August 31 2014

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Yea, Nay, or Eh: Michelle Obama’s Fashion Diplomacy


She’s worn shorts on Air Force One and Tom Binns to the Kennedy Center—you don’t have to be an avid Huffington Post reader to know Michelle Obama is changing the rules of White House dressing. But at the Obamas first State Dinner last night—the must-attend event for all Beltway-bound socialites—the First Lady’s choice of a gown by Naeem Khan was utterly on the mark. The evening’s guests of honor were Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur; Khan is an Indian-born U.S.-based designer who’s known for gorgeous eveningwear embellished with elaborate touches. Most recently, Khan made news for
launching a line for HSN, where his signature sparkle tops sold out at $450. We doubt Obama’s floor-length, gold strapless sheath was purchased during a commercial break (word is the gown was custom-designed to the tune of 40 people over three weeks), but we think she looks stunning in such a dressed-up look. The armful of bangles and Bochic earrings are another nice touch—Indian-inspired, but not literal. What do you think of her threads? Are we too enthralled by FLOTUS, or is this outfit an undeniable Yea? Leave your comments below.

Photo: Nicholas Kamm, Getty Images



  1. ToucanBoutique says:

    Just saw this on the front page of the Style section from the Washington Post and I think Michelle looks amazing. Just look at that fabric against her skin, it’s perfect! It’s appropriate for the event, but she stil stood out.

  2. billszoka says:

    She looks totally amazing. Elegant, sleek and chic. Every detail perfect. A wonderfully sublime nod to the guest of honor. I wonder what perfume she wore as a final touch. She has never looked better!

  3. NotMod says:

    Closeup on the embroidery, please!

  4. msmopp says:

    She looks lovely as usual.

  5. victoriousv says:

    undeniable yeah! she looks stunning in that dress!

  6. tulsa1 says:

    except for the bracelets…

  7. idekumiko says:

    Just stunning. She looks sophisticated, classic and chic.

  8. menukjau says:

    Gorgeous. I love her because she doesn’t care about all the haters out there. By the way that is not a bracelet, those are Indian bangles. No Indian woman ever leave the house without their bangles. She’s wearing them as a mark of respect for the Indian culture.

  9. ritzyroxie says:

    While I haven’t seen a single thing i’ve liked Michelle has worn before, I think she looks pretty good here. But she really needed to put that wrap around her shoulders more. And her hair was a bit too wind-blown for my taste.

  10. Karensky says:

    Agreed, undeniable yea!!! Simple, chic, with a touch of the East…even love the shawl.

  11. novakati says:

    i just can’t wait for her to get her OWN line of clothes – just think of it – the first lady-turned designer!!!!! how fantastic. than their kids can do some kind of mary-kate ashley olson thing too!! my, oh my, i just want to know which stores will carry their designs!!!!! will it compete with victoria beckham and jessica simpson??

    do note my sarcasm.

    come on, she just has a good stylist. while she does dress very well – and it is a refreshing change from those notoriously boring republicans – i think the hoopla about her is getting really annoying.

  12. okatherine says:

    What I love most about Michelle is that she looks makes “strong” look so deliciously fashionable. I love what the stole does for her hips while also looking so goddess/understated and not at all the “trouble-shooter” that it also is. The column is for sure the look for her. And those beautiful arms; long may they reign.

  13. fashionpicks says:

    Whatever Mrs.Obama wears has to be lauded by Vogue because she is a saviour of the American fashion industry, isn’t she? So keep raining those adjectives! The dress looks tacky and cheap, with her bust spilling out! And why wouldn’t a woman who has eight stylists attending on her not turn out neat? Keeping in mind her prom photo, she has used the Presidency to give herself a good makeover!Yes I can, look better!

    P Adhikari

  14. JohnAgee says:

    Mrs. Obama hit it out of the park with this dress. Bravo! We’ve all been waiting a LONG time for a First Lady like this.

  15. JosefineO says:

    i would love to hear what you thinnk about these dresses

  16. JosefineO says:

    i like her dress a lot.
    its soon nobel prize the obamas will go to Oslo but in stockholm there is a gala with long dresses and tiaras
    what do you think about the dresses the queen of sweden has worn during the nobel festivities i would love to read your opinion

  17. futurefashionzoey says:

    I think that dress was a great choice! she shows you can be stylish and be in politics!

  18. Devyn says:

    Mrs. Obama dresses the same as she did before her husband was elected. She is criticized by the fashion elite for not having a stylist. I doubt you will see her with a fashion line. I admire her for not surrounding herself with the top designers of day ala Jackie Kennedy (Givenchy, Cassini) and Carla Bruni who steps out only in Dior.

  19. Valerio says:

    I can be short she looks as always FABULOUS, that she hasn’t an stylist is a blessing. She wores what she want and is her own stylist. Till sofar she does it better then any stylist of a celeb. BRAVO Mrs Obama.

  20. NotMod says:

    Adhikari, I think we think alike – I couldn’ ‘get’ that choice of a simple dress [trusting the description, it would seem that the interest is in details all but invisible from a polite distance] until seeing a group picture of the two presidential couples. It makes some of the considerations behind that choice of dress stand out, so to speak. The choice of a curteous host.

    Was it supposed to be a ‘fashion statement’ too?

  21. Iconale says:

    Michel Obama is charming.

    Thats right – the successful husband is a merit of the wife.
    She provides his peace and looks as icon of the style and many women to follow her.

  22. mikeijames says:

    carla, who?

  23. thebunnie says:

    Dear P Adhikari:

    No one is clamoring to see you in any kind of dress, and your troll-like comments will never make it to Mrs. Obama’s ears.

    Know why? Because you are a nobody.

  24. bostonhistory says:

    Mrs. Obama looks stunning, chic, and appropriate. Her choices are consistently event-appropriate and seem to represent her personality and zest for life. Given the seriousness of her past professional endeavors and her commitment to her current roles as first lady and a mom, I think any suggestion that her looks are her exclusive preoccupation or that the fashion industry kowtows to her is very much off the mark. Well done, Michelle!

  25. AmorLotz says:

    Michelle Obama looks wonderful. I think it’s fantastic that a women of her stature has shown that being beautiful, intelligent and classy go hand in hand, especially in the political system. Thats more power to women, now isn’t it?

  26. nhughey says:

    I love it! It’s pretty & she looks as if she plans to have a good time.

  27. jcport says:

    don’t much care for her but absolutely love the dress and thought it was a very appropriate choice. just goes to show that fashion transcends any political views. kudos to the designer. hope he got top dollar.

  28. jyo_ca says:

    Not only did she honour the PM and his wife by choosing to wear an Indian designer, she hushed any potential criticism by supporting the economy of her home country by choosing a US-based one. All of this, while continuing to support off-mainstream designers to make them household names. Brilliant.

  29. Botanical Slimming says:

    Yea, Nay, or Eh: Michelle Obama’s Fashion Diplomacy | style file | Botanical Slimming

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