Shelley O Gets Swirly

Posted on June 20, 2013

We haven’t checked in on Shelley in a while, but we gasped when we saw this dress on her.


First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer attend the dinner given in honour of President Obama at the Orangerie of Schloss Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, Germany. Michelle Obama is wearing a Carolina Herrera dress.

Carolina Herrera Pre-Fall 2013 Collection

It’s cute and sexy and youthful, which means it’s pretty much something you’ve never seen on any First Lady. We like the blue version better, but this is certainly no less eye-catching. The shape of the skirt is a little tough to pull off, though. And normally, we’d be against any lady over 21 sporting those bows on her dress, but the look is so much more stylish than the average First Lady drag that we can’t hate. Quibble, yes. Hate, no. She cuts a figure and she stands out in a crowd. Mission accomplished. Love the earrings.



[Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images,]

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  • MoHub

    It’s a WERQ for me.

    • Emily

      Me too.

  • ConnieBV

    I just love her vibe. She broadcasts femininity, and in a really strong way. I would have taken the bows off but I can’t hate.

    • Lizzyisi

      So true.

    • eowyn_of_rohan

      YES. Thank you for that comment about how femininity can be strong, and strength can be feminine. She exudes that better than just about anyone I’ve seen.

      • VioletFlame

        Kudos to you for your user name, eowyn!

  • I do love that they wisely scaled the bows down for her. left in the original proportions it would have skewed far too young. Its an interesting dress, and yeah, I do wish she had gone with the blue version.

    • I would have preferred it without the bows at all and I LOVE the blue. But she still looks all sorts of lovely.

      • The most stylish FLOTUS since Jackie O.

        • Beth513

          Oooh, I just said this before I saw your post. Great minds, etc.

      • norseofcourse

        And the blue would have worked so well with his tie. (Mad Style posts have trained me to look for conversations between couple’s clothes. Praise be to TLo for that!)

      • ballerinawithagun

        The blue would have been perfection. I have an irrational hate for bows that serve no purpose, remove them now.

    • I always assume, with women in her kind of position, that protocol and politics play a role in color selection. Who knows what that blue might have signified? But I agree that in pure fashion terms the blue would be more flattering to her.

  • teensmom99

    I hate, hate, hate those sleeves (bands?) and the bows. It seems like something I used to see in 17 magazine in the 70s. I’d put that on my irrational hate list. The rest is nice.

  • Carrie

    I too would have liked to see the bows ditched all together, but she looks so fabulous that I can’t complain. Fierce, feminine and stylish. Three things you pretty much never get to see all at once in a FLOTUS. Go her.

    • Yes, haste the bows. But she does look fab.

  • She makes me do the happy sigh. I don’t think the word “refreshing” has ever been used so often when describing the First Lady as it is with Michelle. Everything about seems forward thinking and real. Love her. (Hate the bows-shhhhh)

  • Beth513

    Shelley O gives Jackie O a run for the money in most glamorous and fashionable first lady ever.

    • ankali

      Definitely! Less iconic so far, but more adventurous.

  • Heather

    The bows actually make me crazy – I want to rip them off, but I’d probably be tackled by a bunch of Secret Service agents.

  • Spicytomato1

    Beautiful dress that really suits her figure. I hear the complaints about the bows — I’d normally and reflexively hate them myself — but when I picture the dress without them it seems like it might be too unadorned and ordinary.

  • Sobaika

    I want to rip those bows right off of her. But overall, she looks lovely and chic.

  • eowyn_of_rohan


  • TAGinMO

    Two bows past a WERQ for me. Still, solidly in “AttaFLOTUS” territory.

  • Jessy_N

    I’m pretty sure that is the same version the model is wearing, which also looks black on top…dunno…a WERK from me, even avec bows…

  • Kay

    I like the navy better because you can see the swirls on the skirt much more — with black-on-dark-gray in this lighting it just makes it look like her skirt is wrinkled.

