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Thursday
Sep172009

Bold and Beautiful (Update)

Image by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

This afternoon the President and First Lady Mrs. O attended a Medal of Honor ceremony for U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti who was killed in Afghanistan in June 2006. For the occasion, Mrs. O debuted a new floral frock in a bold, red rose print, accessorized with green kitten heels and chandelier earrings.

Update: Thanks to Leslie who has observed similarity in the print of this DVF dress and the one Mrs. O is wearing above. The cuts are of course different, but the prints bear a striking resemblance. We will look into this and report back. 

Image by Win McNamee / Getty Images

Later in the day, First Lady Mrs. O shopped for fruits and veggies at the opening of a new farmer's market two blocks from the White House. The new market will be open every Thursday for the next seven weeks. Note that Mrs. O's shopping basket matched her dressed down ensemble. Perhaps a coincidence, but a stylish one!

Mrs. O spoke at the opening of the Farmers' Market, sharing:

"You know, when we decided to plant the White House garden, we thought it would be a great way to educate kids about eating more healthy. Right, kids? Vegetables? Yay for vegetables! But as it turned out, the garden has turned into so much more than we could have ever expected, and it's a really fun thing to do as well. This has been one of the greatest things that I've done in my life so far. It's just been a tremendous honor, and working with the kids in the D.C. community and hearing how they've learned and how they're growing and how they're sharing the information with their families just warms my heart and makes me hopeful for the future."

For the full remarks, click here. Also, as observed in the comments, Mrs. O appears to be carrying a Bolga Market basket, traditionally woven in the Northern Ghana town of Bolgatanga.

Reader Comments (142)

AUDREY: Can you really not tell that I respect Mrs. O. to the utmost? You are really reading something into my comments that just isn't there. I am a die-hard Democrat and have never voted Republican in my life. Just because I don't fawn all over Mrs. O's sometimes inappropriate fashion choices does not mean in the least that I have "negative feelings" about her as a person. You, on the other hand, are a fanatic who thinks that she can do no wrong, even in the way she dresses. This blog is about FASHION, after all. Oh, and thank you, but my head is actually rather large.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

Well, she looks fabulous. One thing we know from experience with Mrs. O is that she has often shown extraordinary sensitivity and generosity to the people she'll be interacting with at events, such as matching her colors with young girls, or wearing clothes that somehow connect to the audience or honoree. So I'm with the person who thought maybe she'd been asked to wear something bright and happy and celebratory. Mrs. O has never appeared to be thoughtless and inconsiderate -- ever -- and I'm sure she made an appropriate choice for reasons we may not be privy to.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 7:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterLainie

My point was that Oleg Cassini was not Jacqeuline Kennedy's stylist. He designed many of her outfits (300 or so), mostly for state occasions, but she herself put together most of her casual looks entirely on her own. She was a strong woman with defined personal taste.. so how much she relied on Cassini to guide her, and how much input she had into her own outfits is purely speculation.

Michelle Obama wears several diferent designers for state occasions and puts together most, if not all of her casual looks on her own. She is also a strong woman with defined personal taste and I believe she is every bit as appropriate as Jacqueline Kennedy was.

Times have changed. Both looked great for their times.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSuze

I sincerely believe the perceived flack First Lady Michelle is receiving for this dress comes from women who simply cannot understand why and accept that she looks so darn good. It's tough for them because many have not tolerated women such as Michelle on a regular basis. When someone you're not used to looks this good, it can throw you for a loop. Many also reek of limited life experience suggesting a solid, dark-colored dress can only represent true appropriateness. The nerve of some people trying to educate our First Lady on how to act and wear clothes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 8:23 PM | Registered CommenterJules

I'm not saying you do, Christen, but even die-hard democrats have disrespected or rudely insinuated certain things about Michelle Obama.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterKrissy

BEAUTIFUL!!!! What a stunning couple. How can Mrs. O look so well put together and at ease in every single picture? Onward and upward first couple.

