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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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Wednesday
Jun102009

London Flower Power

Photo by Jeff Moore / Splash News 

Media outlets, particularly those overseas, have been abuzz over Mrs. O's most recent ensemble, worn as the first lady left Westminster Abbey in Central London yesterday. Mrs. O wore a sheer tunic, adorned with layers of embroidered floral trim, over a pair of slim black pants and white tank. A polka dot Sonia Rykiel belt cinched the waist, and a layered cardigan in yellow with purple trim (Hanii Y perhaps?) topped the ensemble. Mrs. O's ToyWatch in ultra violet added the final punch of color. Should anyone recognize Mrs. O's tunic, we would love an anonymous tip!

Reviews have been a bit mixed (as they usually are when the first lady makes a bold fashion move). Of the look, New York magazine said, "Michelle Obama Can't Always be Perfect," while the Daily Mail named Mrs. O, "the First Lady of Flamboyance." Our take? We like that Mrs. O has fun with her style. Her ensemble seems to project a playful, bright mood, and who can fault that? (Kat, you inspired the title for this post! Just perfect.)

To see more ensembles from Mrs. O's trip to London this week, click here. We have to say, we've felt a bit conflicted about what to cover and what not to. Technically, Mrs. O and her daugters are on a private vacation. Some of the photos feel very intrusive (peering into car windows, etc.), so we'll only feature those where Mrs. O is making a more formal, public appearance.

Today the first lady (wearing an argyle J.Crew cardigan) and her daughters braved the rain to visit Leavesdon Studios, where the Harry Potter films are made. Hope they had fun!

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Reader Comments (256)

Wow! I don't know what to say about this ensemble. I'm not sure that Westminster is where I would have worn it. But, I do love it that Michelle is her own person. She had to know that she was pushing the envelope here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan2

What an unflattering photograph. What an unfortunate outfit. Probably the lowest of the low in my book. Can't say anything good about the clothing choice. Perhaps more appropriate for...where?...heading to a beachfront shop to buy new flipflops? Certainly not to Westminster Abbey. Okay, let the flaming begin.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Registered CommenterNancy

I like it. It's very springtime! And even though I don't like the belt sitting high on the waist, the belt in itself is very cute.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered Commentertess

Nancy, i am not a fan this color. However, I do have to say she is on her own private vacation and not on a mission for the united states. You stated on the previous post that "she represents the US" while that is true, she is not on our clock 24/7 days a week nor will she be perfect to our satisfaction. Nobody is flaming you and i think you make these comments to get attention and now that I have realized your game I will remain alert to it.

I am not brave enough to wear colors, just got used to wearing a bright yellow shirt.

Mrs T great job on the site. I do have a question, will you be posting everyday or every outfit she wears or just special occasions? In my opinion i think it would be over the top to critique every outfit she will be wear for the next 4 years

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:22 PM | Registered Commenterbriana

(I think my post on a previous thread got lost because I wasn't logged in, so am posting it again here)

@Posh Tater, Willow, IVA and others --- A quick reply. Am dashing out so can't do a long post.

I feel Mrs. O's attitude toward fashion is that it is fun and personal, not yet that it is a philosophy or a job. It would be lovely if she could stay that way, but I doubt she will be able to. That's because words like "private time" and "private space" lose all meaning in situations like a sightseeing trip to London where every move is accompanied by thousands of phones set on photo.

The outfits in London were illuminating for me. I felt they indicated a transitional moment between the old attitude and the new. Can't bet on it, but I suspect we will see her becoming more self-conscious about it all. For some, that will be a loss. I just see it as inevitable.

Anyone who thinks she hasn't been constantly evolving needs to check out her looks during the early stages of the electoral campaign. The change since that time is remarkable. As she is an intelligent, responsive person, I expect she will continue to change and evolve.

And for the record, since I see her style up to now as quite middle-of-the-road, the quirkier the better. Bring it on! Sadly though, this would involve acceptance of a certain loss of privacy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:24 PM | Registered CommenterAlsace

I like the colors and the springiness, but this is a no for me. Too many elements fighting one another, and the cut of the tunic makes her look hippy, and I don't think she really is.

