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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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« St. Erasmus Bejeweled Delight | Main | Of Stripes and Service (Update) »
Tuesday
May122009

Poetry, Music and Spoken Word (Update)

Photo by Jason Reed / Reuters

First Lady Mrs. O is dazzling this evening, as she and President Mr. O host a poetry jam in the East Room of the White House to celebrate poetry, music and the spoken word. Mrs. O wears an off-the-shoulder top, paired with cropped white pants and silver heels.

Per the White House blog:

"This event is designed around the theme of dialogue, showing how dialogue is important in every aspect of who we are as Americans and as human beings, and demonstrating how communication is a constant throughout the ages."

The evening will include performances by Joshua Bennett, James Earl Jones, Eric Lewis, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Mayda Del Valle and Esperanza Spalding. 

Students from American, Galludet, Georgetown and Howard universities also have the privilege of attending.

Update: Per NYMag, Mrs. O wears a top by Basso & Brooke, from the design duo's Fall Spring 2009 (thanks mlaiuppa!) collection. A similar dress can be seen here

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Reader Comments (162)

Mrs. O. looks absolutely fabulous from the waist up. The pants are, however, much less than fabulous. They are too long to be considered "cropped," and along with the width, the pants cut her legs off at an awkward spot. They just look like highwaters, as some of her pants have in the past. Mrs. O., you have been blessed with great, long legs...don't cut them off! A palazzo pant would have been perfect.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

Another thought: I saw the Tracy Feith "wisteria" dress in blue in the Sunday NY Times. It was just breathtakingly beautiful compared to the black one. It's so amazing how color can make such a difference!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 4:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

Wow,very groovy look on Mrs.O she looks great!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 4:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterSoke

Joanne at 8.57 that made me laugh. As you quite rightly point out, NOT a nun. LOL.

It's a fabulous outfit and I adore it. Mostly I just adore Mrs O for wearing clothes that aren't a damned uniform. Every day I see that women are getting closer to sartorial freedom with every choice Mrs O makes, and I'm very bouncy about that.

Can't say I adore the trousers - god knows she's tall enough to carry off cropped, but as a personal preference, I much prefer full length, or tapered cropped. But it doesn't really matter she looks radiant.

Oh - and the minute we hear where the earrings are from I'd love to know. Aren't they superb?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPosh Tater

LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered Commentermark

I'm with you, Posh Tater. Love the whole outfit but not feeling the pants at all. Does anyone know which designer is responsible for the blouse ?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterBC

I am breathless! I absolutely adore that blouse. Mrs. O looks absolutely fantabulous!! I have to echo BC: Does anyone know who designed that blouse?? I want one...sigh!!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterCissy

PS: I would love to see and hear a bit more about Mrs. B's style, too. I love that blue dress! She always looks put together, and she is a remarkable woman, too. Isn't it wonderful to have such intelligent and stylish First and Second Ladies???

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterCissy

Great photos I found from last night of the event and the family:

journals(dot)democraticunderground(dot)com/Jackeens_for_Obama

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 8:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterJanelle

I just knew MrsO would bring the noise bring the funk with her outfit for this event!! She did not disappoint! Love love love every little thing about it! Glad to see the girls there. How lucky are they!?!?!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrook

BTW, Totally agree with those who mentioned Love Jones. It is one of my favorite movies of all times!! If you have not seen it you need to NetFlix it ASAP. It is beautiful and lyrical!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrook

Awesome top! I love that she can dress appropriately for any situation/event but always elegantly.

Kristan
http://jbu.phuzzymath.net/

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterKristan

I like these pics of the Obamas. I hadn't seen much of Malia and Sasha from last night and these show that:
http://community.livejournal.com/obama_daily/222668.html?view=3692492#t3692492

Here are 2 poems written by Barack Obama published in the New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/us/politics/18poems.html?_r=3

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. A

These are great pictures of Mrs. Obama. But more than the pictures, I really like the work that she is doing in her new community. We as women should do more to assist men in reaching out to the community. There are just places that women can go and be of positive influence than men. Not to take anything away from men. God has given women a gift to nurture. Some use it for good and some for bad but in the grand scheme of life it balances out. Again, great photos and great work to Mrs. Obama. She reminds me of the women in my family. Strong, smart, funny, intelligent and very community-oriented and committed to family. Kudos!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterBea

She looks so fly. The hair, makeup, earrings, outfit, ...EVERYTHING. Let's also remember that she is 45. 45!!!???