Saturday, September 19, 2009 at 11:24 PM | Registered CommenterValerie Robinson

Hey Suze and Jules, you rock (and your names rhyme too. LOL). Loved your post too Audrey. Have been following this site since it's inception and must agree that Christen's posts like Beegee's have usually had hostile undertones and a certain negative edge to them.
I have never come away after reading her posts thinking "here's a woman who respects Mrs Obama". Even her few attempts at complimenting a Mrs O look always come across as reluctant, insincere and like you said, condescending.
Not all so-called "die-hard" democrats support, respect or like the Obama's. Anyone remember the PUMA's? They are still out there mad as hell and still gunning for their pound of flesh on behalf of Hillary/Palin. They are mostly self-proclaimed "die-hard" democrats too of the Geraldine Ferraro persuasion. Mrs Obama represents a half of a couple that in their opinion do not know their place and cost their beloved Hillary her spot on the stage.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 1:18 AM | Registered CommenterLota

Lota, I can do no right, can I? When I compliment Mrs. O., I mean it sincerely, and when I do not care for something she is wearing, I mean that as well. I have a favorite quote by Noel Coward: "It is sad to think how many people are surprised by honesty, and how few by deceit." It certainly fits in this situation. Just what do you mean by the "Ferraro persuasion?" What on earth is your problem with her? No, I did not prefer Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Obama, and I have no idea what on earth you mean lumping that gawd-awful Sarah Palin in with Mrs. Clinton. Could we stick to FASHION, please, and forget about the politics?

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 4:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

A horrible example of what not to wear to a Medal of Honor award ceremony for anyone especially a"First Lady"

This ceremony was conducted to honor a fallen soldier who gave his life for others, not some not some Hollywood runway photo op.

This appearance is abhorrent, tasteless and disrespectful to the family of Sergeant Monti and to all who wear the uniform.

It's not the color red. Sergeant Monti's mother also wore red in a very tasteful manor. It's the bright floral pattern, the sleeveless, V-neck cut, the green shoes and the earrings. This outfit is best left in the closet for a celebrity cocktail party.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichael C

love her

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterstephanie

This site is about fashion! A fashionable woman! And in today's fashion world, one can wear bare arms and legs!

IMHO, we love Mrs. O because she is actually giving us things to talk about! Dresses, belts, suits, cardigans and big beautiful skirts. Can we talk about the fashion and not whether or not some lady thinks that her dress could be worn to the club? She is fashionable. You can't be fashionable and safe at the same time. Her fashion makes us say ooh and ahh. And if she were dressing according to some old timey rules then NO ONE WOULD CARE! It was a medal of honor ceremony and what she wore was entirely correct. These days, women can wear dresses like that to ceremonies. Women wear dresses like that to church!

So Christen, since this is about fashion, what would you have worn that would have been fashionable and appropriate? I want details, please.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichelleToo

I agree that she just can't seem to get the appropriate outfit for most any occasion. While she usually looks great, her style seems to hit the wrong note most every time. She's not Oprah, she's the First Lady.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMocatz

May I suggest that the question of appropriateness is legitimate? No question Mrs. Obama looks stunning, however I suggest you look beyond the photo op to the ceremony honoring Jared C. Monti: http://downloads.army.mil/medalofhonor/monti/news.html

Just my opinion, but this dress just doesn't fit the occasion.

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Not that this will happen just because I suggested it, but I think we'd all be better served just not trying to be so defensive on either side of an issue, read the comments, and move on if you disagree with something that was said. There's too many people trying to read WAAAY too much into what is supposed to just be some light fashion commentary, for God's sake. You can't read someone's mind or tell where their heart is based on what they think about a piece of clothing. So, people like the dress. Or don't like the dress. Or think it's the worst/best dress that was ever created. Is it really *that* big a deal? Michelle wore this thing however many days ago and she's certainly moved on, can't we?

Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 11:00 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

i LOVE the floral stress with the blue shoes. from a fashion stand point its perfect because its like a really modern approach to all those Jackie O. comparisons. it throws such as cute print off, but in a good way.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 12:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterAll_abouteve

Why did some comments disappear? Blog comments can sometimes be educational and I rather enjoy reading the different viewpoints, but I didn't finish one and now it's gone.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 6:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterKrissy

I wonder if I should wade into such a heated debated over dress but here goes. And remember this is an attempt to perhaps make some people understand the nature of a disagreement,

The dress she wore to this particular event is beautiful, fits her sublimely and she carries it off to the max. Hoorah for Mrs. O's fashion sense.

