants... but the pants are ill fitting and look awful and the sweater is very out of place. It is beyond me why she would have picked an item that she wore on inauguration day (dressy occasion) to wear to a construction site (very informal occasion).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

Oh dear, oh dear.

But super bonus points for community service.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMagnolia

Leah D, Edwina, Mara, Ms. A, Chistina, Susan, Chicagoan, and all the regulars, you gals, have SINGLEHANDEDLY restored my faith in the female sense of style! To be honest, until now I thought your loyalty to Mrs. O often clouded your fashion sense, but I am glad to see that you can be objective if need be. I really don't hate the look that much. I had not seen the full-body shot when I posted my comment. I still think the green sweater set with what I initially thought were long fitted khaki pants would work. But the boots (Ew!) Also, as you said, it cheapens the inaugural outfit for her to wear pieces of it in such informal setting (BTW, Isn't she supposed to be donating the whole thing to the Smithsonian?) Anyway, looking forward to continue butting heads with you about fashion : ) Can't wait till tonight!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJojo

@ Leah D,

That is what I was wondering too. Why would she wear an item that she wore on inauguration day (supposed to be her dressiest occasion) to wear to a construction site (least dressy and dirty occasion)?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Jojo,

You got that right. Differences in opinion is what makes the site interesting. There are days that I love her outfits and there are days that I don't. Nothing wrong with that.

I think that sweater is too delicate for construction work. Earlier when I saw the first pic posted, I assumed that she didn't get her hands in any dirty work or wasn't planning too. But looking at the boots, it is a mismatch in functionality.

Like others have said, can't wait till tonight and I do believe that she will still cover up her arms. Not to bring back the arm discussion, I think a night like tonight is OK to go bare arms. But after hearing her comment in that last interview, I truly believe that she will be covering up her arms for a while and she is fed up with all the hoopla about her arms.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

Yes, Michelle does have her WTF moments....and this is one of them, for sure. I guess it's an inevitable side effect to having embracing quirkyness as wholeheartedly as she does. There will be times she just gets it wrong.

But this outfit just makes me look forward to her outfit for tonight's festivities that much more! Michelle almost never wears green (which she definitely will tonight) even though it looks amazing on her, like that great dress by Stevie Wonder's wife that she wore some weeks ago.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I very much doubt Mrs. O did anything in the way of hands-on work today. I'm not saying it didn't happen, but the only thing I've seen is her talking to people and standing at a podium.

The boots are starting to grow on me! They're so awful they're funny. As for the pants, truly, I have the same problem, so I feel her pain on that score. Pantsmakers of America, not all of us have stick-straight legs!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

LOL @ Jenna referring it to WTF moment. It is interesting that when the pic was first posted without the books, she seemed to get some positive reviews. Soon as this pic with the boots were added, it is interesting to see the shift.

I do believe she went there dressed like this and flat shoes and put these on when it was time to work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

OK, let me try this again:
LOL @ Jenna referring to it as a WTF moment. It is interesting that when the pic was first posted without the boots, she seemed to get some positive reviews. Soon as this pic with the boots were added, it is interesting to see the shift.

I do believe she went there dressed like this and flat shoes and put these on when it was time to work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

I don't think Mrs.o was actually getting down and dirty like a real construction workerlol. Ido like the boots, I saw a pic of her wearing them w/ another outfit when she was in Chi-town in Dec., with this outfit not so much

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDee

I hope she wears the Stevie Wonder dress tonight. That would make a "recycling" statement for sure.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRowena

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