First lady Michelle Obama thrilled her fashion fans during the second inauguration of Presidet Barack Obama today in a Thom Browne coat and dress, a designer she debuted during the Democratic National Convention in September. In her usual style, Mrs. Obama mixed high and low, pairing her luxurious frock and outwear with J. Crew accessories. After also wowing style watchers yet again with her perpetually newsworthy bangs, the inevitable question arises: What should Michelle Obama wear to the inaugural balls tonight?
“I think this time she is going to be very stately, a little sexy perhaps,” Constance C.R. White, editor-in-cheif of Essence magazine, told theGrio. “I definitely expect her to be quite fashionable and elegant — those are two things she always maintains. And, rather than be the ‘fairy princess’ that she was four years ago, I think she’s going to opt to be more womanly this time.”
First lady Michelle Obama waited until the last minute during the inauguration in 2009 to decide what to don for the balls. During the National Day of Service held that weekend four years ago, she was repeatedly asked who would be the lucky designer chosen. Mrs. Obama famously replied at the time that she had not even thought about it. This year, her office has been similarly silent.
Her 2009 choice of Taiwanese-American designer Jason Wu made the young man — only thirty — an overnight success. Regardless of who the first lady grants similar star-making grace, White believes she will opt for a couturier specializing in enhancing the female silhouette.
“I think designers who really do wonderful clothes for real women, and who enhance their feminine qualities might include Narciso Rodriguez,” White said. “I’d love to see her in something by Tracy Reese [or] Ralph Rucci. Or she might surprise us all and wear Oscar De La Renta,” White said laughing, naming a favorite label of her former rival, Ann Romney. “But, she has certainly shown a preference for younger, less well-known designers for these really big occasions. I think we are going to see her continue that.”
Laura Smalls is one such fashion figure. The African-American designer made her mark recently when first lady Michelle Obama chose her dress for the moment President Obama accepted the 2012 nomination.
“I’d be surprised if she wore Laura,” White countered. “I think it’s be fantastic if she did. But, while the first lady tends to favor newer and less well-known designers, she also has this great eye for designers who are considerably evolved in their businesses. I would be surprised if she wore Laura, but it certainly would be a pleasant surprise.”