Michelle Obama in Ports 1961

Posted on May 07, 2011

Shelley O wore a smart little Ports 1961 dress at a Mother’s Day event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC and it’s setting off our Fashion OCD.

She looks really great. Love the dress. But all we want to do is reach out and adjust it for her because it looks askew in almost every shot. Her right shoulder isn’t actually in the shoulder of the dress, which throws off the neckline and causes T Lo to blink rapidly and look away, biting their lips.

Love the brooch and shoes, even though they match. We’ve resigned ourselves to the idea that over-matched accessories are back. Personally, we can take a brooch that matches the shoes over shoes, belt, and purse all being in the same color. And speaking of which, that’s quite the championship belt she’s sporting. We’ve also resigned ourselves to the idea that Mrs. O and T Lo are never going to see eye to eye on the belt issue. She favors big, bold ones and we will always opine that she should stick to smaller, less obtrusive ones.

God, we’re cranky this morning. You’d think we hate the outfit, but we actually love it. It’s smart and crisp; we love the white trim and the pleats in the skirt. A perfect day look.

But man, that right shoulder is making us twitchy.


[Photo Credit: getty]

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  • Anonymous

    I want a great big flower brooch for Mother’s Day.

    And matching shoes too!

    • Anonymous

      THe company has ‘1961’ in its’ name? That’s why the brooch & shoes match: She’s June Cleaver.

    • Anonymous

      My mom was well-supplied with large flower brooches when we were kids. Also brooches shaped like various animals (usually dogs) with colorful glass eyes. I think there was also an umbrella with raindrops of colored glass. (My mom had trained my dad that she did not want us to give her drug store perfume, so he moved us over to costume jewelry.)

      You may be on your own for the shoes!

  • Anonymous

    I want a great big flower brooch for Mother’s Day.

    And matching shoes too!

  • I have a feeling what’s making the dress look askew *is* the brooch. It’s really cute (imo), but my experience with brooches like that is that the weight of them pulls on the neckline. For some reason, though, I find this super endearing and reassuring — if it happens to the First Lady, it might be ok if it happens to me, too.

  • scottyf

    I wonder if you’d get tackled by the Secret Service if you tried to go up to Mrs. Obama and straighten out that shoulder? Probably.

    …unless the Secret Service member was gay.

    She looks as lovely as ever. What a mom!

    • Lisa

      Yeah, but if they had gay secret service agents, then the agents could just straighten out her shoulder seam themselves without anyone having to tackle anyone.

      • scottyf

        Trust me, there ARE gay Secret Service members. I’ve been wrestled to the ground by a couple of them in my lifetime. πŸ˜‰

        • Lisa

          You lucky guy, you! πŸ˜‰

        • Anonymous

          @scottyf: Now you’re just showing off.

          • scottyf


          • Anonymous

            I just wanted to say that I like your ‘Hollywood Shuffle’ reference.

        • Aly

          I think they’re technically members of the military, which means they’re still under DADT.

          • scottyf

            EXACTLY! Which is why they can’t act on their fashion sense. It’s a part of their training–like the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace. If they can walk past a fashion disaster without flinching (unlike T&Lo), then, and only then do they pass muster. πŸ™‚

          • celandine

            no they are part of the treasurey department, no military affiliation, even technically. and tlo i am not a fan of the comments section. shift on my smartphone keyboard and my virtual do not work.

          • scottyf

            Actually, aren’t they now under Homeland Security?

          • ask

            Yes (and no) they are technically in DHS – but don’t think of themselves that way. I don’t know about the number of gay USSS officers, but from what I have seen at their offices the do have a good representation of black/African American men who dress impressiveluy. Next to gay men , they do tend tohave teer fashiopn sense. No?

          • Lisa

            It doesn’t matter – they’d still tackle you if you tried to fix her shoulder seam!

          • ASK

            I cannot believe no one else is having problems with the comment window? It jumps around, slowing going back over wtha I type, and sometimess puts a bar – that will not move telling me I can like msgs with an @…. and the text showone character at a time – ike a teletype like 20 seconds after I type it.. especially if I ttry to put a lione break in….OYE!!!

