Michelle Obama in Africa

Posted on June 27, 2011

Darlings, let’s give a quick shoutout to Shelley O’s African trip wardrobe, which has been suitably colorful and attention-getting, while still being classy and First Lady-like. Which isn’t to say there weren’t a couple clunkers. She wouldn’t be Shelley if she didn’t mismatch a print or misplace a belt at least once a trip, bless her.

(1) Duro Olowu jacket (2) Narciso Rodriguez jacket and skirt (3) Unidentified color block dress and jacket

Of the three, the first one is our least favorite. Not a particularly fabulous print. The second one is almost amusingly First Lady-like (considering she doesn’t dress like a typical First Lady a lot of the time), but she made it interesting with a print blouse and her nearly ever-present teal shoes, which complement the coral-colored suit nicely. As for the third look, LOVE. Truly. This looks fabulous on her.

Now let’s move on to the unfortunates.

(1) Reed Krakoff blazer w/ printed Duro Olowu top (2) J.Crew vest and trousers w/ ASOS Africa top (3) Jean Paul Gaultier pant suit paired w/ Tory Burch wrap belt

We think it’s wonderful that she’s been incorporating African style prints in her wardrobe (and let’s face it; she’s the first First Lady who can really pull them off), but she’s not incorporating them very well here. First look: Beautiful colors in the print, but the pants and the jacket really don’t go with the top at all. Second look: This might have worked if she hadn’t deployed the vest. Third look: This might have worked if she hadn’t worn matching pants and shoes, which, when combined with the sash, make her look absurdly high-waisted and disproportionate. Still, we have to give the lady her due; can you picture any other First Lady making choices as bold as these?

 

[Photo Credit: Getty]

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately Bold does not often mean Good in her case. 

      Looking at these, then contrasting them to some of the other recent posts about her.  I realize that (imo) she rarely is “in” unless it is formal wear.  She has far more misses in casual wear or business attire.  

    • Anonymous

      Must be me.  I like the unfortunates better than the first group..

      • Anonymous

        You are not alone. Fashion forward while incorporating an African-style theme? Beautiful and genius.

    • Anonymous

      The vest is tragic, but I have to say I LOVE the coral suit. I agree that she shouldn’t have matched her shoes to the suit, but I think she looks fab anyway. I never would have thought about belting it like that, and I adore it. And her!

    • Anonymous

      The vest and the sash are huge missteps….but that’s our Shelley!  ;)

    • MilaXX

      I only really dislike the first and last outfit. The 4th and 5th ones could have been passable with a bit of tweaking.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37300827 Johnny Heffernan

      I’m pretty sure Nelson Mandela has the same shirt that Shelly’s wearing in photo #1…

    • Anonymous

      And doesn’t she have the nicest smile?  I want to be her friend . . . .

    • Anonymous

      And doesn’t she have the nicest smile?  I want to be her friend . . . .

    • Anonymous

      We need a new kind of shoe — women love shoes, but sometimes need them for practical purposes. And the lack of choices in fashionable flats leaves wide open a massive market for whoever decides to tap it. I hate almost all flats (save sandals). They always look … wrong.

    • http://diaryofaconsumerpunchingbag.blogspot.com/ Laura Ann Springer

      I like the 4th outfit…question is she wearing the same shoes in like 4 of the outfits?

    • Lindsey Bogason

      She has some great flats!!

    • Anonymous

      The only one that is a total miss is that Tory Burch wrap with the suit. That look is truly hiddy. 

      But I just love how she glides between high style and everyday-woman style. Keeping it as real as a FLOTUS can. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1241487378 Lauren Lynch Fox

      I like her best in a suit. We are the same age and that is how we were taught to dress. I feel sorry for her. She is not an actress or a model.  She is a woman trying to represent her husband and Country. Putting so much thought in to everything you put on all the time must be exausting (and dare I say……silly in her position?). Don’t get me wrong…..love, love, love clothes and we could all look better, but I would give her a break.

      I

      • Anonymous

         But if this is true – ” Putting so much thought in to everything you put on all the time must
        be exausting (and dare I say……silly in her position?). Don’t get me
        wrong…..love, love, love clothes and we could all look better, but I
        would give her a break.” 

        then shouldn’t Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton be cut a break?