    Love the look, though, it’s amazing on her.

  • Not applicable

    Armpit bows take me back to dance costumes. Gah!

  • TAGinMO

    My, the First Herr is a wee little thing, isn’t he?

    • eowyn_of_rohan

      So true. And Merkel’s pants look so silky and comfortable.

    • Snailstsichr

      Fortunately for him, not everyone who comes on a state visit is as tall as Shelley and Barry. I bet he wishes that hobbits could swing by for dinner.

    • ampg

      And wearing that enormous suit doesn’t help him one bit.

  • Cameron Turner

    Take the bows off and it is a Werq

  • Jessica Freeman

    The bows are ridic. Otherwise, she looks flawless, as always.

  • DaveUWSNYC

    Angela, on the other hand…

    • deathandthestrawberry

      Angela Merkel is like Hillary Clinton in that she keeps a rainbow supply of pantsuits at her disposal. As a head of state, I suppose it works for her and she sticks to it.

      • DaveUWSNYC

        I can see that. She’s head of government, though, not head of state.

    • Malve Lyborg

      Well, she’s in her evening attire – you can see that because her trousers are her flowy ones. 🙂

      And she wouldn’t have wanted to take Michelle’s limelight, which she may have done, had she worn her gown… (google Angela Merkel Bayreuth dekollete and you’ll know what I mean…)

    • mshesterp

      Those pants are WAY too voluminous. The top half is fine (although it’s pretty colorless), but Just Say No to pants that wide, Angela.

    • formerlyAnon

      Like former Secretary of State Clinton, I think her energies are focused elsewhere.

  • Not applicable

    I think it’s really hard when you are a woman ‘of a certain age’ to know how to look youthful without looking silly or that you’re trying too hard. 40+ is tough- especially when you’re in good shape because your body looks good & toned, but it still so easy to tip into ‘trying too hard’ or inappropriate b/c you’re showing too much leg (Hi, GOOP, that’s you) or too much boobage & skin (ie: Frau Klum)

    I just think bows like this are for young women. Sorry- don’t hate. I’m middle aged. I’m stuck in that horrible no mans land between the hip young clothes I’d like to wear (but sorta can’t b/c of age not fit) and the death knell of Chicos.

    • paginatrix

      The Death Knell of Chicos would be an excellent name for a rock band.

      • Not applicable

        hahhaha! we should track down the Bananarama cover band and see if they want to be re-branded! 🙂

      • formerlyAnon

        I’m thinking novel. Something where the “30-ish hipster gal finding her place in the world” novel meets the “50-ish woman in mid-life renegotiates her place in the world” novel.

        The title deserves something better than the cliched “distant daughter/daughter-in-law and mother/mother-in-law [or boss/landlady/neighbor surrogate] are forced together by [insert dramatic plot point] and each learns from the other.” I’d read it.

    • Rhonda Shore

      I must be missing something — while I like the dress itself and am a fan of FLOTUS, I think this dress makes her look a bit broad in the beam.

      • Not applicable

        lol- well that too…

    • SportifLateBoomer

      I feel you there. I am in that boat somewhat myself, although I tend to skew younger. As in, I used to wear Eileen Fisher (aka expensive Chicos with no prints) but now that I’m slimmer and buffer, if I say so myself, i go for more fitted and body-shaping. I’m getting close to MObama guns, too, and you betcha I’m showing them off this summer.

      If you can get youthful things that fit right, it can really work. It takes confidence, and I think keeping things simple, with minimal frippery. In no way could I carry off that dress w/the bows, for example.

      Style conscious, not-giving-up friends don’t let friends wear Chicos. I have your back on this one. Keep the faith and show ’em what you got!

      • Not applicable

        SportifLateBoomer! love you! Minimal flippery?! so using that!