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterdlev

Also, I'm glad her makeup artist lined her lower lid. I've been thinking for so long that her eyes would pop more with emphasis there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 10:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterdlev

Thanks for the link to Barack Obama's poems. The first one "Pop" sounds a little sad. I'm sure it's about his father.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAri

Mocha Dem and Alsace:

What does it mean to "dress like a black woman?" Please educate me.

Thank you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSailorsgirl

I must admit I was curious about that myself Sailorsgirl...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterPosh Tater

Absolutely gorgeous.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterEv

In general, black women dress more flamboyantly, with a leaning toward color, non-traditional cuts, and striking jewelry. Most don't try to blend in with the crowd. (Yes, I'm black.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSportsgal

Dressing like a black woman is having confidence in herself, and doesn't give a darn what others think about your outfit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered Commentergoody

@ Sportsgal & Goody

Great explanations by both of you.

I am a sista as well and immediately I identify w/ Michelle's outfit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterGodchild

MO's makeup and hair are flawless, this just might be her best face yet !

Sportsgal....I totally disagree with your generalization of black women and think you should speak for just yourself.

As a man of color who adores and works with women of color, there are quite a few conservative, non-jewelry wearing women who blend in wonderfully.

Give it some thought.

I'm giving Michelle a standing ovation for this look !!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterriver rush

jättefint...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMa

I mostly lurk, but I just had to comment on the Funky, Fabulousness of Mrs. O's outfit! Totally appropriate for the occasion! She is indeed The Truth...I love how she represents herself each and every day and as an African American woman, I completely relate.

Malia and Sasha...I just love those precious girls!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMRS. G

@ River Rush

You make an excellent point regarding sista’s in a professional environment dressing down. There are some women of color that do not wear jewelry and stand out. Desiree’ is an excellent example. I hardly wear jewelry other than studs when I am at work. However, when I am out on the town w/ my girl friends or man I dress and look totally different. I make sure that I stand out in a crowd. My girl friends and I are all professionals (lawyers, MBAs, and PhDs). I realize that their is a time and place for everything.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterGodschild

She looks AMAZING! I mean oh my goodness, dazzling isn't even the word, so what do I say? Our First Lady is not just a fashionista, but an ICON in very sense of the word. Just look at her.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaitiana4Obama

New York magazine's blog The Cut reports that her top is Basso & Brooke from the Spring 2009 line. Here's the look on a model from the runway show.
http://www.style.com/fashionshows/complete/slideshow/S2009RTW-BASSOB/?loop=0&iphoto=17&play=false&cnt=21

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

FLOTUS has finally emerged as the fashion icon she'll become. Now, we can recognize her distinct Signature style (bold colors, unique accessories, 50s style dresses, cropped pants, and of course those belts we have hate/love relationship with).

She looks stunning in these pictures, whatever she's doing to her hair to shine like that, by all means pass it on to all the ladies.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

I completely agree with everything you just said Cyndi. Besides her hair, I'd also like to know what she uses on her skin to get it to glow like that.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

FYI Nice photos with comments on www(dot)nbcwashington(dot)com/around_town/the_scene/A_Peek_Inside_the_Obamas_Poetry_Jam(dot)html

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered Commentermj

I loved this look :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterTia

Christen,
I agree they do look like highwaters and considering that many of the other women were not dressed as casually as Mrs.O the highwaters looked out of place besides the fact that highwaters just do not look very good on her in the first place, just my opinion.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 4:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

Alsace - Good to hear from you. I wanted to call you out last night and ask if this look was more to your liking (with my signature loving, mischievous expression that says "Let's have some good-natured fun with this!") But I wasn't sure I could deliver my intent without you seeing my face.

