First, let's be clear about what matters: We've just elected Barack Obama the next president of the US. Yay! It's a day for jubilation — and I imagine we may feel that way for days to come at the least.
In their big moment, the Obamas had the right approach, coordinating their outfits but not too slavishly. And can we just agree that those two girls are completely, completely adorable? The solid dresses (especially Malia's) with the black tights — girlish but elegant. Loved them.
But Michelle's dress? I don't think so. When you see the original, from Narciso Rodriguez' Spring 2009 line, it is lovely. Maybe because of her body type (not a size 0, like the model below) or, more likely, because she decided for some reason to don what's apparently her go-to black cardigan, it just didn't work. The complexity and detail of the dress were lost on the big stage; instead, the effect was too confusing and busy, when what she needed was something sleek and simple the way her girls' dresses were. (I would have suggested a long-sleeve red sheath.) The silver accessories were great (but again, maybe just a little distracting, with the bangles and the big dangly earrings). I think Mrs. O does a great job with her casual outfits and lower-stakes skirt outfits and the big-ticket outfits still need a little work.
Michelle, I'm here to help if you need me!
One reader just asked if the red was intended to show unity. It's a nice idea, but I'd say that it simply showed up better at night and looked so beautiful with the red in the flags and the blue of the stage. Much better than blue would have.
A friend just emailed to say this criticism seems churlish. So let me wind up here by saying how wonderful last night was and how much I'm looking forward to the next four years. And let it be a lesson to us lesser mortals staring into our closets every morning wondering what to wear: Hey, sometimes you just look better than others! That doesn't detract from your overall stylishness, just as this misstep doesn't diminish the way she'll step into her new role as First Lady and quickly establish herself with incredible grace and style. (Rodriguez from Marcio Madeira/Style.com via Mrs. O)