        • http://twitter.com/RocknLox Khadijah James

          I donno… I haven’t really seen that many commentators  talk about their clothes much. I think it’s because they’re not trying to be fashionable, just appropriate. 

      • http://twitter.com/LaurenSchneider Lauren Schneider

        i doubt michelle puts TOO much thought into her outfits–that’s what stylists are for!  

    • Anonymous

      Well you have to give her points for pants that at least fit nicely (except for the suit).

    • Anonymous

      I’m not a fan of the black and orange jacket either, but royal blue shoes?  What the heck!?

      I rather like the vest, probably because I’ve never seen her in one.  I just think she needed a shorter blouse under it.

    • Anonymous

      that green shirt with the purple pants looks stunning on her, but i wish she wore it without the jacket… i also wish she brought a different pair of shoes with her on her trip… there are only so many times you can wear a neon blue flat

      • margaret meyers

        I realy like the way they did her hair that day.  Has she ever worn that soft, parted down the middle and winged back look before? It’s boyish and casual.

    • Anonymous

      I actually like the Duro Olowu jacket…a lot. Even if she didn’t quite nail it, great choice of prints in the second row. Nos 2 and 3 are pretty colors on her, but I don’t like the dresses. Love the blue flats, I’m going to go find myself some, very summery.

    • Anonymous

      I actually like the Duro Olowu jacket…a lot. Even if she didn’t quite nail it, great choice of prints in the second row. Nos 2 and 3 are pretty colors on her, but I don’t like the dresses. Love the blue flats, I’m going to go find myself some, very summery.

    • bbartergianturco

      I love look #’s 2 & 3 and I think the coral suit is working, she just needed to pull the belt down a bit.  In any case, she’s adventurous and that gives her points in my book.

    • http://www.kittenmasks.com/ kittenmasks

      Let’s be real: no one is remembered for trying.
      The yellow Jason Wu dress was memorable. All this hot mess can be flushed with yesterday’s breakfast.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_64HSRZWCSJ5RBFGCWDLFQOICYM G

      We are so lucky to have her – because it’s not just what she wears, it’s what she DOES.  Even tho we’re not crazy about all of her looks, some of them are perfect for jumping rope, planting a seed, painting a mural or doing push-ups.  She is fascinating in her willingness to take risks – and not just in clothes. 
        

    • Anonymous

      She’s so fabulous, anything she wants to wear is fine with me. 

    • Zine London

      I love the first ‘unfortunate’ outfits leather jacket & yellow blouse together but those are some fuck ugly trousers.

    • http://twitter.com/RocknLox Khadijah James

      I love the blue shirt, blocked top and skirt. I think she is amazingly beautiful and resourceful. Look at those packing skills! She’s wearing the same pieces throughout the week. Man… she’s really a mommy.

    • Anonymous

      I really want to see the J. Crew pants & vest outfit with print blouse when she is standing upright.   Bending over is hard to judge any outfit.  I love the wrapped sash on the last but it really needs darker pants as you said.  The color block is fab and I LOVE the pink silk suit the way she styled it, print blouse and contrast shoes, just great.

    • Anonymous

      The sash is too high and the shoes are too matchy but i stil love that red suit. That sade of red comliments her so much.

    • Anonymous

      I think that the red suit belongs on the hit list, despite matching shoes.

      Overall, she did a pretty good job.

    • Anonymous

      I think the color block dress is the worst of the bunch.  It’s hideous.

    • Jill Roberts

      Of these, the only one I don’t like is the coral suit.  Too fussy.  I never care about the proportions of her clothes–she has an awesome body (is that ok to say about the First Lady?) and I kind of like it that sometimes she goes with things that aren’t perfectly balanced.  And the prints, oh how I love the prints!

      • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

        it’s okay to say that about michelle obama, i think, cos she has a very strong look. you should excuse the expression but it’s sort of an empowering figure. & i think that is good for people to see. nothing tawdry or trashy about it.

        • Anonymous

          Agreed.  She manages to look strong and smart and sexy and confident and athletic and feminine all at the same time.  Part of that is her body itself, and the larger part is her attitude and clothing choices.

          And I admit, I frequently look at pictures of her and her husband standing with some Prime Minister and his wife and think “our first lady could kick your first lady’s ass!”  She’s to classy to actually DO it, but it’s nice to know that she could.
           

