I have to say, I really love Michelle Obama’s personal style. Don’t like it, love it. She’s got a great eye for fashion, she knows what looks good on her, she gracefully mixes high and low pieces to come up with a unique look that suits her personality and makes her look spectacular without being overdone, and she’s made comfort a priority. She’s bringing bright, optimistic colors onto the palate and she knows who she is so she doesn’t need the "big name" label in order to impress. I’m now adding brightly colored pieces to everything I wear in her honor. Purple handbags, chartreuse shoes — I’m so there.

Michelle boldly introduced young, new designer faces onto the fashion scene with her high profile choices for inauguration week, like Jason Wu (above). That, and the fact that she’s a tall, athletic black woman in the White House seems to have everyone projecting their own anxieties onto her.

Danielle Belton:

For years the fashion industry has lived in a fantasy world where all women were damn-near Nordic white, 5’11" and 110 lbs. Now we have a tall, super brown First lady who is athletic in her build and looks good in a paper sack and sacre bleu! What to do when you’ve ignored huge segments of planet earth for decades? Can you continue the ostrich with your head in the sand routine and continue to design pasty, dull heroine chic outfits for Kate Moss or can you dig it and stop treating black folks (as well as Asians and Latinas) as some sort of fashion modeling equivalent of "The Death Star" where your overpriced pieces of "art" go to die?

The article goes on to state that some, like the Council of Fashion Designers of America, are trying to talk the big wigs off the ledge, reminding them that despite Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley’s insistence, Michelle Obama cannot single-handily save their crappy industry in this recession.

Don’t make her a "false saviour of their business in troubled economic times," they say.

But when you’re used to nothing getting between your Calvins and the White House, you’re bound to have an identity crisis.

I really don’t recall everyone worried about Laura Bush causing a crisis in the fashion industry because she looked like a sack of loose potatoes seasoned with Xanax, but such is life.

Anyway, well played, Michelle — loved your gown at the inaugural ball. And your gorgeous daughters, too (who exerted plenty of fashion industry muscle when they crashed the JCrew website).

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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