        Yes- I’ve been lifting and bootcamping since my mid 30s and i weigh about 15lbs more than I did at 25, but wear the same size. Booyah! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crazy buff but, for example, I have this lovely little black dress- that is actually similar to Shelly O’s cut here– that I *can* wear but don’t. there are 2 tiny bows at the top, it’s a little short (on me) It looks ‘good’ until you get to my face. 🙂 My face doesn’t look old either- but it sure as shit doesn’t look 25.

        I’m embracing this age- but it is tough to get the balance right. Friends don’t let friends wear Chicos! thank you for my new mantra! 🙂

        • SportifLateBoomer

          Yeah baby! Keep up the good work, we are redefining what middle aged, and fashionable, can be. I think you’d be surprised at what you could carry off, despite your “face.” So much of it is that you have to be comfortable in your skin, I think. People appreciate that. And, of course, that it’s situation-appropriate. I basically wear what I did in college on the weekends, but pull it together a bit more for business. And I think a really good haircut and grooming go a long way. But I know I’m preaching to the choir here… unlike locally where I seek scads of women my age who are clinging to a desperate belief that they can wear the same hairstyle they did as a groovy 70s-80s chick as now, despite frizz and a bad dye job. Don’t get me started.

          • Not applicable

            lolol… yea- i’ve seen that, “stuck with the same hair cut look” it’s tough. I have very little gray- and my hair looks VERY young. That’s great- yay, lucky- but i just never want to look like i’m not trying to act my age- or like desperate. 😉

            keep up your good work too! Suns out- Guns out!

          • SportifLateBoomer

            I’m a big proponent of letter the natural gray/silver out. It can be really striking. I have long hair and a pepe le pew streak and it’s awesome. Solid fake hair color if not done right does no one any favors.

      • friscogal

        Hey! I’m 53 and shop at Chicos. And I shop at Eileen Fisher. You just have to be really careful about what you select and how you put it together. If you look like a Chicos or Eileen Fisher ad, you have gone way too far.

    • BrooklynBomber

      No hate. I think this is awful on her.

  • MzzPants

    Praise Beesus, she didn’t add a skinny belt! The lines of the dress are so much more flattering on her than a waistband.

  • BuffaloBarbara

    Eh. I don’t have anything against the bows, but the material just looks too stiff for what is clearly supposed to be a lightweight summer dress. (Whether a lightweight summer dress is right for state meetings is open to question, but then, FLOTUS is not actually in the state meeting.)

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    Would looks so much better without the bows. I think they make the bodice look a bit too tight on her (or maybe it is actually slightly too snug). I love the swirly pattern though, very pretty but modern.

  • decormaven

    This woman just oozes style to me. It’s a youthful look, but she’s carrying it well.

  • nannypoo

    I love it. I would just snip those little bows right off and then it would be perfect.

    I see we have finished with the bangs. I’m at the same stage and I can tell you that wave pressing against your eyelid is enough to make you crazy.

  • Bradio311

    I HATE those bows that almost ruin an otherwise perfect look.

  • butterflysunita

    She is so beautiful. Looks way better in the dress than the model. A surprising look, but I love it.

  • Melanie

    Definitely would have removed the bows – she’s the FLOTUS for Pete’s sake – but otherwise, I love this.

  • twocee

    I can’t sign off on those bows. And the pockets are doing weird things to her hips. I like the *idea* of the dress. And she looks lovely regardless of my quibbles.

  • lrober03

    I think that width of shoulder strap is perfect for her. It emphasizes the great shoulders and arms without making them look too broad.

  • Glam Dixie

    She does stand out and yes it’s a very stylish dress, but it’s way too young looking for her. On anyone else this would have been called twee but she always gets a pass because of who she is. And it makes her hips look huge in proportion to the rest of her.

  • The fabric pattern makes me dizzy. But the dress is a super nice fit. I hate bows but they work on this dress. Her fashion sense has improved during these last few years. It’s fun to have someone in the White House who is fashionable.