But if she's dressing to match her mood, then I know that at the time, she was very, very happy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:24 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

I have to agree. This is the worst thing I've ever seen her in. Frankly, I'm kind of in shock it's so awful to me. I'm glad she is a free spirit, but wow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterHm...

Briana, I think it's perfectly reasonable to talk about an outfit that Mrs. Obama wears to Westminster. She IS representing us here--even when she is a tourist. It's the nature of being First Lady. Look, I love this woman. She is an exemplary First Lady. However, this outfit is not showing the best judgment---in my humble opinion--and I think it's okay to say that. It's not life or death stuff here--just talk. In fact, I have to laugh (and applaud) that she was brave enough to wear this!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan2

Yeah, not a fan. I'm in general not too concerned because she's her own person, but there needs to be some consideration that she is the First Lady and a face for our country, even when she's on a private vacation. I don't think this crosses the line or anything, but at some level within individualistic experimentation, that fact of rank and representation needs to factor in while she holds this position.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:30 PM | Unregistered Commenteral

I hate it and I usually LOVE Mrs. O's style! The tunic, the belt mixture, the two sweaters....what was she thinking? This is one of those times when you need to look at yourself in the mirror and take off one thing before you leave the house!!!!!

By the way, love the look of the new site and hope you post all of her outfits every day! :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterLush

I have to say that although I am not a fan of the overall look, I am not bothered by MO wearing it to Westminster. I like the mix of the colors, but do think that the length of the tunic does not flatter her.

The question for me is if this was considered family vacation time, then the outfit is her call and for her personal pleasure. The last time I visited Westminster, I saw tourists in some pretty casual outfits - such as jogging suits, hot pants, and totally tattered jeans.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

I personally like the tunic with all the layers of colors and flowers. It looks very summery and fun. I really love the yellow and purple cardigans. (purple is my favorite color) Definitely love the watch. And if MO is a constant representation of America, then thank God I am an American.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

The outfit is childish and too many colors for the eyes. I was shock to see her in this outfit. Did she wear a double cardigan? I understand she is on vacation, but she still represents the United States. Maybe she was thinking about Hawaii (her husband's home land when she put this outfit on. Only Mrs O could be so bold

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaxine Smith

The cardigans have to go. I think if it were just the tunic and the slim pants, it's wouldn't be so controversial. But I still like the look but understand how some see it as too much. The look is very Carrie Bradshaw. I can totally see Carrie strutting around Manhattan in this outfit. I think it's shocking to see a First Lady dress like Sarah Jessica Parker. LOL

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered Commentertess

Susan2 I did not say it was unreasonable to critic what she wore to westminister. I agree that i did not like the colors, "I" would not have worn it. But she is brave enough to like you also stated. I disagree with you, i think in this capacity she does not represent the united states people, she is having her own private fun. I think one of the problem I have to accept is that I am judging based on my perception as you are, so its always going to be different. I guess i have never thought of anything as the nature of first lady. I love her experimentation and its fun to watch someone comfortable in themselves do their own thing, thats the reason are interested in her fashion in the first place. Again agree with some, not the best color but i retain my position she is on her vacation and experimenting, do your thing. It sells papers for a lot of folks and makes for an interesting website like Mrs O, conversation and entertainment blogs all over the world.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:44 PM | Registered Commenterbriana

?i would love to see the tunic with out the belt or the cardis. It was just too much IMO. The tunic could be very fresh and springy--even with the cardies. I think it is the belt that is really throwing it off for me. Oh well!

Anyone know when they will be coming back to the states?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrook

The tunic would work in the right setting -- very casual, WH lawn or back in Chicago, with family and friends. I bet it rocks sleeveless, and over the right pair of pants it could look great. But this is London, Westminster Abbey is one of the most heralded, historic places in Britain. And there's too much going on here -- two sweaters, the tunic, a tank under that, a belt. If it's that cold, put on a cute trench. A Burberry one, if you want to please your hosts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Registered CommenterHattie Carnegie

No matter where she wears it to and whether it is private or public function, a picture has been provided for public consumption and this getup looks awful. It's almost as if she was trying to look bad: the multicolored belt, the flower tunic, the mismatched accessories, the TWO sweaters!