  • Fabricwench

    I immediately placed blame on the brooch too, it’s big and the weight might be too much for the dress without any help. Pinning through the dress to a cami or a bra strap can be helpful. Love the dress!

  • Pdarling1982

    Nope, the dress is too small….See the way it pulls across her upper arms? She’s too broad shouldered – it needs to be altered.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed: the fit is all wrong through the arms and shoulders — too small in the arms, and too big in the shoulders.

  • Anonymous

    I really like the brooch and shoes along with the dress. It looks off because it’s a bit tight through the upper arms (probably the back too).

  • Merrigator

    Agree about the belt and the fit issues but, really, I love it, too! πŸ™‚

  • MilaXX

    Crooked should aside i like this outfit and I think the wide belt actually works with this outfit.

  • Mac

    Great dress, too much belt! I wonder if refrigerator magnets stick to that thing if she gets too close… though something tells me she doesn’t lounge in the kitchen area too much being first lady.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, dear. I can’t find one thing about this outfit that I like. Not only is the dress dull as dishwater, but just because it’s soft and a non-color, it doesn’t mean it works to throw a big old oversized any-bold-color hard-as-nails brooch on it. Or a crazy industrial parts belt, for that matter. Ix-nay.

  • The silhouette is quite flattering.

    During the royal wedding buildup, I saw an interview with a designer for the queen. He said that every garment has to fall correctly without adjustment, ie, no tweaking when getting out of a car. I thought that was amazing.

  • I like this belt better than most because it sits lower on her torso than she normally wears them. She has a relatively narrow waist and is so damn tall that just dropping it by an inch or two makes her look “willowy.” When she wears them right under her chest it makes her look dumpy, and that really should be impossible on someone as tall and athletic as the First Lady.

  • Anonymous

    Love the dress. It’s simple, clean, modern and a nice choice for a cool spring day look. However, the brooch and belt definitely have to go. The size and mass of the brooch are weighing her down. And I swear that belt is an exact replica worn by one of the ladies in ABBA on the cover of an ’80’s album I have in the archives.

  • Lisa

    LOVE the matching brooch and shoes, because it’s not too much – it’s just the two things. And the belt works, because it’s not perfect matchy-match with the other accessories – it’s different, it’s funky, and yet it still works.

    The dress is okay – I’m not nuts about it, but it’s perfect for her. It’s not a slam-dunk, but nor is it a mis-step. She really does need to fix that shoulder, though!

  • jzzy55

    Agree, brooch is too heavy and pulling the knit dress askew up top. I have some wonderful vintage brooches that I only wear on coats because heavy wool anchors them more firmly. Surely there must be some costuming trick for anchoring heavy brooches on knit fabric?

    She never wears anything I can wear (except jeans and casual stuff we all wear) and yet I love her look. She has really figured out what’s working for her and is, well, working it!

  • Anonymous

    This is what I think is the problem… because the brooch is so heavy, Shelly O has it pinned around her bra strap, thus creating the twisty shoulder seam. It keeps the brooch from tearing the fabric or falling off, but it messes with the total look.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with yo T Lo. I’ve never been one of those who complain about her posture, but I think improving that would improve the way the dress fits in the shoulders. Plus, the brooch is probably pulling on the dress. If she had gone for a funky necklace in a similar color, it would have looked better. Overall, though, I do like the look, too.

  • orangeagogo

    And maybe a little less slouching?

    • Rebecca

      Yes! The slouching! I was looking for someone to mention that. I don’t have great posture myself but she needs to straighten up and put her shoulders back to make this look right.

      BTW I have to throw in a little love here for the new comments. 1) Not having to go to a separate page to see them 2) THREADING my good lord this is amazing. It’s making me think it would be worth going to the trouble of installing Disqus on my blog despite the piddling # of comments I get.

  • She looks pretty and modern. I think the fit of the shoulders isn’t great to begin with, because of the raglan sleeves. She has broader shoulders and the material doesn’t have enough give to adjust for the way the sleeves are cut with the neckline. The brooch makes it look even more askew. But it’s a small quibble, I like the dress and the monster belt a lot, love the shoes.

  • Celticlass

    It looks like the dress has some light shoulder pads and the right one has doubled back on itself making the shoulder seam/line all “cattywampus” as my grandmother would say. The pin on the left side is not helping things.