      • Anonymous

        “she has an awesome body”  -  I disagree.  She has defined arms and a proportionately smaller upper abdomen.  With the right dress, it hides her lower abdomen, hips, butt and thighs (which while not horrible, are definitely not awesome).   Which is why I think she seems to do better with dresses and why she tries to belt everything so high.

    • Anonymous

      Looks like she wore at least  two of Duro Olowu’s designs on this trip. They are my favorite. She wore one of his dresses on Martha’s Vinyard last year and I liked that one too.

    • http://profiles.google.com/trashilove { edi } ilovetrash

      i would have replaced the jackie o pink look in yr first column w/ a hemmed, ironed & differently-shod version of the popsicle pantsuit, bottom right. i think this is an age thing: as a kid in the early 70s i was mesmerized by the highwaisted bellbottom business propagated by, say, ossie clark {when he did pants, which wasnt all that often} &, of course, sonia rykiel. had our first lady lawyer gotten a staffer to plug in the press & rid this whole outfit of its {literal & figurative} wrinkles, i think it certainly couldve worked. & there’s something about the hips on the pink that just sends me screaming in a rather uncomfortable way.

      edited cos i seem to always have to do that.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=167100010 Meghan Young

      Oh, I like the Reed Krakoff blazer with that top, but she desperately needed a different pair of pants; I’ll agree with you on that one. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=167100010 Meghan Young

      Oh, I like the Reed Krakoff blazer with that top, but she desperately needed a different pair of pants; I’ll agree with you on that one. 

    • Anonymous

      She’s looking more like her mother every day.

    • Anonymous

      I agree that there a  few missteps here, but I love the overall effect of all the colors and patterns. Those blue shoes make me really happy for some reason. And you are so right T Lo, I can’t picture any other First Lady making such bold choices. I love that she is bold and occasionally fails, as opposed to being consistently dull. She looks like she truly enjoys fashion.

    • http://vhanna26.typepad.com Vera

      I love the jacket in the first photo. The vest does not work at all, and I like the coral suit with the belt. Not feeling the second look in any way.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

      Not just her clothes are bold, but her personality. She gets points for smiling and showing positive emotion in every picture. Love her.

    • Anonymous

      I give her a lot of credit for not looking like Bob Forehead’s wife (Bob Forehead was an ongoing character in Mark Alan Stamaty’s classic Reagan-era political comic strip  – generic white Republican guy in his early 40s with a blue suit, red tie, a blow-dried combover and completely bland and inoffensive looks). But those high-waisted belt thingies are just AWKWARD. And she should know that jackets shouldn’t hit you between the waist and the saddlebag area unless you’re wearing jeans. Loose slacks plus that length jacket or top make for VERY wide looking upper legs and hips.

    • Anonymous

      I give her a lot of credit for not looking like Bob Forehead’s wife (Bob Forehead was an ongoing character in Mark Alan Stamaty’s classic Reagan-era political comic strip  – generic white Republican guy in his early 40s with a blue suit, red tie, a blow-dried combover and completely bland and inoffensive looks). But those high-waisted belt thingies are just AWKWARD. And she should know that jackets shouldn’t hit you between the waist and the saddlebag area unless you’re wearing jeans. Loose slacks plus that length jacket or top make for VERY wide looking upper legs and hips.

    • http://twitter.com/LaurenSchneider Lauren Schneider

      disagree about the blazer/print blouse/slacks look–i think she looks great there.  not a perfect outfit, no, but i think she’s definitely pulling it off, plus i adore her hair like that. and those pants look GREAT on her–certainly much better than the coral pencil skirt in the second picture does (it makes her look lumpy and wide).  

      only other thing i really like is the color-block dress, though i wish she had worn it without that jacket.

    • http://onebluetree.blogspot.com/ Sara L.

      I love that first jacket, thought it was the best of the bunch. She looks great in a bold print.

    • Bill Curtis

      She’s got it all over Mamie Eisenhower and Mary Todd Lincoln.  Dolly Madison is starting to get nervous.

      • Anonymous

        Now, I thought Mary Todd was kind of fashionable, for her day. Not cheerful, maybe, but fashionable.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll take bold over bland and boring any day, even the misses, and those are often worth a second look. I always get the impression that she gets a kick out of wearing her clothes and I get a kick out of checking out what she’s wearing too. 

