Michelle Obama revealed enviable arms at the Inaugural Ball this past Monday where she donned a crimson Jason Wu gown, making this the second time she’s sported the designer during inauguration. The statement she made wasn’t strictly one of fashion. This family is here to stay and the gown declared as much.
Smart Sensuality Elegance in the White House
The bold color choice is an effortless effect for Obama who pulls off brights beautifully. The floor sweeping Jason Wu gown catches the light in its multi dimensional, devore velvet. It’s pattern is subtle but the effect is undeniable. Her toned arms, back and shoulders are highlighted, creating a charming duality between the strength of her physique and the softness of the dress.
The gown is an impressive feat for the designer, whose career she is said to have launched when she wore a custom-made, white, one-shouldered Wu creation during the first inaugural ball. With this dress, Michelle Obama seems to be making another statement: America’s first lady is proud of herself and her husband — and isn’t afraid to show it.
There’s some clamor around the gown being “Nancy Reagan Red,” a throw back to the smacking red coat and hat combination that cast Ronald Reagan in a dark shadow during the 1981 inauguration. But what Nancy’s structured, conservative and famously expensive outfit choices did that Michelle’s choices do not is separate her from the people.
A known fashion fanatic, Nancy Reagan amassed dresses, gowns and suits from luxury designers, often accepting them as gifts without footing the bill. Michelle inserts relatable hints of real-women’s fashion into her wardrobe such as the $40 burgundy J-Crew gloves she paired with a Tom Brown coat at the Inaugural Parade that are now flying off the shelves of J-Crew stores across America.
First Lady, First Mother, First Lawyer and Hospital Executive
Obama’s bold fashion choices draw criticism from some crowds. She is a lawyer, mother, wife and the first African American first lady in America. Should we be paying so much attention to what she wears? Should she be so focused on her fashion choices?
The truth is every first lady makes a statement with the things she says, the causes she backs and, unavoidably, the way she dresses. Obama’s peers of the past who have decided to shy away risk losing their legacy.
We remember Jackie Kennedy through her style, just as Michelle Obama will be immortalized for hers. It’s easy to think of this as shallow, but consider: Here in America we hold tight to the idea that substance and style have to occupy separate spaces while other cultures embrace this notion. How you present yourself is a form of expression, one that can say as much about a person as the words they write.
While fashion can at times be frivolous as trends are born and live their short lives season to season, style is about consistency. Women of substance can simultaneously care about fashion as a form of self expression.
The style strategy of Smart Sensuality women isn’t exclusive to women of the White House. Style is a language that women should be encouraged to be literate in — not ashamed of or apologetic about. Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, there’s no denying that people notice clothing choices. Let’s learn from Michelle Obama and make our statements bold, optimistic and unquestioned. ~ Nomi D Leasure
“Nomi Leasure is the newest addition to the Anne of Carversville enterprise. Currently she studies Broadcast Communications and Writing at Temple University. A feminist before she even knew it, Nomi embodies the mission of the website and feels a personal connection to the values reflected here. She hopes her young, unforgiving and, at times, naive perspective will find a home in this viewership. Though not well versed in the language of high fashion, she is quickly learning and drawing connections between body image, sensuality, values and style. You can still be feminine and be a feminist.”