    • Remnant

      I think you are correct. The right shoulder pad has folded back and is not hugging the shoulder. There should be thread chains anchoring the shoulder pads to a seam which would keep the pad in the proper position. Add to the fact that the dress is too small across the shoulders/arms and the brooch is either pinned to a bra strap or too heavy for the garment, and you’ve got a dress that is not set off quite right. I don’t love the dress, but it looks like it’d be comfy to wear.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, I was about to say that it looks like there’s something wrong with her shoulder pads!

  • Shgerhard

    Shelley, I implore you! Head up, shoulders back! You’re the First Lady, for god’s sake!

  • tom

    Fabulous dress, great color and cut. I think perhaps the weightof the brooch is pulling the fabric off the shoulder. I have a dear friend who favors this sort of large pin and her trick is to get the pin through the brastrap or whatever is underneath with more support. keeps the wieght off the dress. Other than the small jewelry slip I love this outfit for her.

  • Kelsey&Maggi

    The dress is far too dull for such a vibrant woman. Not a fan of the piping, it reminds us of a mannequin waiting to be tailored. The whole dress looks slightly cheap, much like a sale item at T.J. Maxx. The belt, broach, and shoes are stunning however, we love the color.

  • It almost looks like it wasn’t ironed correctly – like there are still bumps in the shoulders from the hanger.

  • Kcjamison

    Guys the brooch is pinned through the dress to bra strap. The brooch is to heavy for the dress fabric so the solution was to anchor through bra. These tricks rarely work… especially if done quickly….

  • Sara__B

    The piping is stiff, the bodice is a little too long for her torso, and the brooch is pinned to her undergarment. So the dress is standing up straight but Mrs. O is not. TLo, you could adjust the shoulder every three minutes and she’d just slouch right out of it again.

    Her posture makes me crazy. Such a fit and strong and gloriously tall woman. Stop slouching! (I’m so grateful my mother nagged me about my posture. Thanks, Mom!)

    • I’ve been told by other tall women that this is an “occupational hazard” during the teen years…trying not to be taller than everyone else. It’s probably not something she can just “fix” now.

      • zuzu

        Yes. And it probably also explains her penchant for sleevelessness. You never have to worry about your sleeves being too short if you don’t wear any at all.

  • PeaceBang

    I love that dress except for the askewness of it and the drab cullah. LOVE the brooch, the shoes are cute, and that belt is…. I dunno, a bit too Wonder Woman.

  • PeaceBang

    I love that dress except for the askewness of it and the drab cullah. LOVE the brooch, the shoes are cute, and that belt is…. I dunno, a bit too Wonder Woman.

  • Anonymous

    Could be the brooch….could be the pad (or lack thereof) in shoulder, could just be that the bra doesn’t move her girls into the best position. Still pretty dress and, at least, its not that black studded Alaia belt she loves.

  • Anonymous

    Could be the brooch….could be the pad (or lack thereof) in shoulder, could just be that the bra doesn’t move her girls into the best position. Still pretty dress and, at least, its not that black studded Alaia belt she loves.

  • ELH

    She looks pretty here. I also loved the green dress she wore for Cinco de Mayo.

  • Womyn2me

    the brooch is so big, its pulling the dress left, making the right shoulder look screwy

  • Dorothy

    I like the belt – I usually don’t like the wide belts she wears but the one works. Love the brooch (think it’s the one she wore for her convention speech) – it might have looked better pinned to the belt or the center of the dress. But then again I’m not one for the shoulder brooch.

  • Lena

    I think those are the inauguration pumps! She looks lovely, I like everything about this look. I think the dress has a nice, modern vibe.

  • Megan

    The belt matches the silver in the brooch too, which takes the matchy-matchy a little overboard for me. Still, she looks great.

  • Judy_J

    Love the flower pin and the shoes. I don’t mind a little matchy-matchy now and then. The dress is cute, too.

  • Anonymous

    I totally agree with TLo on the belt. The over sized ones just accentuate how high waist-ed and short torso-ed she is…makes her even more disproportionate. A thin silver belt and her shoulder pad in place, and she’d have been pretty close to perfect.

