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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
May042009

Cuatro de Mayo

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Mrs. O got an early start on Cinco de Mayo festivities, celebrating with a group of schoolchildren at a Hispanic Heritage event at the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School (a mouthful!) in Washington, DC.

Mrs. O wears J.Crew's featherweight cashmere argyle cardigan in lavender stone salt (some may recall she wore the same cardigan last week in an olive hue), a gray pleated skirt and silver python ballet flats.

In yesterday's "Sunday with the Magazine" discussion, several of the panelists commented that Mrs. O had seemed to her expand her silhouette of choice in recent months -- once defined by the body skimming sheath dress -- to include the flattering fitted cardigan and full skirt combination. We see another great example of this silhouette here.

A video of Mrs. O's remarks:

Monday
May042009

Sunday with The Magazine

A few Mrs. Oers were in attendance at yesterday's "Sunday with The Magazine" event at the TimesCenter. The panel featured Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, leading discussion with designers Narciso Rodriguez, Maria Cornejo and Thakoon Panichgul.

Miss KaitlinC has shared her inspired perspective, which we're delighted to feature:

Today's New York Timesevent, "Sunday With The Magazine," was a lovely way to spend a rainy day in the city. As a young person trying to make it in the design world, it is both interesting and inspirational to discover designers' different perspectives on what is happening in today's world. Three designers that I look up to were discussing Michelle Obama,  a very important figure in American society, and what impact she has on fashion and vice versa.

I think that I was most affected by the idea that Michelle is very much her own person, and her way of dressing embodies her individuality. She dresses in a very approachable manner, and very much like an everyday fashion conscious woman would -- she has her favorites, like most, but isn't afraid to try someone or something new.

I was very impressed with all of the designers' insightful responses to Cathy Horyn's questions. For the most part, they found the criticism toward Mrs. O a bit ridiculous, and defended her fashion decisions. Narciso's facial expressions were priceless. I also particularly enjoyed seeing the personalities of these three designers, who I very much admire. I fell in love with Maria Cornejo the first time I walked into her Nolita store, and I always enjoy when my admiration of a designer's work is equal to that of my admiration for their ideals and world views.

I think that although each designer has a very different manner of creative expression, they all have similar views on Mrs. O. She is a modern woman, personifying strength and confidence, who is working to make a difference in today's world. She has a playful femininity that she shows through her choice of designers, accessories, silhouettes, and color. She doesn't listen to the media's criticism, and continues to wear what she loves. More than anything, women today need a figure like Michelle to force us to take chances and go against the fashion norm.

Continue reading for LayoG's perspective and more:

And from the lovely LayoG (who amazingly is a full-time graduate student in both fashion design and law!):

Taking a step back from the fashion and style of Mrs. O, there seems to be a conclusive theme that many people, including the designers who participated in the panel, have woven around Mrs. O -- that is, the sense that she is a genuine, authentic, confident woman. If there was one thing I took away from the event, it is that all of the designers truly enjoy making clothes for the First Lady, because they enjoy the person she is, and recognize that she is more than just fashion, but is a woman of many talents.  
They all expressed how much they love that Mrs. O is an everyday woman, who is intelligent, who works, who has a family to care for, and who repeats outfits (I mean really, who can afford to never wear the same outfit twice!) .  It is comforting to know that the First Lady's designers put much thought into her garments, and get as much satisfaction making her clothes, as we do in seeing her wear them.  It is also great the see the human side of these designers.  There was no sense of entitlement, but rather a deep felt appreciation that the First Lady has taken to their designs.  
I loved hearing the story of how Thakoon heard about Mrs. O wearing his design to meet Carla Bruni Sarkozy (an outfit he originally designed for Mrs. O to wear to the swearing-in ceremony at Inauguration, which in hindsight, he wished he had lined to be warmer). Visiting his grandmother in Thailand at the time, he patiently waited for the pictures to very slowly load from the Internet.  These little anecdotes endeared me to the designers even more.  I have been a fan of Narciso Rodriguez and Thakoon for some time, but I can't really say I would have stopped by a Maria Cornejo rack in the store. I have taken a genuine interest in her after this event, and will make sure to get to her section in the store, and buy her stuff (of course after I graduate from school and I'm making a pay check!).
I was most impressed by her worldly views and her genuine appreciation of Mrs. O as a woman, as a mother, and as our First Lady!  Lastly, as cynical as some people seem to be of Ikram's role in Mrs. O's fashion, I think the designers have settled the issue. It would seem that it is the First Lady who chooses what she wants to wear, where she wants to wear it to, and how she wants to wear it -- and I love her even more for it.  By the way, I think it's safe to say to the designers who feel Mrs. O should be wearing their big name labels, and actually seem to think they can tell the First Lady what to wear --  in the words of Narciso Rodriguez -- "that's so outrageous!"

