You’ve got to feel sorry for the First Ladies. Because putting on a cardigan because you’re a bit cold isn’t just a practical decision these days – it’s a political statement too. The latest victim of the damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don’t argument is Michelle Obama, who’s been called ‘ridiculous’ for wearing ‘cheap, imported clothes’ rather than flying the flag for her country in US designer brands.
Now, in a way we get where the detractor Elizabeth Cline writing on the Huffington Post is coming from: surely it should be part of MObama and co.’s job to bring their nation’s new brands to a global stage. It’s great that when the First Lady wore a white gown for the Inauguration Ball by Jason Wu the hitherto-unknown designer’s website crashed in minutes. But if she wore home-made, high-end designers at all times, she’d get flak for spending too much on her wardrobe wouldn’t she?
Remember that furore over her choosing a dress by Barbara Tfank, another niche American designer, which cost over a thousand pounds to meet the Duchess of Cambridge in her £175 Reiss number. And after all, a modern woman doesn’t wear solely one brand alone or all-couture – and isn’t it as important for Michelle Obama to represent that modern wardrobe mix as the entire US fashion industry.
The First Lady is said to be annoyed about the fact that there’s so much attention around her outfits. When she was criticized for wearing British designer Alexander McQueen for a Chinese state dinner, she hit out: ‘Clothes are just the thing that you wear to do stuff you need to do. Women wear what you love. That’s all you can say. That’s my motto.’ Well said…