    I like the overall look and dress, even the matchy brooch and shoes too…good color combingations. The white seaming on the dress seems like it’d be very figure flattering…if that darn belt weren’t so big and in the way.

  • KuriousKats

    She looks great, but yes adjusting the shoulder would be a huge improvement. Mrs. O and belts: I disagree with you guys – I think the big, bold belts work on her. It’s the placement that is essential. The placement of this one is perfect, but she often weirdly chooses to place the belts right under her boobs. Placing the bigger belt in the proper place makes a big difference.

  • I agree with other posters, its too small int eh shoulders, which is why it looks like it’s pulling and riding up around her shoulders. Plus, it looks like there are clothes hanger indentions in one of the shoulders. Shelly O is too buff for this dress!

  • She is suffering from “broad shoulder syndrome”. I have it myself (without all the “plusses” that she has to go along with it). This is why I sew my own clothes, and even then have poor luck with raglan or shaped shoulders like this.

  • Lauren

    Well played, Michelle. You look FANTASTIC!

  • Nancy Lee

    I just adore her brooch!!! Looks so kitschy!!! I have a lot of vintage brooches, I sell vintage jewelry, and I always get brooches in box lots or jewelry boxes and no one ever buys them. Hope this starts a trend. She is creative, isn’t she??

  • girliecue

    Great dress! You two brought tears of pride to my eyes, showing compromise or possibly great personal growth in not immediately hating things that match. 2 items in an outfit do not matchy match make, so brava for stating that. You also admitted in a couple of recent posts that a nude shoe was really the only shoe that would go with that particular dress – something I’ve been arguing for years. Now if only you’d get over your irrational dislike of t-straps that have generalized into hatred of ankle straps…

  • QitKat

    I really thought that the last picture showing the belt with “stripes” was a very nice touch to a rather bland outfit. Until I realized it is a reflective belt and looks different in every picture [hits self upside the head]. And I never even noticed the wonky shoulder pad til I read the comments. Overall she looks pretty adorable to me.

  • Sister Mary Martha

    See that sassy lady standing there in her black and white dress in that last photo? That’s a lovely woman I know named Lenore Doyle whose son just returned from Afghanistan. Doesn’t see look lovely?

  • Nancy

    Fabulous as always. Somehow this belt seems to hit her in a better place than usual and looks great on her. I like the funky brooch and beautiful matching shoes. She hardly ever messes up IMHO.

  • sunnygirl

    I like the dress but as you mentioned the fit is wonky. The dress might be too small thru the shoulders and that is why it is riding up on her the way it is.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, it has nothing to do with the brooch. It’s a matter of her shoulders not being symmetrical. The brooch pulls the neckline to her left, but she needs a tailor to adjust the shoulder on the other side.

  • Anonymous

    I like the dress a lot. I wish it were not askew. I do think that it might fall into place better if it weren’t (as has been mentioned) a tad too snug in the arms and possibly across the back.

    The secret service is supposed to scanning the room, not scanning the First Lady for fashion flaws! She does need a very bossy stylist/assistant with some fashion OCD because the fit of her clothing is often just a tad off here or there – as constantly filmed & photographed as she is, having things altered to perfection would be worth the extra fittings. But her career has not been based primarily on ‘looking right’ so I imagine she is impatient of the time that would take. Hence, the bossy assistant.

  • Anonymous

    I love it all except the belt. I hate it. But everything else is nice – just like Mrs. O.

  • Karen Talluto

    Love todays changes! Much better to have both your names in red and I love the larger square for the newest post! You and your web design team are doing a fabulous job with the new site!

  • Karen Talluto

    Love that both your names are in red now! You and your web designers are doing a fabulous job shaping up the new site.

  • Anonymous

    The dress is dull, drab and ill-fitting and on which the brooch looks just silly.

  • Sunnie_daze

    Her posture is awful. That picture with her walking down the hall really makes it stand out. I think she’s a talented woman, and she has a good heart, but just like the right shoulder makes you twitch, her posture makes me cringe.

  • Dress is too busy for a brooch anyway. And Oh. My. God. The BELT.

  • I love this look on her. A perfect Mother’s Day outfit without being frilly. I’d be so thrilled to see colorful brooches come back–I have quite a collection from both my mum and MIL.

