Fashion book follows frenzy over Obama-style


POSTED: Thursday, July 23, 2009

Closing in on only 200 days in the White House, there's already a book out focusing on “;Michelle Style: Celebrating the First Lady of Fashion.”;

There's just no escaping Obama style, whether it is talk about the first lady's hits and misses, or more recently, the president's “;mom jeans,”; the baggy denim he wore when throwing the first pitch at the MLB All-Star game in St. Louis, Mo., last week. On “;The Today Show,”; the president actually apologized for looking “;a little frumpy.”;

Author Mandi Norwood has crowned Mrs. Obama as a 21st century fashion icon in her book, though to me, that is an honor for fashion historians of the future to bestow.

Is she fashionable? Yes. Is her style iconic? Sorry, she's not quite there.

Perhaps her style resonates with much of America because it is so all-American. While she gets some things right, much of her dress registers as being a little too young, trendy and casual for a woman of her international stature. In a casual society, political reporters who aren't accustomed to thinking about fashion, are suddenly talking style, when the first lady is just doing the minimum of what it takes to look presentable on the world stage.




”;Michelle Style”;

By Mandi Norwood


William Morrow, 224 pages, $19.95




Yet, in demonstrating that one can be a working mom and look good, she has started a conversation about fashion in a serious arena, and that is quite a feat. Her willingness to experiment with high and low fashion, dramatic jewelry and, as she said on “;The View,”; “;a little bit of everything”; — simple tactics stylists have been shouting at deaf ears all along — makes it suddenly safe for women of all stripes to experiment with their wardrobe.

So, this book turns out to be a primer on how to get Michelle Obama's style, with advice on how to wear pearls, sheaths, brooches and color with confidence, just like Michelle. For some, it will be the empowering message they need to find their own personal style.