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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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Monday
Jan212013

A Moment in History

On this very special day, the clothes are certainly more than just garments - they are an instant part of our social history. In 2009, Mrs. O wore an Isabel Toledo ensemble in a sunny lemongrass color that signaled newfound optimism. In 2012, the first lady's choice is symbolic in a different sense. Designed by Thom Browne, the 2012 recipient of the National Design Award in Fashion Design, this choice seems to honor the craft and artistry of fashion as a whole.

Per the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum: "Thom Browne’s meticulous aesthetic is rooted in an American sensibility evocative of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Browne opened his doors in the fall of 2001, offering bespoke tailored clothing; he introduced ready-to-wear menswear in 2004 and womenswear in 2010."

From a White House official via the pool report: "The First Lady is wearing a navy Thom Browne coat and dress. The fabric was developed based on the style of man's silk tie. The belt and gloves she is wearing are from J.Crew and her earrings are designed by Cathy Waterman. She is also wearing Reed Krakoff boots. At the end of the Inaugural festivities, the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives."

Update: Dr. Biden wears a Lela Rose silk bow coat per Eric Wilson of the New York Times.

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Reader Comments (52)

Love!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 11:46 AM | Registered CommenterKathie

Amazing! Gorgeous! Elegant! So proud.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristina Simon

Repeat again - Perfection! So beautiful!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterAuntie Mom

First impression of the coat: absolutely gorgeous, luxurious fabric, she looks fabulous, Michelle got it right on the money today. HOWEVER, later in the day she put that belt on and I'm disappointed. It detracts from the simple beauty of the coat. LOVE the boots and pink gloves, but if the coat cried out for an accessory, maybe a scarf would have been better...
I totally adore the girls' outfits. You won't see the three Obama women out without some color figuring into the equation! The colors are exquisite.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:01 PM | Registered Commenterbabs

I love the boots and the gloves! I do prefer the coat without the belt.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

AAAK why the belt??? so much better without it.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterANN50

The coat is pretty but also subdued. So for that reason, I love really love the addition of the exuberant, festive belt! And those boots! I covet them!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

The belt adds sparkle and a different look combined with the boots and gloves, than the way Mrs. O was sporting the looser coat, no gloves, and light gray heels during the earlier church outing. I like it both ways!

Re the outfit going immediately afterward to the National Archives, wow! Guess that means FLOTUS won't be shopping her closet for a re-wear. Bet there will be similar knock-offs made for ready-to-wear retail. Those who can pattern and sew a version, I envy you. ;)

So I guess this Thom Browne Inaugural ensemble will join Isabel Toledo's and Jason Wu's wonderful garments from four years ago. When POTUS and FLOTUS leave the White House, perhaps Mrs. O will be sending more of her ceremonial and special event dresses and gowns to the Archives as well.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM | Registered Commenterflotusrocks

I love that coat! And I love how Mr. Thom Browne thought about silk ties, and how strong Mrs. Obama is, and if Mr. Obama would wear blue! It all works! That belt, in my opinion, does not ditract from the coat, I think it adds to it, and I love the contrast of the purple gloves and the lighter shade of blue in the boots. Her outfit today, and the whole families outfit today was SPOT ON! WAY TO GO MRS. O!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM | Registered CommenterBayo Omole

God Bless them both!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterAarchman10001

I see a lot of people don't like the jeweled belt with the coat. I think it's fine to dress it up a bit. FLOTUS loves belts, and she has a knack for accessorizing. Sure a colorful scarf could have worked quite nicely in lieu of the belt. It's always FLOTUS' choice, and she does it better than most of us would do under the intense scrutiny and white-hot spotlight. ;)

ITA with you Catherine. I just read your comments. The coat is understated and subdued despite being made of a gorgeous, luxurious fabric. I can see why FLOTUS decided to add the sparkle. She's so astute and stylish. It would be something if she would write a book about the evolution of her style and fashion sense from a young age. However, she is unlikely to do that, so maybe someone else will ... Mrs. T? :)

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM | Registered Commenterflotusrocks

All the Obama women look lovely today! I love Mrs. O's coat and think that the belt adds some sparkle and hits the right celebratory note. Am eagerly awaiting tonight's gown!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterouapiti

I know I'll be in the minority here but I don't think the coat is as special as the one she wore at the last inauguration. I don't usually like the belts but this coat needed something! Dr Biden's coat is fabulous.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered Commentergaylev

Absolutely spot on. she showed the versatility of an outfit and how to accessorize for any occasion.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterb. withers

FLOTUS has another home run! Love the boots. Belt is fine. Rock the hair!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTHC1

I love that she added the belt and boots. Her belts are always such a controversy, but she LOVES them and it's her waist to adorn or not! Thom Browne began as a menswear designer, so neckwear patterns are in his blood. The seam and piping detail on this coat are superb. I hope we get a peek at whatever is underneath. Also, I noticed a few grey hairs in MO's do this morning. I'm thrilled that she is letting them show. She has earned every one!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:11 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

Okay, I'm seeing video of the Congressional luncheon and first look at the dress underneath the coat. I suppose the dress is sleeveless and that's why the navy blue shrug. I'm not sure I like the color or fit of the shrug with the dress. Again, FLOTUS is likely trying to keep warm as well as to liven up the print dress which is much lighter but still as subdued in appearance as the coat. Looking forward to updated pics.

I absolutely love the sleeveless dress that Dr. Biden is wearing. More details please? Thanks!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Registered Commenterflotusrocks

Is Jill Biden wearing Jason Wu at the luncheon?

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Registered CommenterNotTheRedBaron

This is a very Mod look on Mrs. O today. The geometric lines of the coat together with that slight sheen in the fabric, the mixture of texture on the boots and that pop of colour on the lips and gloves (and let's not forget those alluring bangs) makes this look magazine worthy. So looking forward to tonight! The excitement is almost palatable!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Registered CommenterRocky

I think the dress is the reverse side of the fabric of the coat. The blue cardigan is the same one she wore yesterday.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:31 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

That coat is gorgeous! I love it unbelted with the pretty blue pumps or belted with the beautiful boots. The gloves are a perfect shade with the navy. Mrs. O looked great. I like the dress but am so disappointed that she put on that shrug. Oh, well...

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKitCat

They all looked wonderful ... though she is a better woman than me - I'd hate to give up such gorgeous clothes!! (smile)

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 1:57 PM | Registered CommenterKay Tee

SO gorgeous and such a wonderful day. Happy for them! And FLOTUS is so beautiful. I actually thought the belt was pretty. Couldn't be prouder of our First Family.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnne

She looked absolutely stunning in this ensemble! MIchele can pull anything off and is so smart in her style choices. Way to go Thom Browne! I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot of you in the future.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterIheartFLOTUS

I love Michelle Obama and her clothes normally make a statement but I don't like her bangs as they make her look older than she usually looks. The coat.....that is slowly growing on me. However, Jill 's outfit is very nice!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterfashionwatch

Personally, I love the belt!! It definitely gives a little drama to the coat. I like with and without the belt. She basically wore two different outfits in the span of minutes!! The girls have grown into two beautiful young ladies! I loved both girls' coats and liked Sasha' s dress. I never got a good look at Malia's.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

I like both looks. For service she had the kitty shoes with no stockings or belt. She then put the belt with the boots and gloves. It shows there are several ways to put a outfit togeather. Changes are we may she this overcoat again vs. 2009 coat which is to formal for everyday events.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterKWNesbitt

I am swooning, still! This day is shaping up to be a veritable feast of fashion. Nobody, and I mean nobody does it like our Michelle!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit

It's Undeniable: First Lady Michelle Obama looks Gorgeous in any outfit she puts on. However, I'm a little disappointed in her 2nd Inauguration coat, maybe because the Lemongrass ensemble was so very Very Special. It subtly glittered in the pale DC sunshine & was so very elegant, feminine & all out Beautiful, especially when paired w/the rich green of her gloves & pumps and that So Lovely vintage paste brooch at her neck! Her 2013 Inauguration coat is interesting and edgy, it's true, plus the beautiful hues she & her daughters are wearing are Very pretty. All three of them look stunning when seen together. Yet, for me, the geometric coat Mrs. O is wearing today is a little too hard-edged. If clothes are more than the sum of their parts & convey symbolism (and they sure do), this 2nd Inauguration outfit evokes a certain toughness, as contrasted w/the 1st Inauguration coat & dress. I suppose that's more than understandable, but I find the Magic is lessened in today's outfit, as compared to 2009's, except for the rich purple of her gloves, the jeweled glitter of that awesome belt & the way that Mrs. O & her 3 daughters harmonize so well together, (yet each has a distinct look all her own; Sasha is wearing a Particularly Gorgeous hue). I don't much like the boots our First Lady is wearing, (to my way of thinking they are a bit too casual for Inauguration Day) nor am I a fan of her new hairstyle (I know I am probably not in the majority here). This 'Do, while Undeniably flattering, looks a bit too trendy & young for our First Lady. (Heavens, what woman over 23 doesn't want to look younger? Yet, I think Mrs. O looked more beautiful with her previous hairstyle). Despite these little criticisms (and it's very easy to be critical from afar) I Do see touches of Michelle Magic in her clothes of today - and I am really Excited to see the ball gown she is going to be wearing tonight! Also, were it not Inauguration Day, I think her outfit would be just fine, but I guess that Lemongrass Stunner of 2009 put me over the moon! I had hoped Michelle Obama would be able to top that Luscious Lemongrass masterpiece. For me, she did not do so, but she still looks Gorgeous & she sure knows how to use glowing, vivid color in her wardrobe. Her daughters do, too!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterZell

I am swooning just like Charlene in Detroit. I am so happy today I could bust open! Love my President and First Family. Rock it Mrs. O!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrWinona

I have to wonder: are the lovely green gloves Malia is wearing w/her beautiful pink/purple coat the very same gloves that her mother wore with her Lemongrass ensemble in 2009? The color looks Identical! I like the contrast they make w/Malia's coat!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterZell

My hunch: The gloves are hinting at the color of the dress she will wear to the balls!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 4:35 PM | Registered CommenterNotTheRedBaron

I love that she chose a designer with roots in menswear, love Thom Browne and Reed Krakoff. Love the gloves and the belt, all fantastic.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 4:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterDGW

I’m just mesmerized by the entire moment. They were born for this role and seem so relaxed in the midst of all the excitement. God Bless the Obama’s. I’m loving her hair more and more now – her high cheek bones are even more beautiful with this look.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Registered CommenterFern Gullie

The cardigan is one of her, can you call it 'favorite mistakes' ?..... She was even wearing a cardigan when meeting the Queen of England. A cardigan is considered 'home wear'. Nevertheless.......apparently she can just wear it at official events and feel comfortable.... Part of her self confidence? It makes me smile and I admire her for being so much herself.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

Why was the coat belted walking through the crypt to the inauguration stage, but not belted when she got out of the limo before entering the capital. Personally, I think the belt is too much. The coat is stunning without the belt.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterWanda

That coat is lovely...the contrast and suprise of the belt brings the whole look together nicely! What a modern First Lady! She is going to continue to suprise us!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdear

Wishing all a very Happy Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day and President Barack Obama 2nd Inauguration Day!
Peace

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:22 PM | Registered CommenterTerri Austin-Randolph Mrs sTAR

I think she looks stunning. The line is so sleek and fashion forward, the fabric utterly unique and the color perfectly matched the President and complimented the girls. The accents just as fab. The gloves were my favorite and picked up Malia's colors and those boots are simply fabulous. Her added touch of the J. Crew belt made it 100% Mrs. Obama. Just perfect. The both looked so relaxed and you could tell they were enjoying everyone and taking it all in. The girls looked beautiful.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Stunning coat, although it's better without the belt, and the gloves and boots are perfect. The girls are lovely and I love Dr. B's coat! I'm just thinking about the colors, though: the optimistic lemongrass in 2008 stood out in the sea of dark colors and the partisan reds and blues. I feel like the subdued tone of this one stands for something, but I'm not sure what? Am I reading too much into this?

