On November 1, Michelle Obama wore this familiar Moschino wrap dress, which made an appearance during President Obama’s first campaign, when speaking at a campaign rally in Florida. Ann Romney wore an eye-popping pink jacket with a polka dot shirt and pants, accenting the look with a small brooch while at a campaign rally in Colorado on November 3. (Photos: Getty Images)
First lady Michelle Obama re-wore a Thom Browne frock that we first saw during the Democratic National Convention to the last presidential debate on October 22. Ann Romney wore an ombre skirt and matching top by Oscar de la Renta. (Photos: Getty Images)
First lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both wore bright pink, many believe in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to the second presidential debate held on October 16 in New York. (Photos: Getty Images)
The first lady wore a BCBGMAXAZRIA Breona Geometric Jacquard Dress to a rally on October 19 in Wisconsin. Mrs. Romney wore a similar feminine, patterned style to an October 7 Florida “victory rally” for her husband’s campaign. (Photos: Getty Images)
Both women wore suit-like ensembles to the first presidential debate, Ann opting for all white with a jacket that was more of a top. Michelle wore a Preen dress with a matching jacket in a bright jewel tone that gives the illusion of a more formal suit. (Photos: Getty Images)
But it’s not all dress and designer threads for these two wives of powerful husbands. Here the pair wear casual outfits, Michelle Obama choosing wide-legged pants for a September 28 rally. Ann Romney wore jeans for a September 7 event. (Photos: Getty Images)
First lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both wore turquoise in recent days, Michelle selecting a more fitted shift. (Photos: Getty Images)
Ann Romney also chose turquoise for her sparkling look as her husband Mitt accepted the GOP presidential nomination. Michelle Obama wore a vibrant brocade patterned dress by African-American designer Laura Smalls when President Obama accepted the Democratic nomination. (Photos: Getty Images)
Ann Romney and first lady Michelle Obama wore very different styles for their respective convention speeches. Ann wore a very traditional Oscar de la Renta shirt dress in a striking red that was certainly more conservative than Michelle Obama’s shocking pink look by Tracy Reese. (Photos: Getty Images)
Michelle Obama and Ann Romney dressed down a tad for their convention speech run-throughs. Michelle checked out the stage in a Diane Von Furstenberg dress, while Ann wore a long, flowing shirt and comfortable pants. (Photos: Getty Images)
Both women have worn bold patterns on the campaign trail, as well. Here, Michelle Obama wears a red checked dress in August, while Ann wore a splashy, multi-colored top back in May. (Photos: Getty Images)
Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have also used belts to accessorize, although with very different effects. (Photos: Getty Images)
Both ladies dressed to impress on trips abroad over the summer. The first lady wore this stunning gown by J. Mendel during the London Olympics, while Ann wore a similar look on her travels through the Israel. Judging by these photos, which woman do you think has more impeccable taste?
First lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney are being compared and contrasted in terms of style by the public and the press. (Photos: Getty Images)
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Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have had their style compared by nearly every major news outlet since their husband’s election campaigns began to heat up. Although far less important than the economy or improving America’s foreign relations, the cut of the first lady’s frocks versus the accessory selections of Mrs. Romney have still made headlines — and generated a mountain of intense scrutiny.
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“Their interesting and chic outfits, created by variety of American and international designers, have impacted perceptions across the nation,” reports Today.com about the phenomenal level of attention garnered by these potential first ladies.
While Michelle of course already holds that title, after tonight when a president will be selected by the American public anew, she will either retain her post — or pass the mantle to Ann. As we know from Mrs. Obama’s track record wowing audiences with her sartorial choices — or angering many through her finery’s expense — the style and aplomb of America’s first lady is a critical aspect of this role.
“Both women and their respective camps know the importance of public image, and how they choose to dress is in clear alignment with what they seek to project,” asserts New York magazine about the impact of their self-presentation.
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The message in their fashions will resonate with voters on a more subtle level than the idealistic speeches and direct jabs made by President Obama and Mitt Romney. Through their underlying meaning, these ladies’ clothing can directly influence final election decisions.
Will people be drawn to what the Los Angeles Times describes as Michelles “unapologetically feminine dresses in interesting prints and edgy cuts,” which exemplify the promise of evolution embodied by the Obama campaign slogan, “Forward”?
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Or will Ann Romney’s “classic with a touch of glamour,” as The Huffington Post puts it, win out as an accurate reflection of a populace hungry more for conservative stability than change?
Click through the side-by-side comparisons of Ann Romney’s and Michelle Obama’s looks from the campaign season above, and note which woman’s choices appeal to you. Who do you think will make the most fashionable first lady?
Based on the proven correlation between taste and values, this might be an indication of who you would prefer as president.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.