On second thought, the tunic itself would not be that bad if she had worn it flowing, without the ever-present belt and a nice short trench coat over it, since they said the weather was a bit cool; and if she really wanted to do color, then she could have done one of those pastel trench.

I know, I know, she coulda, woulda, shoulda, (and I am not her and she is not me), but she did because she is FLOTUS and she can!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterLilly O

This outfit is unflattering, ill-suited to the occasion, and, well, just really silly for a grown-up serious woman of any shape, much less one whose least appealing physical feature is the size of her hips. The contrast between this look and some of the really great clothes--both casual and formal--that Michelle has worn is mind-boggling. Is there nobody in her entourage who can tell her the truth?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterJRG

Awful. I loathe all things ruffled or three-dimensional on clothes, but that said - this top might be workable by itself or with a skirt. As is, it's dreadful. This is the only outfit I have every truly disliked on Mrs. O.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered Commentert'other Mrs. O

Coco Chanel always said to take off an accessory before leaving the house. I wish our first lady heeded to that advice. However, all the color does make me smile.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterdlev

this could be cute as a white sheath dress in summer; the various trims at the knee would be fun & springy, still youthful but not childlike. love the yellow & purple cardies together, but otherwise i hate the look.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered Commentermoja31

Michelle, Michelle, Michelle, sister. I'm going to tell it to you like it is...THIS OUTFIT IS A HOT MESS!!! YOU LOOK LIKE A PINATA!!!

What were you thinking, when you stepped outside?! I can't believe your staff let you embarrass yourself like this, instead of pulling you to the side about this outfit. First of all, why would you wear such an outfit to Westminster Abbey? The colors are fine. However, the frilly stuff on that tunic which looks more appropriate for Sasha, NO!! Not to mention it's gathered around your waist and hips, which are not your body strengths. Why am I not surprised that the designer hasn't come forward to claim his/her mess of a design? The belt, NO!! The odd layering, NO!! There is way too much going on with your outfit, girl.

I've been hard on a good number of your outfits but, girl, this one easily ranks as one of your worst three ever.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:40 PM | Registered CommenterMara

It seems that the clothes are wearing her and this is not the first time. She looks so wonderful in simple, classic clothes. Is she becoming a fashion addict a la Posh Spice?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterGardenia

I think the double cardigans are very clever. I am going to try that someday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:49 PM | Registered CommenterChristine T

Mara, you are right on the money! I could not have said it better. I am complimentary to most of what Mrs. O. wears, as I DO like most of what she wears, but when it's a miss, it's REALLY a miss!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

I'm sure as time goes on over the next 4-8 years, we're all going to think Michelle has had some hits and misses. How many times have we put something on originally thinking we looked 'fabulous' and later re-thinking "Well, maybe that wasn't my best look?" I actually like this tunic because it's showing a fun, fresh, playful side of her personality. Even though she is 45, a wife and mother of 2 -- it doesn't mean she has too look like a frumpy dumpy Mom. She can have fun too! She is a hottie mommie and I love the fact that she is not letting past images dictate to her what a First Lady is supposed to look like. Clearly, she is setting new standards which I love! And I'm probably very biased with this opinion because we look like twins!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:51 PM | Registered CommenterVeevee

P.S. It's chilly in London! Great idea to mix up the colors and wear 2 cardigans to compliment the outfit.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterVeevee

Love it!! Flower child and rich h ippie stuff is so great for summer!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterjenh

For some reason I like this, although there is every reason not to. I she had worn the top over a pair of jeans with some dangly earrings it may have been a bit better. The looks reminds me of the MacKenzie-Childs product line - crazy colors and patterns - so zany it's cute.

I'm starting to think Michelle is especially drawn to handmade items with high quality fabrics that feel good against the skin. Many times I will see an outfit and not think much of it, and later a zoom photo shows the detail and I start to fall in love with it. Many of her tops I wish I could reach through the screen and touch. Thinking of that arbor day blue and green chiffon top, the lei dress, the inauguration ensemble.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMocha Dem

ummmmmm, hate it, hate it hate hate it!....this definitely beats the tracy feith outfit she wore to church the day after inauguration,

but on the upside, I love that she is confident enough, and is not letting the pressure of being first lady dictate to her how she should dress,

but im still nto a fan....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SASHA OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:06 PM | Registered CommenterLayo G

I like the top and cardigans. I don't care for the black slacks and shoes. Perhaps jeans or white pants would look better.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:06 PM | Registered Commentermissann

THIS OUTFIT IS NOT THAT BAD!!!!