 

KaitlinC and LayoG have so nicely summed up the event, I don't have too much more to add. My one quibble, perhaps, is that the moderator, Ms. Horyn, spent too much time rehashing themes of her "Shadow Stylist" piece, which led to a slightly tense and guarded first half of the discussion. If anything was gained, it's that we heard the many upsides to the relationship between the First Lady, Ikram Goldman and the designers, points absent in the original article. Still, I believe it would have been interesting to explore the design ethos of each panelist in greater depth, and the common themes of craftsmanship and independent thinking that unite their otherwise quite different, individual aesthetics. To echo points made by both KaitlinC and LayoG, it was clear that all of the designers have profound respect for the First Lady.
Saturday
May022009

A Saturday Evening Stroll

Photo by Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Mr. O and First Lady Mrs. O were out on the town for a dinner date at Citronelle this evening. Upon their return, the couple took a stroll on the South Lawn of the White House at sunset. For the evening, Mrs. O dressed in a crisp white shirt, worn with the collar up and neck open, projecting nonchalent elegance. A slight train and long ties laced at the back added extra flair to the non-basic basic.

The First Lady paired her blouse with cropped black pants and sandals, adding a punch of color with an azure blue clutch. (The shoes, we believe, are Jimmy Choo.) For those who watched Larry King Live on Thursday, we were struck by Patti Davis's observation that the Obamas have helped to highlight (perhaps unintentionally) the beauty of the White House property. With a glance at the photo above, the observation rings quite true. We have to say, all appears well and good at the White House this evening.

Update: We are just back from the New York Times Sunday with the Magazine event, which featured fashion critic Cathy Horyn, designers Narciso Rodriguez, Maria Cornejo and Thakoon Panichgul in a panel discussion. Cathy Horyn referenced the ensemble above, noting that Mrs. O was wearing Alaia. We found a similar Alaia blouse, with the same fish tail effect, pictured here.

On another note, we were delighted to meet up with LayoG and Kaitlin at the event! More to follow on that front later.

Friday
May012009

Mrs. O Odds and Ends

As the week comes to a close, we thought we'd highlight a few of our favorite stories from the past few days. #1 Mrs. O has been named to Time magazine's list of the Most Influential People in the World. Under the "Heroes and Icons" category, Mrs. O is tributed by another O, Oprah Winfrey. Oprah succinctly sums up the most perfect observations about Mrs. O. The full piece is worth a read, but one of our favorite passages follows:

The woman I witnessed five years ago, with her graciousness, care and attention to detail, is the same woman I visited in the White House in February. Her very presence makes you feel welcome. Her political power is secondary to her heart power, and I salute her for that. I trust her. I know that whatever she gives her attention to, the truth will always be present. She doesn't make false moves.

#2 Not only is Mrs. O influential, she's officially beautiful. The First Lady was also named to People magazine's Most Beautiful People of 2009 issue. #3 In doing research for our work-in-progress Mrs. O book, we came across this photo, which we believe was taken in 2007. Mrs. O was backstage with The Second City comedians after a performance of Between Barack and a Hard Place in Chicago. What really caught our eye, we have to admit, is Mrs. O's dress. While we've seen Mrs. O in tailored jackets by Maria Cornejo, this is the first we've seen Mrs. O in a dress from her line - the Ita dress. We would love to see this dress make a White House encore! #4 Speaking of Maria Cornejo, she is one of several of designers lobbying for much deserved copyright protection. Click here for a NYMag article on the effort. #5 A bit of intel by way of Chicago, thanks to Mrs. C, Marcia Coburn. Several of you have inquired about Mrs. O's black windbreaker, worn when Bo made his debut on the White House lawn. Mrs. C visited Ikram this week and reports that the jacket is Sonia Rykiel. Finally we'll leave you with a video from last night's Larry King Live, which featured Robin Givhan and Andre Leon Talley talking about Mrs. O's influence. Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday
Apr292009

Serving on the 100th Day

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

First Lady Mrs. O and Dr. Jill Biden joined 160 Congressional spouses and children to volunteer at the Capital Area Food Bank today. Mrs. O and Dr. B are pictured with Lynn Brantley, Executive Director of the Capitol Area Food Bank and Vicki Escarra, President and CEO of Feeding America. Mrs. O wears J.Crew's Featherweight cashmere argyle cardigan in silver olive salt, paired with cropped gray pants and Lanvin's cap toe sneakers. Click here to see another fantastic image from today's event (thank you American-n-Rome!) P.S. We do love Dr. B's cropped white pants and silver flats!

Thanks to Janelle, who informs us the latter are Tory Burch's ‘Reva’ ballerina flats.