  • Anonymous

    I’m trying to think of something to say about this dress, but it pretty much inspires no reaction at all. It’s kind of like the beige carpets they put in apartments so that no one’s furniture will clash. Nothing offensive (except the ill-fit shoulder), but nothing attractive, either. It’s just a dress that covers what needs to be covered.

  • Love the dress! But agree about the shoulder.

  • PatBiswanger

    Still hate the painted-on eyebrows.

  • annrr

    The brooch needed to be attached to her bra strap to anchor it. Been there. Otherwise cute.

  • RyzandShyn

    I bet that brooch left holes in that dress. I remember buying ones just like that with my babysitting money (50 cents an hour and $1.00 after midnight) at Woolworth’s or Newberry’s.

  • Anonymous

    She needs a tailor who will alter her lovely choices to fit impeccably, no matter what her body or posture issues are. It can be done. Even may of her designer looks have a tendency to look a little off-the-rack.

  • RyzandShyn

    Here’s a funny thing that is happening on this new site. After reading the first page of comments, I click on the prompt at the bottom for 2 or Next to go to the second page. On the second page the copyright statement from the bottom as well as the follow us and archives spot jumps up to the space at approx. the second comment. The darker gray area at the bottom where it all should be is still there, but is empty except for the designed/powered statement.
    Not complaining, just thought you probably need glitches reported.

  • Aajay

    She has the same probems all of us with broad shoulders and muscuar arms have. I ended up making my own clothes. But with the clothes budget she seems to have can’t she find a dressmaker to fit them to her? They always seem so uncomfortabe and that’s probably why she resorts to sleevless dresses and stretchy sweaters.

  • MC

    You guys might be getting a little picky. I didn’t notice the shoulder until you pointed it out. And shoes and brooch isn’t too matchy matchy to me. It’s ok for there to be a little matching! cbe

  • Anon

    She’s not a model or an actress. She looks great.

    Still some glitches with your new format- I hope you can fix them.

  • anon

    I love her. I really do. But I really really want her to stand up straight.

  • Anonymous

    Great look!
    I gave my mom many flower brooches for Mother’s Day and also lot’s of things with designs by Vera on them!

  • I actually just don’t really like the outfit.

  • Saanriotwisted

    Someone else mentioned the brooch possible being what is skewing the neckline of this dress. However, looking at the pictures a little closer, it looks more like she is simply trying to wear a dress that was made for a woman with a smaller shoulder width. It looks more like she can’t get her shoulder in the dress because her frame is just a little too big. While I love the idea of this dress for her, and properly tailored or fit to her frame, it would have been lovely, I have to say she should have gone with something else.

  • nadafash4wrd

    I think the shoulder problem is caused by the arms of the dress being too tight. They are pulled up into the armpit and there is then loose fabric in the shoulder. I like the flower pin.

  • Parislove81

    TLo have not uploaded any post since yesterday. anyone know what happens? Here is Japan.
    am i only one cannot see posting updated? beacse i’m in not USA?

    • Anonymous

      Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the US. Hopefully Tom and Lorenzo were getting to spend a little down time with their mothers.

  • fafafab

    I love the belt

  • C.Jean

    It’s just a basic fit issue in the shoulders: the curve of the overarm seam on the dress doesn’t exactly match hers–which happens to almost everyone! I wonder if she actually removed a shoulder pad, because she does have a slightly broader shoulder than the dress can accommodate. That would give her space in the sleeve and outer shoulder, but leave that little extra on top of the shoulder. And if her shoulders are a tiny bit asymmetrical, like most of us, you’ll see it in a style like this. I still like the outfit overall, especially the shoes!

  • Lulu

    Sorry to say that I REALLY disagree. I think the dress does nothing for her. The color is blah, the length is matronly and I can’t get on board with a bottom-heavy woman in a pleated skirt. The belt is insane and that ugly brooch is probably what’s causing the shoulder issues that are making you boys twitch.

    makeup looks good, though.

  • Nene

    the only thing i like about her outfit is the belt and brooch

  • Nene

    the only thing i like about her outfit is the belt and brooch

  • Colombo in Pajamas

    Love the length–it’s like FINALLY she got it right.

  • Colombo in Pajamas

    Love the length–it’s like FINALLY she got it right.