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered Commentera MI Mom

Jill Biden looks great!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterHilarious

I am somewhat reassessing my previous comments on Mrs O's outfit. Today is a day of Celebration, but also one of Remembrance, as it's Martin Luther King Jr. Day. President Obama held his hand on top of two Bibles: one that was owned by Lincoln & one owned by Martin Luther King Jr. The rather somber & even somewhat severe coat that Mrs. O is wearing is in keeping w/this day in many ways. Her lovely purple gloves are a color that gives sparkle to her ensemble on this Wonderful Day, yet this color Also bespeaks of mourning, at least in days gone by, which again harkens to Martin Luther King Jr. I'm not saying that our First Lady Deliberately chose this more somber, yet elegant outfit for the reasons I mentioned, but for me, it really works. I think I was initially too blinded by my love of her 2009 Lemongrass outfit to see the beauty of This Inauguration Outfit - and the Power of it. (On a lighter note, I am really starting to Love her new hairstyle! It Works! As a previous commenter said, her bangs highlight her lovely, high cheekbones)! Also, I Love this outfit in both the belted, booted mode (although I wish Mrs. O had chosen dressier boots, maybe in patent leather) and in the style w/o the belt, & w/the pumps. I do think the belt gives an Extra, Special glittery dressiness to her coat, however, even though the belt also makes the cut of the coat less flared, and so: more severe in the way it falls. Both looks are Beautiful, however!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterZell

I thought the coat looked so nice. Was pretty disappointed when she added the belt. Jill Biden's wore a love,y dress as well, and quite an unusual coat.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 8:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterChar

Fantastic choices-- the coat, with and without the belt, the gloves and the boots. Classic and daring at the same time! Fantastic representation of American style!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 2:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthena

Hair-flawless...boots and j-crew heels-LOVED them....eyelashes-EXCELLENT!! The coat and the belt was less than a hit for me..and I absolutely loathed the last inauguration coat. She can do so much better...she has the BEST figure...perfect height!!! Gorgeous legs!!!! Simple would be soooooo much better on her. Inaugural ball gown....beautiful material!!! Dr. Biden..just beautiful!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustmekeepinitrealhonest

Loved this ensemble and thought it was fierce and edgy but very flattering as well. I wish Mrs. O would wear more tailored outfits from Thom Browne.....it's figure flattering and makes her look lean and slimmer and flatters her body type very well. At times, Mrs O stumbles (like we all do) and picks clothes that does nothing for her figure or emphasizes the wrong areas. This, on the other hand, was PERFECT.

As for the accessories, loved the boots, HATE the belt (she takes away from the beauty of so many outfits by adding a belt that adds nohing to the outfit, looks out of place, or is positioned in a weird spot on her waist that is not flattering for her body shape). The gloves were ok but why did she go with purple gloves when a grey or blue shade would have coordinated with the coat and boots better?

And I think the hair looks better now then it did when she 1st debuted the new look. Don't know if it was trimmed a bit, but it's sleeker and obviously was flat ironed nicely and was a bit bouncier and sleeker and took some of the 'wiggy' look away. I still think the bangs are too much and need to be thinned out a bit. I think all the hair and the thick bangs and the false eyelashes and eye make-up just give her a more harsher look. Like I said, I was so hoping that she would get an updated do for the 2nd term. I am just not sure this is the best style for her, but it is growing on me and Mon it did look a lot better.

And I must say Dr. Jill Biden gets overlooked and she is always gorgeous and hardly ever stumbles with any of her outfits. That yellow dress she had on this weekend was AMAZING and her coat Mon. was GORGEOUS and so unique.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:29 AM | Registered CommenterChauny

This time the girls totally outshined their mom. As a mom of girls about the same age I do appreciate how they look age appropriate yet trendy without sloppy. Though the lines and design of the coat were great I did not like the color and felt she was lost in a sea of black and blue. Dr. Biden's coat was beautiful.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterlinda

I love the coat and belt, not such a fan of the dress and cardigan underneath.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Registered CommenterBB

I love the coat with the belt; the boots are more casual than the pumps; the belt, in my opinion, enhances the outfit with the boots. To me, the belt would have been a distraction with the coat and the pumps.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM | Registered CommenterSoccerNana

@Zell, Malia's gloves seem to be the same shade of teal that's in the buttons on her coat. At the first inauguration, our Michelle's gloves were olive and her shoes were more of a teal color. I just love how the Obama girls have fun with color, just a chip off the ole' block!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit

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