Michele Obama in Boy. by Band of Outsiders.

Posted on June 07, 2012

Oh, Shelley. We do so love you for being the kind of edgy FLOTUS who wears a Band of Outsiders dress, but if you’d asked us ahead of time, we would have steered you away from this one.


The Associated Press interviews Michelle Obama to promote her new book, “American Grown.” Michelle Obama is wearing a dress by Boy. By Band of Outsiders.

Boy. by Band of Outsiders Toile Print Dress

Maybe some cute little city chick with an edge could get away with wearing a dress designed to look like it’s filthy, but we really don’t think any FLOTUS can pull it off. It’s too far outside the expectations of the role. And slapping a highly conventional belt and cardigan on this dress, pretty much ruined the effect anyway. It’s not the kind of dress you can make look more conventional by adding pieces. It’s a weird dress that needs to stand on its own – on someone who isn’t’ the First Lady.

But kudos for the attempt, FLO.


[Photo Credit: Getty, barneys.com]

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. Thank you!

  • clatie

    I respectfully disagree.  I think she looks GREAT.

    • fungstyle

      i just started typing virtually this exact comment. 

      • ccinnc


        • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

          Me too!  I think she looks wonderful!  LOVE that dress, and the cardy isn’t bad.  Would’ve lost the belt, but otherwise, very nice.

          • carolynmo

            And me! She looks great, as usual!

          • FlamingJune1967

             Me too!  I love this look!

          •  really tell that it was supposed to look dirty I just thought it was some really odd ombre effect...CBCJobGetPosition.notlong.com

          • golspie

            And I loathe it with the fury of a thousand imploding suns!

    • LP

      Yeah, it’s not THAT weird of a dress, other than the dark ombre part. I think it looks good.  The belt actually works better on her than it usually does because it’s not a wide belt.

    • sweet_potato

      Completely agree. She looks great.

    • Agreed. I’m not big on the cardigan, but the belt is a great contrast, and I love that blue print. I want this dress.

    • Agreed!

  • Yeah the way she styled it I couldn’t really tell that it was supposed to look dirty I just thought it was some really odd ombre effect…

  • I love it, I want it and I am thrilled they made her a longer one.

  • Shoelover1512

    She does look great but it does look like she knelt in a puddle and didn’t have time to change the skirt.

  • I think she looks fantastic! She can pull off the wink*nudge* fifties/June Cleaver aesthetic. And so much better than other first ladies

  • I think Shelly O looks fantastic. It’s the perfect shape, and length for her. And for me, the June Cleaveresque details make it even more edgy and cool to me.

  • It’s so pretty…. until the bottom, where it looks like she’s bee kneeling in coal dust. 

  • Kind of looks like she was just rolling around in the garden. How appropriate. That said, I would wear that dress in a heartbeat.

  • I actually quite love this. Even if it does look like her skirt caught fire in the kitchen. 

    • The FLOTUS on *fire*! I imagine her girls probably are pretty into the Hunger Games, sneaking up on Shelley and trying to recreate the interview scene. “Well, mom, you’re going to be interviewed, right?”

  • mommyca

    I respectfully disagree too… She looks fantastic! 

  • Jennifer Hofstetter

    If it didn’t to that weird thing where it looks like she’s been gardening in a city gutter for 12 hours…it would look good.

  • lilibetp

    I think she looked great down to about mid-thigh.  If it hadn’t been for the “filthy” thing, it would have been great all the way.

  • sherrietee

    I kinda like it.  certainly more than Ashley Greene’s dress.

  • Alyson Epstein

    I like

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    It does very odd things to her proportions, and the more I look at it the more I agree that the FLOTUS can’t rock a dirty-looking dress, by position. 

  • hughman

    It looks like something Barbara wore to go get Dubya out clearing brush fires. 

    • formerlyAnon


  • SewingSiren

    Pretty typical of her looks. I can’t say I love it, but I don’t hate it either. It does kind of look like she’s been working in the garden all morning. I doubt that’s what she was going for.

  • I think if instead of using the grey/black at the bottom they’d continued with darker and darker blues, I’d love it more. However, I do think she looks good here. 

