Sorry, folks, I just didn't love Mrs. Obama's dress last night.
What did that dress need to do? It needed to give a visual punch to President Obama's narrative of economic difficulty and recovery. Inauguration Day was a great time and occasion to underscore the hope and recovery part of that narrative, but last night we were still mired in the tough challenges of this moment, and her dress needed to reflect that.
However, she chose a Narciso Rodriguez dress, and that equals expensive. (Read more about the dress here.) To me, by wearing such a pricy dress, she detracted from Obama's call for restraint and responsibility. This would have been a great moment to bring out a dress from J. Crew or H&M. (And please tell me she didn't coordinate her clothes with the cute and heroic teenage girl who stood next to her — that would be taking things just a little too far.)
The woman has gorgeous, gorgeous arms, but I thought they were a distraction. She needed to be covered up.
The dress was a little shiny, and that level of dressiness — of any glitz, really — was inappropriate to a serious occasion.
Worst of all, perhaps, it kind of flapped and bunched unattractively when she waved and clapped. If the neckline was draped, that subtlety didn't work well on TV.
Of course, she may have really wanted to wear a purple dress and this is all she had on hand. I love the idea of her in purple (it's the mix of red and blue, after all), I just wish she'd chosen a different purple dress, and I'm sure there were better options out there.
In fact, a quick search turned up a lovely Suzi Chin V-neck jersey dress at Nordstrom (can't get the picture for some reason). And this, from Anthropologie. Perhaps best of all, how about the lovely Center of Attention dress, also from Anthropologie? It comes in purple, too.