  • alyce1213

    Gorgeous dress, magnificent FLOTUS.
    Is the model wearing blue — or is it purple? Looks purple on my monitor, and that’s even more exciting than blue.

  • majorbedhead

    Oh, we haven’t had a Shelley O post in so long that I don’t even care about the bows (although I hate them). I just love seeing those two together. It gives me a glimmer of hope that all relationships don’t ultimately turn to shit.

  • Sara__B

    No to the armpit decor, but yes to the rest.

  • erinbinek

    Oh, I wish she had taken those bows off! Woulda been a WERQ.

  • siriuslover

    I don’t mind the bows, and I like the blue version better, too. In fact, I LOVE that blue version.

  • Deedles

    No to the bows. I would be drawn and quartered if I wore a dress like that and she doesn’t get a free pass because she’s FLOTUS.

  • jw_ny

    Shelly looks great! I’m so glad she got rid of the bangs.

    I dislike the bows on her, but like them on the model. Maybe Shelly is too mature for them…idk. The bows just look to twee/junior. The overall shape of the dress suits her and I like how modern it is/she is.

  • SugarSnap108

    I want to snip the bows off, but I love it otherwise. It’s “out there” for a FLOTUS, in an awesome and tasteful way, and she’s totally selling it.

  • Shawn EH

    Somehow, it doesn’t look as twee on her as on the model (where it might as well be a Michelle Williams dress). However, I wonder if her role were more official and less … functional? honorary? formal? …. all we’d see is her rocking suits and pantsuits? Of course, that is sort of what the Republican FLOTUSs do, isn’t it?

  • MilaXX

    What a cute, summery dress. You go Shelly!

  • FancyPhilly

    Sorry, can’t get behind it. Those bows just are too juvenile for me. And I wish it were still blue. And a shout out to Merkel, rocking those beige pallazzo pants like nobody’s business.

  • beebee10

    FLOTUS I bow down!

  • Malve Lyborg

    I loved the dress the moment I saw it. And it made me forget that the whole city was a traffic disaster these two days. Glad I have a Vespa, so I could drive on the sideways.

  • cowper

    This dress is meant for someone without curves, because it’s clearly trying to accentuate the heck out of what is there. Kiernan Shipka would look cute in this!

    • Glam Dixie

      My thoughts exactly. Kiernan Shipka would look really cute in this. My 16 year old would take this out of my hand with a quiet ‘No Mom’ and hang it back up for being too young. I can’t believe almost no one is calling her out for how twee this is.

      • cowper

        It’s a TTT–“Too Twee for Thee.”

  • girliecue

    Love her so much! The bodice with so much interest in contrast to a plain skirt really elongates her waist and gives her great proportionality. And that it’s a fitted bodice shows off her very fit body! The silhouette is so true to her style and the bows are a nice nod to her determination to be her own woman while fulfilling the role of First Lady. Ms. Herrera should name this dress The Shelly.

  • raininmai

    I like that they reduced the size of the bows for Flotus, and I think it was a good idea to leave them on since they provide balance to the width of the bottom half of the dress. She looks great, as usual, and I like the black version too.

  • BlueBell42

    Poor Mrs. Merkel. Imagine showing up and seeing Mrs. O. looking so fabulous and you looking like, well, that.

    • 1carmelita

      Sorry to quibble, but she is not Mrs. Merkel. She is German Chancellor Merkel.

      • BlueBell42

        Gosh! So sorry. Correct.

        • snowy_owl_000

          As another German here, no harm done 🙂 But, as I know our dear Chancellor she probably doesn’t care one wit about what she looks like and what people think of it. When she first came into power, people tried commenting on her looks/clothes but it became boring soon: She never changes anyway!

  • largishbearishAtlish

    I so agree with the comment about liking the blue version better, but again with the quibbling. It’s almost ‘anti-first lady’ in its scope- YOU GO FLOTUS!

  • marlie

    It’s a smidge too juvenile for her, but I love the dress nonetheless. And she looks fabulous.