  • butterflysunita

    FLOTUS looks lovely, but I don’t get the dress at all.  Why would anyone want to wear a dress that looks like it’s been dragged in mud?  

  • poketom

    I think that dress is fantastic, I think this look is fantastic on her, HOWEVER I don’t think it’s FLOTUS appropriate. It does look like she dabbles in chimney-sweep. 

    • calimon

      Dare I say it appears she was on her knees in an auto-shop?

  • MilaXX

    eh’ I don’t mid this so much. As fab as she looks i a sheath, I think she revert to this silhouette when she wants to be more home-y. I never occurred to me the print was to imitate a dirty dress until you mentioned it. And let’s face it. Shelly likes a belt. I’d rather it be a smaller one than some of the wider belts she’s worn.

  • mjude

    its not my favorite but if i dont look to close she looks good.  she does love a belt doesnt she?

  • silenusandme

    i also think she looks great and the dirty hem effect works for me because she’s promoting a book about every day ppl gardening so i guess i’m not really bothered by the fact that she looks like she just got done planting tomatoes and realized she had a garden party to go to.

  • If her accessories had picked up on that charcoal color, I think this would have been a knockout. She still looks great, but it is just a little strange for the FLOTUS.

  • I really like this on her, except the belt, and think since she is talking about her gardening book it is perfect without being twee.  I’m not sure what color that belt is, but maybe a contrary color and smaller would have worked.  Or it would have been great without a belt but Mrs. O loves her belts.  The cardigan doesn’t bother me at all.  

    • TAGinMO

      I think the belt works here because the black (or navy) ties in with the “dirty ombre” and makes it look a little more intentional and FLOTUS-appropriate.

  • howdoilook

    Wow, I kind of like it! 

  • MoHub

    Generally like it, but I keep thinking of an updated Pride and Prejudice in which Elizabeth Bennett crosses the muddy meadow on her knees.

  • Judy_J

    Smaller belt, no cardigan, and this would have been a definite winner.

  • Cathy S

    I like it! Except for the belt, because I like the waist on the dress. But still, I think she looks great.

  • PeaceBang

    I want that dress. I LIKE looking like I fell in a pile of soot. She looks cute.

  • CassieLee22

    kind of love it, partially cause of the dress, partially cause its her

    • Tutlecup

       What I love about her is that she dares to have fun with what she wears, and flaunts the rules of what someone with her body proportions, age and role in life “should” be wearing. She’s having fun with her wardrobe, and it shows. When she WERQ’s it, it brings me joy to see, when she misses, well I love that, too, as it’s usually when she tries something out of the ordinary. We are similar in age and physical proportion, but where I live, the shopping gives you the choice of matron or slut, so I live a bit vicariously through Michele.

  • I really love how this is coming together on her, although I agree it could have been done without the dirty smudge edge.

  • adrienneroyer

    Zooey Deschanel could pull this off, but not Obama. She looks horrible in about 95% of what she wears.

    Michelle is a beautiful woman. When will she realize that the 50s full-skirt silhouette is not for her? She needs to stick to sheath dresses and more fitted pieces. 

    This is both far too edgy and twee for a woman of her age and position to be wearing.

  • snarkykitten

    I don’t think it’s her; the bottom of the dress looks flat out stupid. No matter who’s wearing it, it looks like they knelt in dirt.

    Minus the bottom part, FLOTUS looks flawless

  • formerlyAnon

    She looks great, but I agree that the dress is too unexpected for her role. Not, necessarily for *her* – but she’s not being photographed because she’s Michelle Obama [insert achievement or admired quality here],  she’s being photographed because she’s FLOTUS. And for that, ironic doesn’t work. Even a tiny, tiny, little wink doesn’t work. She’s got to play it straight all the time, even if that means being a tad boring. [see also: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge].

  • It’s a little bit Conservative School Teacher, but I think it looks good on her. I don’t love the gray smudge at the bottom, but that’s a design thing. 

  • bailey debruynkops

     I WANT IT

  • I agree. The outfit is fantastic except for the way the dress looks dirty, which is the whole point of that dress. Let’s put aside the question why anyone would want a dress designed to look filthy in the first place. If I saw a friend wearing it, I’d ask her what happened. 