    • http://twitter.com/jennawaterford Jenna Waterford

      I really like the first “miss” outfit. It works for me, though I think the shoes are a bridge too far.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll vote the blue color blocked dress as best and the Tory Burch belt w/ pant suit as worst. I’ll have to see the vest & slacks with her standing up before I’ll criticize, I think it’s quite cute in that picture.

    • http://profiles.google.com/thisiscelia Celia

      My general critique is that like most ladies with curvy hips and a tall stature, she could use an intermediate level class on wide-legged trousers. Her pants here (the flared pairs are the most egregious) aren’t wide enough, because you need more width in the rest of the leg to balance out the hips in order to extend that visual length. The last pic with the red suit would’ve worked if the hem wasn’t so long and the fabric so stiff, which ends up tapering the bottom half of the legs. Yikes!

      Actually, my favorite look of all of them is the middle pic, bottom row. That’s a good width in the trouser leg and she could do even an inch or two more. I think it’s brilliant to pair the vest with the sleeveless collared shirt. The matching vest pulls the look together (without it, it’d be JCrew Backyard Tiki BBQ), and gives her upper torso more structure. While she has beautiful, broad shoulders and awesomely toned arms, her shoulder lines tend to slope downwards, which is why the shape of her top half looks so good in the leather Reed Krakoff blazer (bottom row, left.) I also think that the vest also balances out the longer length of the shirt by breaking it up, and re-proportions her torso into a more symmetrical hourglass shape. I would’ve preferred a brighter red in her flats though.

    • http://twitter.com/onetimeko maybe more

      I quite like the vest look, but maybe that’s because I don’t have a shot of her standing from the front on hand. From the one here I don’t see what’s wrong with it except, perhaps, that it might be “too youthful.”

    • Anonymous

      Sure, some outfits work better than others, but I love that she seems to love trying new stuff. No more stuffy, safe, “always appropriate” clothes. 
      Go, Michele, Go!

    • Anonymous

      The vest was worn on a day when she took her whole family to play with children.  I thought it was cute but even more, I appreciated what she was doing.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3KCDEX4FOTCFHZP6WLKSOOKUVM Danielle

      I like the 4th look with the leather jacket.  If she had on jeans or black pants, she would have nailed it.  But aside from that, her hair and her smile are terrific!

    • Anonymous

      That colorblock outfit is fabulous. I really like the middle outfit in the second group except for the vest, which ruins it. I think it would have been fantastic without the vest. That Duro Olowu top is gorgeous.

    • Anonymous

      Look 6: I would have said the jacket & shirt don’t go with the pants. Regardless, those are 3 pieces of which 2 work, pick 2, any two.

      Look 7: I don’t know that I hate the vest. No pictures of her standing up straight?

    • Margot Brose

      Shelley needs to slap whoever advised her on her hair in the first one. She’s got an intense face, but it borders on the wicked witch of fuckinfantastica when she slicks it back and puts enough mousse in it to kill a moose.

      The only look that I actively hate is the fourth one. The purple slacks ruin it. She looks good in #3, though, and 6 was soooooo close to being a WERQ.

    • Anonymous

      My favorite is definitely the blue outfit and I also love the coral. She looks amazing in vibrant colors.
      I don’t mind the print in the first outfit. I’m worried that those pants are making her look a little stumpy, though. She’s tall and long-legged, so there’s no excuse for stumpiness.
      Of the three unfortunates, I really like the first one; I just don’t think the pants go. They seem to fit her well, though. This would have looked great with jeans, although I don’t know if jeans would have been appropriate. Still, the jacket with the top make her look cute and hip.
      Totally agree with what you said about the last two.

      I think it’s awesome that she embraces color. She’s lucky that so many of them look so great on her.  

    • http://profiles.google.com/scaponigro Sarah Caponigro

      I actually LOVE the vest.The only looks here I don’t like are the monochrome pantsuit (last one) and the first one with the weird print and color.

    • Ella B. Mudge

      I am insanely amused by the photo of her in the red Gaultier pants suit; the man in the photo seems to be giving her attire the stink-eye.

    • http://twitter.com/merrigator merrigator

      She is so inspiring.  Love her!