“Behind every strong man stands an even stronger woman...“
This Old Testament holds true when you think about Barack Obama – the new “leader of the free world” – the President-Elect of the United States of America. He stands before us on the shoulders of the strong women in his life that he honors with even stronger praise. Even his maternal grandmother, who was blessed to reach the age of 86, was watching down from heaven as he claimed his victory. His mother, who passed away many years ago instilled amazing family and humanistic values in him that were not diminished in the race to the White House. And finally, the woman of the next 4 to (I am hoping) 8 years in the White House and his wife of 16 years, the rock of Barack, Mrs. Michele Obama. Our new First Lady has shown great strength and compassion throughout the political campaign of her loving husband. She has been interviewed dozens of times, always well versed in the language of politicians and stunningly poised. Michele has been praised and criticized by many for looking the part of the average American woman. In fact, she is just that – an average African-American woman who will reside and raise a family at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
Michelle Obama has obviously been a woman of virtue and class for many years. Her ideals of minimalism have transcended into her fashion and consequently onto the pages of many magazines and websites alike. Her style is what I would call Effo-Chic (ef-fo-chic). Mrs. Obama is known for her fun-loving colors and silhouettes – very much like that of Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis, considered by far the most fashionable first lady. Mrs. Obama was seen wearing a purple sleeveless crepe sheath dress by Maria Pinto, a Chicago native and former Geoffrey Beene assistant. The First Lady and Ms. Pinto also caught the eyes of millions when President-Elect Barak Obama announced he candidacy for the most prestigious office in the country. The dress was very simple and she accessorized with what is now known as her signature oversized pearls. This moment introduced Ms. Pinto to world in full force.
Mrs. Obama and Ms. Pinto have been friends for many years. The friendship began after Michele approached Maria about designing a few dresses and suits for her. It seemed to me like a match made in Heaven. Mrs. Obama had a need to be well dressed, polished, and immaculately tailored and Maria Pinto had the know-how and skill to do it. There was no master plot to be noticed by everyone for her fashion sense.
“Everyone knows that people respond to the way you look when you run for office,” André Leon Talley, an editor-at-large for Vogue, which featured Mrs. Obama as an “It” girl in its April issue, said last week in an interview. “A black Camelot moment is the right moment for the Obamas,” he added. “And so the faux pearls, the A-line dresses, the Jackie flip are obviously all part of how her image strategy has evolved.” You can tell that she loves being a woman and embraces her curves. She has definitely stepped the game up for powerful women to not only act the part but to dress the part as well. Women should not feel like they have to dress overtly-sexy in the office to keep their jobs. To wear low cut blouses to get noticed but the boss or a form fitting A-line skirt to make other unshapely girls feel threatened by your mere presence. You should be able to stand on your own merits.
At the acceptance speech of the president-Elect, Mrs. Obama looks great in a dress from the 2009 Spring Show of Narcisco Rodriquez. I wonder whose idea it was for the family to compliment each other by wearing different hues of red and black. Some bloggers are not in favor of the fashion forward moves made by Michele Obama. I suggest they let go of the last eight years and get with modern times. “Michele Obama made fashion history [election] night,” writes InStyle’s Katrina Szish. “America, get ready to see what a true modern style icon is all about.” It is clear that Mrs. Obama not only welcomes but also embraces fashion. Again, it looks Effortless for Mrs. Obama to be Chic. “I loved the powerful color combination and coordination,” said New York designer Tracy Reese. “Modern and chic for the new First Lady.”
In the years past, we reveled in the beauty and elegance of previous First Ladies. They were adorned in the designs of Ralph Lauren, Isaac Mizrahi, Carolina Herrera, and Oscar De La Renta, and the list goes on. I have loved and will forever respect these designers and how they have individually influenced life fashion. Michele Obama just has a different approach to her style, a fresh departure. It ok no to go with the conventional norm and be a bit daring. Nothing really happens in life you when you want it to; it has happen when it’s supposed to. So step out, be true to yourself and who you are destined to be, you never know what God has in store. It is believed by many faithful followers that God may not come when you want him but he will be there, right on time. I thank God for showing up in the hearts of the Obama family and even more for showing out, like only He can.
Photography Credits: 1,2 – Joe Raedle/Getty Images; 3 – Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images