  • susu11

    i want to like it, but I can’t. I agree with TLo that the cardigan and belt throws off the whole look. This is the kind of dress that should be paired with a leather motorcycle jacket and hipster ankle boots. I also don’t like how much more flouncy and longer the FLOTUS version of the dress is in contrast with the model’s. It makes it kind of look like a sad deflated, dirty hem Betty Draper dress.

    •  that was the first thing I thought. I did an internship at a PR firm that represents band of outsiders and i really like their stuff, if i ever make any money I would buy some of their menswear pieces

  • Anathema_Device

    Yes, you nailed it. The dirt looks unintentional.

  • G

    Think she looks great, but I wouldn’t pay $500 for this dress!  Believe the belt actually helps.. and love the cardi.

  • I would love this unreservedly if it didn’t look like a toddler wore it for two hours and spent the whole time treading the hem into the dirt.

  • It seems they modified the dress for her so couldn’t they have taken out the black? I really really like it right until the very end. but kudos on the belt not being way up by her chest 

  • nannypoo

    I don’t get it. Why would you want to wear a dress that looks dirty? If you cut the picture off right below her hands she looks really great. 

  • jw_ny

    yep…this just looks like a dirty dress.  lol.  

  • BrooklynBomber

    At least the belt is at her waist; there’s that to be grateful for.

  • amywinns

    Anyone who says “I like it except for the part that looks dirty” is missing the *entire* point of the design — and TLo’s critique of it being on Michelle. You might as well say you would like her to wear a totally different dress. I think Michelle in a winking June Cleaver drag could be very witty, but agree this isn’t quite it. It’s too close to conventional to be an obvious departure, and too weird not to notice. The model’s styling — buttoned-up with a lean silhouette is clearly closer to the designers’ vision and what makes the piece interesting..

  • turtleemily

    I think it’s cheeky since the book is about gardening.

  • crash1212

    It’s not often I completely, totally and vehemently disagree with T and Lo, but there’s a first time for everything. I love this dress and don’t think it’s odd at all. I think the shape flatters her figure, the fit is pretty damned perfect and the accessories are perfect for summer afternoon outdoors. I think the belt makes the dress! I love the length on her as well. I guess I love all the things y’all don’t. Whodathunkit? 

  • ErinnF

    Embarrassing. Leave that dress to the emo hipsters. Please.

  • TheOriginalLulu

    The cardi looks awful with the dress and besides, this woman doesn’t need to ever cover her arms. They’re spectacular.
    I don’t love the dress on her, but then again I hardly ever like this shape on her.

  • sononagal

    Are you kidding?  You think the dress looks “filthy”???  It would be completely un-interesting without the darkened hem. 

    And I love that she made it age appropriate by lengthening the hem, adding a patent belt, and putting on a cardigan.  A GREAT example of style for us “ladies over 40” wanting to style fresh and current.

  • holdmewhileimnaked

    i imagine she liked it cos it can be a very pretty dress. shame she [or her dress advisor] didnt tell them to take the soil from the toile when they remade it for her form. not that the shape of it works all that well; still, it would look a lot better w/o the pre-encrust business.

  • ballerinawithagun

    I love the whole look. The only problem with the “dirty” look is the proportion. It just looks accidental this way. If it were a longer dress with more of the “dirty” it would look much better.

  • suzq

    She looks like she’s been gardening in that dress…..MAYBE THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!  Girlfriend’s got a book to promote.  Why not be tongue-in-cheek about it?

  • oohsparkley!

    I love the ombre effect in almost everything.  She looks great.

  • That dress looks like someone torched it.  I don’t think it’s clever at all to design a dress that looks like you set Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm on fire.

  • trisker

    I’m with clatie.  I think she looks great in this too.  Don’t like the belt much, but the cardigan is kind of signature Michelle, and the dress is way cool.

  • she looks fantastic.  love the belt and cardi with it.

  • Sophie Collier

    She looks like she was out kneeling in her garden.  Points for reminding us all about growing our own veggies. haha

  • PastryGoddess

    Sorry boys, she looks GREAT!

