What do U.S. women feel about a potential first lady who wears an inexpensive, off-the-rack dress to co-host "The View?"

Pretty darn enthusiastic.Michelle_obama_dress

After Michelle Obama mentioned on "The View" on Wednesday that she bought her B&W sundress at a store called White House/Black Market, women started pouring into the retail chain’s stores, clamoring for the $148 dress designed by Donna Ricco.

"Women literally were snatching (that dress) up," Jessica Wells, a spokeswoman for the White House/Black Market, which has 322 stores across the country, told the Wall Street Journal.

Turns out it may not only be time for a political change, it may also be time for a change of clothes when it comes to first ladies.

"I’d put her in an Oprah sphere in terms of influence," Tom Julian, prez of the Tom Julian Group, a New York City-based brand consultancy, told the WSJ.

Later, speaking to the Dish Rag, Julian predicted that Obama will change the face of political fashion in that she could be the first first lady to wear both high and low-end fashion.

"She will bring affordable American sportswear to the forefront, and this is very appealing to the Middle American woman voter. I can also see her as a Vanessa Williams, Halle Berry, Angela Bassett-style dresser.  She’s modern –- a boomer, a woman of color with a real shape. It will be interesting what she picks as a signature piece, and I predict that it will be in the sportswear realm."

He also says he would not be surprised to see her embrace some black designers such as Kevan Hall and Tracy Reese, to tell a modern American fashion story during the upcoming election.

Speaking solely for myself, how incredibly refreshing to see an intelligent, articulate woman who shops for herself, doesn’t use a stylist and doesn’t think a designer name means she’s better dressed than someone else. Michelle just likes to look pretty and comfortable. How novel.

I far prefer this woman’s fashion sense to that other one, you know, the waifish blond beer heiress who goes with Secret Service agents to Oscar de la Renta’s swanky Manhattan showroom to check out his designer wares.

Speaking as someone who has worn a $129 dress from Urban Outfitters to the Oscars (more than once) and gotten compliments on it from total strangers, Michelle, I salute you!


Now, about that trademark fist bump ….

By the by, If you don’t think this fashion stuff matters in the grand scheme of things, well, you’re just wrong. Even our intrepid political blogger Andrew Malcolm is fascinated by the furor over Michelle’s frock. And he’s a real journalist and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, fer crying out loud.


Andrew makes an interesting (if thoroughly male) observation about the whole dress-envy deal. He actually doesn’t understand "why women who are absolutely appalled to be seen wearing the same dress as another woman are now running out to buy one just like millions of other women who are also running out to look like another woman they saw on TV."

If you want to explain it to him, leave a comment on his Top of the Ticket blog. Just keep it short. They are dealing with really important political issues over there.

Photo: Chico’s, FAS, Inc.

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead