It’s been way easier to be more confident about dressing for special occasions these past few years because of Michelle Obama, and I didn’t truly appreciate the impact she’s had on what we chose to wear until I read this past Sunday’s New York Times piece, “What Michelle Obama Wore and Why It Mattered.”
After reading the article, my husband and I were talking about how clever and down to earth Michelle was with her fashion choices. Frugality, style, honesty, experimentation and entrepreneurship were all embraced by the First Lady’s choices of what she wore and who she wore to major events. She celebrated her own individuality and that of the designer. She wore everything from the people’s J. Crew sweater to the exclusive designer, Tom Ford. Her choices ran from affordable to unattainable. It turns out the net effect has been freeing for a lot of women.
A perfect example of how Michelle’s fashion decisions have trickled down to many women is the ease with which we decide what to wear to events that we used to labor over.
I witnessed this “ease” as I looked at the range of what over 50 women wore to an “optional black tie” wedding this past weekend. A very stylish friend was wearing a cocktail dress with cool black suede boots.
Another woman got so flummoxed with her hair she clipped it up in a hair claw clip creating a “who cares” vibe.
I was wearing my new favorite FAKE diamond bracelet from Amazon with my full length sequined dress by Laundry. This was the third time this month I’d worn this dress as it was the third “optional” black tie wedding in 4 weeks with minimal guest cross over.
But after reading the piece in The NY Times I know I have Michelle to thank for my unapologetic fashion choice. She has helped women become less neurotic about what they wear. I hadn’t really attributed a fashion “relaxation response” to her, but upon reflection and reading the New York Times piece…it’s true.
We’ve always known that clothes create an image that reflects our unique selves but inherent in that statement we have traditionally run around on an exhausting search to find the “right” outfit to reflect the “REAL US!” Once Michelle relaxed the rigidity of what could be worn, there was no one “right” outfit … we were free to experiment as well. Most of us could never attain the perfection of Jackie-O…but with Michelle’s appetite for trying new looks, we too could expand our range free from judgement.
Ten years ago I would have never given myself permission to wear the same gown 3x in a month just because I loved it. I would have bought three dresses because that was what I was supposed to do. I would not have worn a fun playful zirconium bracelet from amazon– I would have worn nothing if I didn’t have a real piece of jewelery. No more! Times have changed.
I felt so good in THIS dress and my fun jewelry that it never became “THAT old dress” or “THAT fake little bracelet”. By the way I wore this dress with the coolest short fur retro jacket that my Nana would have loved.
What about you….feeling liberated?