November 4th, 2016

Michelle Obama takes my advice, sort of

And gets into trouble for it.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I gave some fashion advice to the new First Lady, Michelle Obama. I thought she’d look good in a dress on the order of a particular garment of Jackie Kennedy’s:

Not to belabor the point (oh, maybe just a little), but this is what Michelle Obama should have worn to the Inaugural Ball. Although a different color might have been in order, the cut and drape would have been just perfect.

The dress has the added attraction of being historical: designed by Oleg Cassini, it was worn by Jacqueline Kennedy in 1962 at a White House dinner honoring Nobel Prize Laureates of the Western Hemisphere.

Which did not yet include Bob Dylan, although he was already starting his literary career.

Here’s Jackie’s elegant and classically-inspired dress:


Well, I’ve waited and I’ve waited, through thick and thin and the entire stressful Obama administration, as well as the frustrating and depressing 2016 campaign season. And now, finally, we have this:


It’s in the ballpark, anyway. And it is in a different color (and material). Although I don’t think I’d have chosen gold, I rather like it. It’s never too late to take neo-neocon’s advice.

And yes, I know this is maximally trivial and you don’t want to hear about it. But I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between the two dresses. If you think that Michelle’s isn’t quite as nice as Jackie’s, I’d agree with you. But I think that in general, clothing is nowhere near as well-made as it used to be, and this probably goes for designer clothing as well (Michelle’s dress was by Versace).

13 Responses to “Michelle Obama takes my advice, sort of”

  1. LJB Says:

    The asymmetrical shoulders do not work well with her body type. The Jackie K dress has symmetrical shoulders and a consistently flattering line throughout.

    This dress is also beautiful, but the overall impression would have been improved if the right shoulder was off-shoulder to match the left (or alternatively, if the left off-shoulder wasn’t there at all and the dress was one shouldered).

    As it stands, the asymmetrical shoulder lines draws unflattering attention to the width of Michelle’s shoulders in comparison to her hips.

    But beautiful color, fabric and lines otherwise.

  2. Susanamantha Says:

    I think her hair should have been parted on the other side, or the dress should have been made with the
    right shoulder holding the upper strap. The lines of hair and drape of dress would have matched and made the impression of more slimness. But what do I know?

  3. J.J. Says:

    They are a handsome couple.

    She is not as elegant as Jackie was. But then few are.

    As to the style of the dress, I would say it is more stylish than many of her past dresses.

    This is cotton candy. A relief from the campaign. Well, sort of.

  4. neo-neocon Says:


    I agree it would have been better with a matching hair part.

    But I was just so stunned to see the dress at this late date, so similar to the Jackie dress. It’s not like it’s a style you see every day, either. It’s unusual.

  5. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Eh … I saw a pic on the Daily Mail of the rear view. Made her ass look so big that she could have used a “Wide Load” warning.

  6. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    She’s being criticized for the price of the dress — maybe it was $10,000 or $12,000, I forget — but you know, even though I am no fan, the price doesn’t bother me. She’s the First Lady of the United States and she should dress at a level appropriate to that role. She should look drop-dead gorgeous in a rose-gold dress — or as close to it as she can come — when she’s on the arm of the President.

    Plus, I don’t know if it happened here, but I believe the way this often works is that the designers loan dresses and jewelry to people in the public eye, so that often they aren’t actually paying to wear it.

  7. sdferr Says:

    I once heard a story told about Winston Churchill and the rhetorical use to which he put his lit cigar in order to hold an audience’s rapt attention on his speech: it was said that Churchill had inserted a thin steel wire into his cigar such that the ash of that cigar grew and grew, longer and longer, yet never fell.

    So occasionally, I casually wonder at this fashion and that, whether there are not dabs of glue placed with great care and strategic sense, tending toward a fascination in order to grip the gaze of beholders? I do not know, but yet can imagine.

  8. Frog Says:

    She is nouveau in my eyes, will always be. As is he.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Mrs Whatsit:

    I have a relevant story on that, involving Jackie Kennedy. When JFK was president, she was heavily criticized for wearing designer gowns, and foreign-designed designer gowns at that. The NY Times reporter decided to go to the garment district in NY and briefly interview a few people about what they thought of that. One of the people stopped (actually, two, because one was me) was my girlfriend and me, young ballet dancers on our way to class at the old Met. My friend wasn’t the least bit shy, and she said, when questioned, “Let her tell them off! She’s First Lady, isn’t she?” and that became the featured headline of the story in the Times.

    When my friend grew up, she became a highly successful powerhouse NY lawyer. I became a blogger who hides behind an apple. There’s a lesson there.

  10. Francesca Says:

    Beautiful dress, beautiful fabric, beautiful colors. Eye-catching. I like it.

  11. liz Says:

    I think you will enjoy commenting about Mrs. Trump’s dresses than Hillary’s pantsuits or Bill’s suits….. so there might be a bright side for a Trump victory! 😉

  12. Ann Says:

    I found a photo of Jackie Kennedy in that dress — taken at the White House in 1962. Looks quite different actually being worn, I think.

  13. neo-neocon Says:


    Interesting photo. That shows Jackie in motion, which shows that the dress had a lot of give in the lower half when the wearer moved. My guess is that when she stood still it hung down much straighter and in a more form-fitting way. I believe the fabric is some sort of chiffon, which is very light and moves a lot with motion.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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