Michelle Obama: Sleeveless Again
Does this mean I have to tone my arms now?
-April Daniels Hussar
The first lady’s official portrait has been released and – you guessed it – Michelle Obama is wearing one of her signature sleeveless sheath dresses. The chic black dress is classic Michael Kors, the pearls classic First Lady, and the arms … well, they’re all Michelle.
This of course comes hot on the heels of Michelle’s appearance at her husband’s presidential address to Congress and the American people (she was the only sleeveless person in sight, in a plum Narciso Rodriguez dress), a few days after she presented the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize to Stevie Wonder in a sleeveless emerald green dress designed by the singer’s wife, Kai Milla, and right in step with her People magazine cover … in which she wears a sleeveless magenta Tracy Reese sheath dress. (Oh, and of course, there was that other little cover she did recently – what was it? VOGUE. Yep – sleeveless again.)
So what do we think of all this sleevelessness?
Lois Joy Johnson, Betty’s Style and Beauty editor, for one, is a fan: “Arms bared are a big relief from years of suited up women in the White House. I mean, did we ever see Laura Bush’s arms? Ever?”
Well, come to think of it … no … can’t say that we did (or wanted to). In fact, looking back through recent first lady portraits, everyone is pretty darn covered up, with the stunning exception of Jackie O. She looks, bien sur, elegant and oh-so-chic in her … wait for it … sleeveless sheath dress.
Also a fan of Michelle’s sleeveless look in general and the Michael Kors pick in particular is Betty style contributor, host of A Fashionable Life Radio and ABC News NOW style reporter Jennifer Goodkind:
“Love the Michael Kors sleeveless dress. This IS the modern incarnation of the ‘power suit!’ She looks strong, but the pearls act as a reference to femininity and classical. Kors is the right man to represent the American ideal of the working woman!”
So what do I think? MOI? In general, I think Michelle Obama looks gorgeous in everything and can – and should – wear whatever the heck she wants. However, I do have one tiny problem with all this arm baring. To paraphrase Nora Ephron — I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY ARMS! Thanks to Michelle Obama, I now have to go invest in a pair of free weights.
And something tells me I am not alone. So far I’ve managed to resist all this celebrity arm-fabulousness. I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow is obviously from another planet (one where sleek arms, Ralph Lauren, and macrobiotic baby food are just like oxygen), and, Madonna, well her arms are just plain frightening. (Power to you, Lady M!).
But Michelle … part of her whole appeal is that she’s so accessible. She’s beautiful, but she’s not perfect. She doesn’t conform to that wretched unattainable, airbrushed to plastic ridiculousness Mischa-Barton-Sarah-Jessica-Parker standard of the perfect size -2. Those people I can dismiss. Michelle Obama, however, looks like a real woman, like someone I can relate to, which means that … I, too, could probably look a lot better in a sheath dress! Augh!
The silver lining in all this – according to Lois Joy Johnson, svelte arms are a cinch, and Michelle is actually doing us all a favor:
“Arms are fastest easiest part of the body for a woman to tone and maintain – that’s why so many sleeveless dresses are hot year-round now. We’re no fools! A few curls and lifts with 2 lb. dumbbells while watching Letterman does it. Michelle shows her buff arms and takes the heat away from other body areas that may not be quite as perfect – a common and smart ruse. If your arms look toned, they divert attention away from tummy bulges, back fat and muffin tops – I’m not saying Michelle has these problems of course but it does do the trick, especially if you keep your arms at your sides. The occasional cardigan, of course, is the solution for when you let a week slip by with no exercise.”
Hmmmm, if Lois is right, and toned arms means I can stop worrying about the residual post-baby belly I’ve been hanging on to for, er, SIX years, well, then, maybe Michelle Obama will be even better for the country than I thought.