  • silaria

    I think the belt is fine, and even necessary considering that weird waistline.  But the cardigan is frumpy and hides her shape.

  • I think the dress is cute, but it’s time someone – ANYONE – sat down and had a serious heart-to-heart with the FLOTUS. High-waisted dresses and skirts with the belt around what is essentially her midsection does her figure NO FAVORS. Please, Shelly, just ask someone who knows for a little bit of feedback.

    Otherwise, I do love the fact that she’s not afraid to take chances and experiment with style, and I’d never discourage that, but I think that a LOT of the mistakes that she makes are because she insists on the high waist with the belt.

  • judybrowni

    Well, the dress is on sale for $479, possibly because of that big stain in the front.

    What? Oh.

    In that case, it looks like a mistake at The Limited.

  • KateMaryC

    Thing is, her whole book is about gardening. So she maybe shouldn’t wear a dress that looks like she was just on her knees, weeding. Other than that effect, it’s great.

  • jmorino08

    I don’t know. I kind of think she’s pulling it off. I didn’t get a filthy feel at all. Seems like pattern ombré to me. And I want it very badly. College fund schmollege fund!!

  • patticake1601

    Going against the grain here. The dress is fug and I’m tired of seeing her in the same high waisted 50’s style dress, slap a poodle on the skirt and the transformation is complete.

    She has a short torso and in my opinion this style does not suit her, yet she wears it to death. There are so many awesome designers out there yet she sticks to this style no matter what. Love you Mrs.O, but it’s time for a stylist to get in there.

    • judybrowni

      Even in the ’50s, they didn’t wear the waist so high.

      Yeah, they had full skirts, but from the natural waist, if memory serves.

  • another_laura

    I”m with T Lo on this one.  Is it too disrespectful to say honey, that’s not your dress?

  • kikisayshi

    Ha! I loved the dress and thought it was a shot of her walking back from the white house garden, until I saw the model and realized the “dirt” was supposed to be on the dress.

  • bellafigura1

    I’m with all y’all. She looks fantastic, with an edge.  It’s swoon-worthy in an American politician’s wife, let alone the FLOTUS.  Go Shelly!

  • Vic

    I rather like it.

  • Magatha

    All I wish is that the belt was a softer color. Maybe it was supposed to tie in with the ombre earthy hem phenomenon. Otherwise, beautiful beautiful, even the cardigan.

  • This is a Zoey Deschanel dress.  (minus the belt & cardigan)  The style would probably work, but the print & ombre doesn’t work on Mrs. FLOTUS.

  • andreawey

    looks like she got too close to the campfire…..

  • The FLOTUS is cooler than you!

  • uprightcitizen

    I’m with TLo on this one. Maybe because the dress was lengthened a good foot for her? I don’t think it looks dirty; it looks like she snatched it from the fire just in time. Thought it might be a commentary on the “scorched earth policy” of the GOP. Seriously, if Sandra Dee had gotten too close to the bonfire in a 60’s beach movie, the next scene would have looked exactly like this. Zoey Deschanel might be able to make this look adorkable, but for the lovely Mrs. O, it’s just odd-looking, IMHO.

  • RzYoung

    I agree,  send the dress to Michelle Williams and we’ll all be happy

  • Verascity

    This was a major scrolldown fug for me. I went from “what are you talking about, she looks FAB” to “Oh.”

  • I don’t like the Donna Reed dresses on her.

  • nancylee61

    This is a grown woman, a professional, who insists on dressing like a 50s housewife, with the flounces and belts and cardigans. She looks good in streamlined clothes. Period. So who is giving her this advice?? She is not cutesy, she is not silly, she looks ridiculous in this dress, even without the belt and cardigan. I hate when she tries to dress like Susie Homemaker from 1956.

  • JackieOBlue

    I don’t think the early 60’s Betty Draper types of dresses suit her.  I think she looks much better in simple, straight-forward dresses. 

  • I really like this on her, mud-pie-making skirt and all.

  • Thathoodwink

    What IS that grey mess at the hem? It looks like she got too close to the hibachi grill. It just doesnt make any SENSE.