However, it is inappropriate for this occasion because:
A. It does not convey solemnity but rather sexuality.
B The bold splashes of color red and black and white are modern and stands in stark contrast to the very heart of a traditionally staid moment. I don't car how fashion forward a woman is, THIS is not the time to push it.
C. She covered her shoulders at a Farmer;s Market but reveals them and her cleavage and her pins here? I don't get this at all. Here there should be decorum, surely.
D. The event was to celebrate the life and heroism of a fallen soldier and the First Lady stole it away from him. You don't don't that at a wedding and you don't do that at a funeral. This is one of those moments.
E. Some responders here have mentioned the red in Mrs. Monti's dress but didn't bother to compare the dress itself. Arms covered, body dressed, below the knees. And the fabric didn't look like a Jackson Pollack canvas.

Clearly this is an opinion, mine, and you don't have to agree with it but you could simply listen to it and try to see if any of my points have merit. I have listened to the first page of the opposite and measured my response. I DO have a life, so you need not remind me to seek one.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 6:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

Christina,

I am going to pose this question to you because I know you will keep it real and I know you are cool and won't get all crazy on me.

Ok, you think the dress is a tad inappropriate. Do you think it has more to do with the person who is wearing the dress, whether than the dress itself? What I mean is picture the dress on another person that does not have Mrs. O figure (her hips, her arms, etc). I think because the dress is fitting her to a T, some people see that as sexy, which I am guessing is what is causing the inapproriate vibe. So what do you think?

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

MICHELLETOO: OMG!! You must be another poster who doesn't care to REALLY read my comments. I NEVER said the dress was inappropriate....other people certainly did, but not me. Do me a favor....when you see my name on a comment, just pass it by.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

I think the dress is beautiful and Mrs. Obama wers it well. However, I can see the viewpoint of those who think it inappropriate. I myself am several years older than Mrs. Obama and I probably would not have chosen that particular dress to wear, I do wear those type of dresses, but would not have chosen it for this occassion. I do not think it has anything to do with the person wearing the dress as oppose to the sleevless and V-cut of the dress.

Moreover, we are all grown and entitled to our opinion, and please realize it is not that serious.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterSharonah

The dress is lovely and she looks great - but it is totally inappropriate for this occasion.

I appreciate that her supporters would see the best intensions, but wearing a cocktail dress and chandelier earring to a memorial service is just not done. She should have saved this gorgeous outfit for another time.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterKate

Hey Nyon!

Thanks for asking me the question seriously, because you know I love Mrs. O and have gotten into a thousand fights defending her. Anyone who has been here for any length of time would know that.

I honestly just think the dress is a bit too sexy for the occasion, that's all. I would feel that way if it were anyone wearing it. That doesn't mean it's an ugly dress (in fact, I think that it's a fabulous dress and you're right, it fits her to a T.) It doesn't mean that I think MO has no class, or that she's breaking "rules," or that I'm telling her how to dress, or that she was intending to steal the show, or that she needed to wear a nun's habit, or anything more that that.

All it really means that I'm a little more of a conservative dresser than MO is. But I've been knowing that for a while. She's helping me break out of my shell. All the people who are saying that it was perfectly appropriate are no more right than I am. We just all have our own opinions.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 8:16 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

Christina, you said that very nicely.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 8:23 PM | Registered CommenterGroovy

Hey, I'm a Libra, I can argue both sides. :-) Like with that stupid shorts foofaraw. I completely disagreed with the people who had a problem with someone wearing shorts on vacation. But what I try not to do is read anything into the disagreement other than differences in taste.

Some days I"m more successful with this than other days.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 9:38 PM | Registered CommenterChristina

Christina,

Thanks for answering my question. Although I think it was ok, I can see where you are coming from. Maybe a cardigan would have dialed some of the sexy down. However, Mrs. O always exudes a quiet sexiness, which I think comes from her confidence and from the everflowing love from her hubby.

One thing I totally agree with you on is the shoes. I looked hard for just a little hint of that color in her dress and I don't see it. That pop of color seemed to come from too far left field for me.

Monday, September 21, 2009 at 10:28 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Nyon:

Complementary colors are opposite to each other on the color wheel. An example of complementary colors is red and green. So the teal green color of the shoes directly compliment the orange and red tones in the dress. I think the pop of color was well chosen.

Chris:

I did hear what you said in defining your opinion and the different standards which you think this dress is inappropriate. And I hear you say it is your opinion, and I do appreciate hearing what you have to say. I am having trouble putting my response into words, so what I say may not be grammatically correct, I have to write like I think.

When I hear the various comments of "inappropriate", I immediately sense that they are declarations of fact, rather than expressions of personal opinion; and if it is a fact that the dress is inappropriate, then there is no room for my opinion and then I get rankled. So, I think to myself well those are impossible standards for Mrs O because she cannot dress to a myriad of personal standards of what is appropriate or inappropriate. Now when I hear you say that these standards are your personal opinion than I'm like yeah well to each his reach.