That said, I can see where people are coming from. This outfit is totally my style, but I get that most people are aghast. I get it. It is totally off beat and hippie and bohemian. Not every one's cup of tea. I get it.

However, in London, in Europe, this kind of stuff is like dead on! So, that should factor into people's judgments.

Also, I don't ever recall seeing pictures of ANY other First Lady outside of official state business. AND, when you are site seeing with your children, you don't wear a business suit! Who does that? So, what she wore was fine, unless she was being escorted through Westminster by the Queen herself. Most people wear sweats and fanny packs to site see. Now, see when she wore an opera coat to see the Queen people thought she was too fancy. I guess she just can't win with some of you people. But I will say, the trench would have been a nice touch.

And her necklace is very pretty.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Too

Look at Mrs. O's face. She is having such a good time, and feeling so good about herself. Her make-up is great, and she looks beautiful. I like the double cardigan. The lower part of the tunic with the belt is a bit of color confusion, and doesn't flatter that part of her body. For me, that part of this outfit is a miss. But I feel so empowered by her boldness to wear what she likes.

Alsace - I agree that Mrs. O's fashion choices have evolved a great deal since the campaign began. I'm sure they will continue to evolve.

Maybe Michelle fell in love with this tunic for all it's fun colors, and just had to have it, and just had to wear and enjoy. She has a really fun personality. She must get tired of having to be too serious about her clothes too much of the time.

She always makes me feel good, even when I wouldn't wear what she does. I actually think this is part of her humanness which endears her yet further with everyone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:10 PM | Registered CommenterWillow

On first looking at this outfit, I was as stunned as everyone else seems to be; and although I don't think the President's family has to be "on the clock" 24/7, I do think that since she knows she will be photographed everywhere she goes, she should be somewhat mindful of the fact that she does represent the United States regardless of what she's doing.

Having thought more about the outfit itself, I hate the busy combination of way too many elements, IMO. However, I realize that I don't hate the tunic itself. I don't claim to be a fashion expert, but in my self-confessed amateur opinion, when one wants to wear a statement piece, the rest of the outfit should be more neutral. If she had omitted the busy belt and the double cardigans and replaced them with a solid neutral-colored trench coat, I think the outfit might have worked. As is, it's a big NO for me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterMsG

I love this outfit even though I think the tunic is a bit "wacky". The world has never seen an American FLOTUS with so much style and panache. This tunic is perfect because she's been hanging out with her daughters and her nieces and I bet the kids love it. I've often noticed that when Mrs. O was going to speak to kids she often wore something a little (or a lot) off-center, like the Junya Watanabe cardigans. God Bless Mrs. O for having the fortitude to let her personality shine through. Let's remember that we don't have to like everything the FLOTUS wears. I can't ever remember liking anything that Laura Bush wore or Hilary Clinton before her. Let's keep this wonderful ride we're on in historical perspective. In fact, none of the FLOTUS's from the last 30+ years would have warranted their own website with daily updates except Mrs. O , or, possibly Nancy Reagan who was much older and didn't have as vibrant a personality.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:21 PM | Registered CommenterStrong Foru

I like the tunic but the belt is not working for me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:23 PM | Registered CommenterMrs. HJS

First time poster here. I love this blog and have been a daily lurker since the election. I must say I adore Michelle and all her outfits. She has a fabulous sense of style and many times I actually gasp when I see what unexpected things she comes up with. The two exceptions being: (1) that black & red mess on election night, and (2) the obsession with belts. However, this outfit at Westminster Abbey is truly GHASTLY. It reminds me of a 1960's Easter hat. Looks like she went to a flower market and picked the blooms off the stems and pasted them on her shirt, or worse yet cut FAKE blooms off of FAKE stems. I hope she is not just taking everything that Ikram sends her and wearing it blindly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBabs

Why she would think a black and white patterned belt with a purple buckle goes with a tunic with 4 different layers of prints and appliques at the bottom that makes her hips look wider than they are is beyond me. She loves colors and layering, but she tends to go overboard.
I was at Barnes & Noble the other day and I came across the book Michelle Style. In one of the chapters Clinton from TLC's "What not to Wear" said something along the lines that she has a great individual style and it's great that she is not afraid to experiment, however with the major hits there are going to be some real doozies. This here is a big doozie. But hey, this is her vacation time and she is allowed to wear whatever she wants. It takes real guts to wear something like that in public though. I wonder what her mother, daughters, and other members of her family and entourage thought when they first saw her outfit?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

Love it all except the pants - the pants need to be tossed in the trash!
Gray pants are the worse thing that she keeps wearing over and over.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:33 PM | Registered CommenterLeah D

Horrid. The lightweight, light-colored tunic over dark trousers is a huge mismatch.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:36 PM | Registered CommenterHyde Parker

Wow!!!!!!!! Not really feeling this one......I dare say that Mrs.O is truly a free spirit, so I applaud her choice to be as bold as this. The outfit is a "bit too busy" .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:40 PM | Unregistered Commentertsetse

@ Strong Foru - You have summed up my feelings to a "T." I think sometimes we get a little to serious with our fashion critiques. This is an outfit that is telling us to chill out and not take everything she wears so darn serious.

I look at that picture and I see this beautiful woman literally BEAMING, walking tall and confident in her wacky top and belt. She always wanted to take her girls abroad and they are obviously having a ball. It just brings a smile to my face. Our First Lady rocks.

And let's remember - this part of the trip is 100% being paid for by the Obamas...there is no doubt about that. So this is THEIR time. We do not own this woman, and yes I agree that even on her down time she's representing us. And I'm sure that where it counts - her attitude, her graciousness, her warmth - she is representing us just fine. A quirky shirt is nothing to start talking about her not representing us right.

I don't know why, but like I said on another thread, I really love what the outfit says. It's conveying something to me, that is very cool.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:43 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

No comments on the above outfit. I'm going to check back in a couple of days to see if it has won me over. On another note, check out Mrs. O in a full frontal view of the Tracy Feith dress while in London. I heart Miche'!

http://michelleostyle.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:49 PM | Registered CommenterCreed419

I cant post in the chat section

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersierra

The first thought I had when I saw this outfit was, "her girls dressed her." Whether this is the case or not, she is on vacation with her kids and her family and is chilling out.

Maybe MO decided she was on a "fashion" break (whatever that means) as well as a real vacation. I don't think this outfit is horrendous, horrid, or makes her look like a pinata. And, I think if she had on jeans or little black or white pants or even khaki capris, the outfit would have been more appealing to a wider range of critics. She clearly loves her grey pants.

I am happy for Mrs. O that she is having such a good time with her peeps. She clearly is radiant and loving that she could spend real time with her girls.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:55 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

I love it! She looks like a burst of sunshine. It's silly, fun and playful. I've never seen her look so radiant and happy. I hope she continues to push the envelope and that she never bows down to what the public wants her to be.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:57 PM | Registered CommenterLenox Ave

Well, Briana, you and I will just have to agree to disagree. Yes, she is on her own personal Obama-paid vacation. But, no, she is not (nor will be) totally her own person as long as her husband is the President of the United States. If there were some way Mrs. Obama, her daughters and her mother could tour sites in London (or anywhere) without photographers, it'd be great. But that will not happen as long as she is our First Lady. That given, I reiterate that I hope she'd consider that she is not representing herself and her familyl, but the entire American nation. This kind of silly, self-indulgent frippery shows me she still has a lot to learn--and is still evolving--about the role of the First Lady of this great nation. This silly getup, as "playful" and "springlike" as many of you describe it, is still an embarassment to many of her (widely-diverse) constituents. I stand by my opinion.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered Commenternancy

Ooops, my response to Briana et al. was written before I remembered to log on. Oh well, same thoughts. Thanks for your forbearance.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 8:10 PM | Registered CommenterNancy

It's interesting-I love experimentation with floral anything-yet something seems flat-out off.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 8:22 PM | Unregistered Commentersd

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