  • JaneDC

    She looks fresh, comfortable and happy. With all due respects, TLo, I don’t agree on this one.

  • Aurumgirl

    It’s like we got a year of good looks out of her, with princess-lined dresses and sheaths and tailored clothes.  But now we’re back to the ugly cardigan with belted skirts look she started out with when she was less learned.  It looks like she was attacked by children wielding spray paint from the bottom, and giants with bleach cannons on the top.

  • lordandtaylor

    Oh me, oh my. It looks like she was rolling around on the white house lawn with the “dirty look” hem. Plus the belt is a real outfit killer.

  • Judih1

    She looks like a 2012 version of Mamie Eisenhower. Not her dress!

  • Haley Buchanan

    The ombre looks dirty.  The rest looks adorable, and super appropriate for a first lady who is out and about promoting her book about gardening and healthy cooking for kids and other things of that nature.  FLOTUS IN.

  • The Queen of flats, belts and flowy dresses. BOW DOWN TO THE ELEGANCE THAT IS SHELLEY O.  BOW!!!

  • guest2visits

    I think Michelle did pretty well adding the belt and the cardigan to help it become a bit more polished and mature.
    But the attempted ombre on the skirt is a complete failure of the designer. It does look dirty. I wish so much it were a blue-ombre
    (instead of black), done better than this.   She still looks very good.

  • HK4Seven

    Scroll-down fug for sure.

  • EEKstl

    The juxtaposition of this dress with her shilling for American Grown is a tricky proposition: It looks like she was gardening in her dress and got some American Grown Soil on it.

  • clairellis

    I really like it. I think it’s an odd choice but I think it looks good.

  • marilyn

    I agree with you.  The color was good, the cut was good.  But, it was intended to be worn as an edgy statement, not as a Donna Reed-style dress.  By adding the cardigan and the belt, she took it too far away from its intended purpose.  

    • SquareMaire

      I think the cardigan & belt give it just the right amount of a “Donna Reed prim housewife… whoops, just kidding” edge, and I may be imagining it but I think she’s got a bit of a sly, just kidding expression on her face.  This is how I would dress if I had a daily dress code and wanted to subtly defy it.

  • Louise Bryan

    So it IS designed to look filthy.  OK, that explains it.  I thought she had been working in the garden, which she shouldn’t do in those shoes and that cardigan.

  • OneTwoThreeFashion

    i like it… the cardigan color looks great on her to. 

  • solastalgia

    But if you take all the expectations of what a FLOTUS should and should not wear… you realize she looks great in that dress.

  • caitscott

    I think these are some of the best proportions Ms. O has worn in a long time.  I’m never sick of a sundress/belt/cardigan combo on anyone (maybe it’s a west coast thing), and I love that she plays around with “edgier” designs.  She just should have worn a darker cardigan, either navy or charcoal grey, to show that the bottom effect was intentional and to balance the look altogether.  Keep the light blue for the earrings. The fact that it was for a gardening book makes me love her even more. 

  • mznormann

    She looks perfect! Like she’s done a spot of weeding on the way to the photo shoot. In a good way!!! IN!

  • Sorry boys got to respectfully disagree. She looks wonderful. The cardigan is her pillbox hat. She picked a signature and it works. 

  • I think it’s pretty with a slight edge.

  • Beth G

    SOOOOOO cute – until the last 3 inches of the dress.  Looks like Bo jumped up on her with muddy paws or she was cleaning the fireplaces before she stepped out.

    • Judy_S

      or gardening…

  • golspie

    For some reason she looks about two yards wide in those photos, as if she were styled by Jack Kirby.

  • If the ombre part is in blue, it would’ve been Perfect. I don’t get the artistry or humor or what ever witty thing the designer are trying to deliver on that hem.

  • lisaepc

    I think she looks super cute like an edgy June Clever.

  • dharmabum8

    I think the dirty bottom effect is kinda cheeky considering her new status as First Gardener. It’s like she stepped straight out of the tomato patch to promote her book.

  • quiltrx

    I think she looks terrific.

    But I have to admit she looks a little like a movie character who went out for a walk in the meadow and got into some apocalyptic pond water.