I sort of think that is where a lot of the defensiveness comes from; some are concerned about whose standards is Mrs O measured by--for example you see sexy and Nyon sees quiet sexiness and I see gentle femininity because we all have our own defined sets of standards. And also I say to myself, self I say, does not Mrs O have a right to dress according to her own informed standards, then I think well maybe they think Mrs O does not have standards.

And I guess the most important thing I need to remember when I am reading everybody's great comments is that they we are ALL merely expressing our personal opinions based on our own personal standards and none of us really think that what we opine can be universally applied to anyone else, much less Mrs O.

So I said all that to say I love you guys and your opinions broaden my perspectives.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 12:53 AM | Registered Commenterboazwife

boazwife, you pulled a chuckle out of me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 3:55 AM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

THe print on that sleeveless wrap dress looks very similar to this Diane von F print: http://www.dvf.com/dvf/browse/productDetailWithPicker.jsp?productId=D8567004L9&categoryId=DRESSES&source=shopstyle

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 4:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Chris,

Thank you for that post. The way you put really made me see another side of the argument. So I thank you for adding to the discussion and for forwarding the conversation.

You know, Michelle Obama is my girl, so in my book she can do no wrong. However, I recognize that she is human and maybe she calibrated this event and missed the mark. Perhaps. I scanned through a few photos and the outfits that the women wore were really military and well, not so good looking, IMHO :) !

However, I really can see that from another perspective, she did look maybe TOO done up. Maybe she erred on the side of a celebration of a fallen soldier and should have erred on the side of memorial/funeral.

Your comments were really spot on however, from that perspective. I don't agree that she stole the spotlight from the soldier. Only on this blog, maybe. This dress was no where near shorts gate and if it weren't for Michelle Obama we wouldn't have really known about the ceremony. Ten dollars to anyone who can (without looking it up) recall the name of the brave soldier who got it last year. So in a way, Michelle did bring attention to the event, perhaps maybe a little too much about her. And the only other point that I would bring up with you is the cleavage. Like I said, great points, but that one not so much. Only because I didn't see any cleavage! Honestly, can you see from my perspective how I think that she wasn't showing any cleavage? Perhaps you can't, but no matter. That is really the only point on which I strongly disagree with your words.

If Michelle Obama were a military wife or mother she would NEVER have worn that. So maybe next time she will find a happy middle ground! But we do know that she will never please all of the people all of the time!

Thanks again Chris!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichelleToo

Boazwife: You are a kinder, gentler, nicer person...!

I don't believe for a moment that many of these new, unregistered posters screaming blue murder at Mrs Obama's 'sexy' look (horror of horrors!), at a 'memorial service' (which it wasn't by the way), are well-intentioned.

The twisted and contrived outrage about just about anything the Obama's do is getting really old and silly, by the way.

But there's no denying that there is this concerted effort to demonize and diminish this woman and her husband in any and every way possible; And many of those pushing this ridiculous effort are getting that much smarter and sneakier about it.

They aren't out and out hostile anymore, rather relying on subtle seemingly 'harmless' arguments about absolutely nothing to raise the furor.

Note the attempt at linking Mrs Obama's dress choice to the suggestion that she has no respect for slain soldiers or the sacrifices of military folks and their families - bottom line? Unpatriotic. Loads and loads of dangerous subtext.

These malcontent persons come on sites such as this, pretending to participate in 'fashion chit-chat', while insidiously planting their seeds of ill-will.

Again, for many of these folks, this is not idle, harmless chit-chat about fashion and if you believe it is, I have a 3rd world country brimming with oil wells I'd love to sell you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 4:22 PM | Registered CommenterAudrey

Audrey: Good Lord! The conspiracy theory of fashion of yours is over the top--the facts are that Mrs. O wore a sexy, skin-showing dress to a serious occasion. There are no politics in that statement, none. I think "see no evil" is a better motto--I prefer to think people have different opinons on style and dress than that they are slyly on the attack.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterjenh

Boazwife,

thanks for explaining the color wheel to me. I still am a little iffy about it though. But like you said that is my perspective. I must admit I have a hard time reading the comments as well, which is crazy because the way to remedy this is to stop reading them. But, I don't and I get fiyah hot and then I have to remember that they are just opinions. So, I laugh most of them off. This attitude has come after a few months of coming on this site. I have to remember I come on here to admire Mrs. O, not to get in arguments with people. I can't say that I stick by this all the time, but I damn sure try my best. I sometimes have to call BS out when I see it. I just have a hard time believing that if you really like MO, you can consistently say mean things about her. Yeah, its clothes, but they were HER choices. And before anybody comes at me wrong, I know Mrs. O is not a God. But I still find it hard to publically criticize her. I find it hard to criticize the people I love in my real life. Yes, there are people who truly just don't like those shoes and then there are those who are trying to belittle MO. Unfortunately, we can't tell who is who, so I have learned to try and move on from those comments.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

This is a great look for Michelle BUT it's inappropriate for the event she is attending. Part of fashion and being stylish is wearing the right clothes for the occasion. A more covered-up and somber outfit would be better - live and learn (another fashion rule).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnnie M.

Jenh: You're absolutely kidding right...?! LOL!

How curious that you find my post 'over the top' and yet in the same breath insist that opinions differ - Except of course when that opinion isn't quite what you want it to be...

You can choose to pussyfoot about or embrace those who insult Mrs Obama under the guise of 'fashion talk'... I choose to call it as I and so many others here see it-

People can have 'different opinions on style and dress' as you put it, but when there are clear suggestions that the outfit worn was a deliberate message of disregard to the fallen and his family, lines have been crossed-

Feel free to embrace your 'see no evil' motto - even if that only seems to apply to certain posters and posts of course...LOL!

As wonderfully accommodating as I choose to be, I also refuse to have people pee on my leg while trying really hard to convince me it's just raining -

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 3:49 AM | Registered CommenterAudrey

Krissy: I too just noticed that some of the comments including my response to Beegee's demeaning and insulting post about the First Lady were deleted. And yet the offending post by Beegee remains...

It appears that if enough people including the poster of the original offending post pressure Mrs T. offline she will delete a post because it's deemed 'offensive'.

Hard to believe that these same posters who are unabashedly horrid in their 'critique' of Mrs Obama, have a hard time stomaching a well-articulated response to their flippant dissection of not just the First lady's fashion, but her social skills and more - Now, that's inappropriate!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 8:09 AM | Registered CommenterAudrey

That other mimi,
how can you tell i'm being condescending and mean.....it really baffles me?

you see, we tend to make mistakes where we "worship"people and think they can do no wrong and are not even able to have a contrary opinion.
This couple whom we all so much adore do have different opinions on issues. From the media, i have garnered that she is quick to bring her husband to reality, when he gets carried away. The President has said she is his reality check, me thinks she achieved this by not being afraid to have a contrary opinion to his where need be. That definitley is not mean or condescending.

Im sure Mrs Obamas staff are not afraid to disagree on certain issues with her but they leave her to it.....would you classify that as mean or condescending.

so where i THINK (even though im in no close proximity with her for my opinion to make a difference) it is very unfair to label me as mean and condescending!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterAida

Beautiful dress, yes. The look is lovely. And inappropriate. The Medal of Honor ceremony? To honor a deceased soldier? Bright red flower print and chandelier earrings? Almost disrespectful of the occasion. She makes these big appropriateness and behavior mistakes and one wonders who's advising her????

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I'm glad to see Michelle wearing DVF. I love that label. However, the color of this dress is not appropriate to attend a ceremony for a fallen soldier. It's way too bright. This is not one of her best fashion moments.

Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 5:39 PM | Registered CommenterRuth Leslie

I wonder just how much a trip to the Farmer's Market cost the American people....Security doesn't come cheap.

Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 6:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMPS

AUDREY: Your responses are not "well-articulated." You give yourself too much credit. You see evil and conspiracies everywhere, especially where none exist. Beware...paranoia strikes deep. With you, it's always your way or the highway. How about finding a middle ground where your opinion is not the only one that matters?

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

It's a great dress and our First Lady looks positively smokin' in it. But is it just me? The summery print on white seems a little "off" for September 21st and a Medal of Honor ceremony for a fallen soldier. It just seems like a little more somber event - where this dress is positively joyous.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterDenise Michaels

I love the Obama's, but I agree that the red floral did not suit the occasion if a deceased veteran was being honored. Perhaps that's why the President's expression looks strained? It is very infrequent for her to miss the mark. She has been consistently elegant, beautiful inside and out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterMary McC

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