  • Lisa Utter

    The blatantly unmatched seaming in the bodice is making my eyes twitch. Why, oh, why could they not have matched it like they did on the model??? It’s our FLOTUS, for heaven’s sake.

  • Kristobel

    I gasped when I saw this. She looks absolutely beautiful. I could do without the bows as well, but they are probably the only thing keeping her from wearing her ever-present cardigan.

  • Nonmercisansfacon


  • mhleta

    Superhero FLOTUS.

  • e jerry powell

    I was very confused by the color, but otherwise, I have nothing to complain about.

  • Belvane

    I love the attitude she always puts forth that she just has big hips and deal with it, world. It’s womanly, in a grown-up way. And the beautiful First Arms!

  • Judy_J


  • clairellis

    I love her. She’s so beautiful.

  • Lola Channing

    how they manage to look so cool is a feat in itself. It was so bloody hot yesterday. And yes, lovely lovely lovely. In hair news, Mrs. Obama seems to have ditched the fringe. That’s a shame.

  • kat89

    No. Not working for me. If Sasha or Malia wore this I would like it, but she looks silly in my opinion.

  • conniemd

    Since it’s a sleeveless dress, I think the bows are needed to give it a more dressy upscale vibe. Otherwise it would look like a really cute summer dress, but too underdressed for a presidential photo op.

  • formerlyAnon

    Skirt is questionable – on the line of cute & unflattering – but overall this is cute and fun.

    I think the fabric has the body and sheen (is that the right word when it’s not shiny?) to make this clearly mature and upscale enough, and not too casual or juvenile.

  • For me this is totally a “girl, that isn’t your dress” dress. She doesn’t even need to pack it up, just tailor it down for Malia and it would be perfect. It’s certainly not evening attire worthy of the spouse of a head of state at a dinner in his honor. Jackie O wouldn’t have been caught dead in something this juvenile for a public event.

  • Anniebet

    Well, for me this is a “girl, that is SO YOUR DRESS”. She takes a youthful silhouette and totally owns it. Hail to the Chieftess.

  • Northern_Light_27

    I like the dress and I like it on her, but to me the bows scream “sundress” and make her look way too informal for the situation.

  • LaSylphide

    Like everything but those gawd-awful bows. Great hair.

  • Sadie-Ann

    I didn’t really like her style of dressing when she first was getting attention for it, but she’s really hit her stride now. It’s really pretty.

  • I actually love the bows. They balance out her proportions nicely and are just a tiny bit unusual for her. Would have preferred the blue, but she looks fantastic.

  • PrunellaV

    Best-looking First Couple ever.

  • ankali

    Wish she’d worn the blue, dislike the bows (I’ll admit she’s coming dangerously close to making them work), but she otherwise looks great. I actually think the skirt is insanely flattering on her.

  • Sunraya

    She is way too old for those bows. They look silly.

  • Not feeling the bows, but I love the rest of the look.

  • Jecca2244

    Does anyone watch VEEP?? Where she goes to Finland and the First Husband gropes her?? love this dress, BTW.

  • bgrayduck

    Just can’t get past the bows…. it looks like something one of her daughters should wear.

  • OhDoogs

    It really brings those MerkelPants into sharp relief, no?

  • jjfg

    I would be a WERQ for me but for the bows. Not that I think any adult woman should go around with bows on her shoulders, but I think they looked better on the model, more in proportion to the dress. On Shelly, they are too twee.

  • Danielle L

    WERQ, FLOTUS. Werq those perfectly toned arms. I would have taken the bows off but everything else is singing.

  • friscogal

    I say it should have been in blue and STRAPLESS.

  • pdquick

    There’s a difference in the construction between the blue version on the model, and the model on Mrs. Obama. In the runway version, all the swirls line up to create a continuous set of swirls. In Mrs. Obama’s version, the swirls don’t line up. As a result, the effect is much more blocky.