Anyway, even this white girl could recognize Michelle's distinctly "black" look last night (but I didn't feel I could be the one to say it), and it brought out her beauty better than anything she's worn to date. Absolutely stunning! I would love to see her go in this direction more, for her own beauty's sake, for those who would see themselves reflected more in her style and maybe feel that she is being more authentic and less "white", (and those who wouldn't, maybe like River Rush, the first identified man of color here, increasing our diversity, Yeah! Yeah! Welcome River Rush)

I think this would be an interesting topic to discuss. I believe it was Godschild who said that she dressed conservatively for work, but really did it up when she went out. That may be what Lady Michelle is doing. This is the first time we've seen her dress this "black", and it was for an evening devoted to an art form rooted in black culture. The perfect place to introduce this look into her repertoire and to the country.

We're all so grateful Mrs. O is out of the "First Lady Uniform", but she is the FIRST black First Lady, and we're hoping she and President Obama can be there for two terms, rather than one. So, even though you all know I'm a fierce supporter of Lady M wearing exactly what she pleases, I think she may feel some need to bring the country along gradually with her style choices. I think you get what I'm having some trouble expressing well. I'm hoping she may move more in this direction as time goes on, but she must not be too shocking with it. As much as I hate it, race and politics must be considered to some extent in her sartorial choices.

I checked out the previews to and read reviews of Love Jones last night. It looks like a beautiful movie -- portraying AA's in a refreshingly different way than movies usually portray them -- in my experience. I have put it on hold at our library and look forward to seeing it soon.

Ari @ 10:51 - I believe that the poem "Pop" was written by President Obama when he was a teenager, and is about the white grandfather he lived with during those years.

Cheers everyone.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

Fresh, relaxed ,ethnic style! i love the earings, it give a youth fresh look to Mrs O. Simply beautifull!
Anyway, if Mrs O happen to read this comment, please, BE CAREFULL to all those women( divorcee, or single old mademoiselle) around your husband.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterginger

@ River Rush

No need to be snarky. I am professional, and fully understand the phenomenon of shifting and cloaking one's "blackness" during the week, whether it be speech, hairstyle, or attire.

I responded to a question around the phrase "dressing black", which infers a style different from the mainstream. It's a generalization, and I gave a general explanation. I didn't say black women can't blend in (as if that's something to aspire to anyway).

Obviously, many black women act as chameleons in order to survive in both worlds. I wear muted colors, classic cuts, minimal jewelry, and "tame" my natural hair while at work. On my own time, I may wear wooden accessories, bright colors, strappy sandals, and a big afro. I'm not offended that it may be considered "dressing black".

Same with Mrs. O. Even with her unorthodox choices, she usually dons understated earrings and hair. So when she showed up last night strutting in the above outfit, she gave off that distinct "dressing black" aura. Everyone noticed it. It's OK. It's not a negative thing unless you want it to be.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSportsgal

I can't remember exactly when or where i read it but someone wrote an article talking about the fact that some of Mrs.O's clothing style and color choices are not so different from what many black women wear. People often comment about how her color choices are so bold and different, but different to whom? When she wears bright jewel toned pinks, purple's, blues etc. she is simply dressing in colors that flatter her skin tone. My mother and younger sister are about Michelle's skin color and these are the same colors they also often wear not to stand out necessarily, but because it is what really flatters them. She dresses for herself and I think that has been pretty evident during the last year or so we have gotten to know her.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

I usually don't reply to posts here, because it's really not a message board (Mrs-O.org, please consider a forum) but I have to say that LEAH D. you really wrapped that up pretty well. Michelle Obama is gradually warming the country up to ethnic beauty, she and the President both. I truly appreciate themselves for representing people of color in this way, we are beautiful goshdarnit!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaitiana4Obama

I wonder - the next time FLOTUS wears this top will she wear it with the normal neckline or will she wear it off the other shoulder?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterBelle

Haitiana4Obama - I'm going to be bold enough to thank you for your compliment on my summation Mrs. O moving the country gradually toward ethnic beauty. On this site, the author appears at the bottom of the post. I love your handle - Haitiana4Obama. I did the same thing with my name on some blogs during the campaign. I became Willowgr4Obama. (smile)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

About the "highwater" comments, I'm exactly the same height as Mrs. O, and my lifelong thorn in the flesh has been finding pants long enough. Of course, I have never had the clothing budget Mrs. O has, so it seems that she could easily enough have pants made and tailored to a flattering fit. My other thought, however, on the choice of a shorter pant length is that sometimes when you have a larger, leaner frame, pants can feel a little too masculine, and some of the shorter lengths feel more feminine. I don't pretend to be inside her head or to know her motives for what she wears; but I can say that this is something I've often thought when I choose a capri length rather than full-length trousers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnn

about the 'ethnic beauty'....aren't we all by-product of ethnic and tribal groups before modernization came along? Unless we are talking about the diversity in our beauty as Americans, and how Michelle Obama is but among millions.

I remember Whoopi saying to Michelle Obama, thank you for showing the beauty that is black woman. In other words, dark chocolate, not trying to change anything about her natural beauty, only compliment it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 6:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterCyndi

WOW!!! Michelle rocks! Modern, Intelligent, Edgy, Elegant, Powerful, and very very Stylish .... I totally love this outfit it looks AMAZING!!!! , I think its Basso & Brooke from London - I wish I could afford one of their dresses :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterBea

Cyndi:

While Mrs. O is a stunningly beautiful woman, both inside and out, I don't consider her to be "dark" chocolate, but "mocha."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSailorsgirl

I don't want to offend my white sisters or anyone else by saying this, but I think that this is a very good demonstration of how darker skin does so much more for clothes than white skin does (I'm white, and this is not a self-hate thing, just my artistic sense.) If you look at what Mrs. O's skin does for that blouse in the picture above, and what that blouse does for her, and then compare it to the very pale model wearing a dress of similar fabric on the last link in Mrs. T's update above, I strongly prefer Mrs. O's skin tone. As I said in previous thread, there are millions of people who agree with me, keeping the tanning industry very profitable.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

It's Spring 2009, not Fall.

http://www.style.com/fashionshows/complete/S2009RTW-BASSOB

I must say I do like what these designers are doing with fabric. It's very "quilt" like. I'm not talking grannie's flower garden or log cabin. This is very much what contemporary quilters are doing with mixing fabrics. Batiks and asian prints are very hot in quilting.

I also really like their vibrant use of color. That isn't as evident in Mrs. O's blouse as it is in other pieces in this collection.

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 12:37 AM | Unregistered Commentermlaiuppa

Haitiana4Obama,

It was Willow and not me that made the comment that you responded to.
The name of the person commenting is at the BOTTOM not the top of the post.

I for one do NOT believe that there is a 'white' way to dress or a 'black' way to dress. Anyone doing so is putting people in pigeonholes and I try to avoid doing so.

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 1:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

totally agree with bevi's comment WAY up this thread, about this look being perfect

love the coral lipstick and the lined-under-eye eye make-up

ari @ 3 25 - i know that this has been said before, on older posts, but - the dress looks so much better on her than it does on the runway model ! and how amazing is that !

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 2:23 AM | Unregistered Commenteranupama

Leah D I couldn't agree more. I am horrified by any pigeon-holing but the idea of ANYone having to "blend in" makes me want to scream till I'm sick, whatever their skin colour. I wear what the hell I like to my workplace and in my leisure time. I've worn ballgowns to the office (with a jacket) and I've worn sequins, beads, purple, lace, lime, silk, velvet, scarlet and black (to the office and to walk the dog). I believe you are as limited as you choose to be around clothes. Strong women push boundaries. If anyone else has a problem with that, you need to remind them that it's their problem.

Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 6:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterPosh Tater

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