CRUSHING ON MRS. O (by Laura Castoro)

I admit it. I've got a crush. It's not an actor, a singer, or a pop celebrity. It's our new First Lady: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama.

Mrs. O, Michelle, Shelle, however the public speaks affectionately of her, one thing is certain: Michelle Obama is the most talked about and photographed First Lady in years. That talk is often breathless with happy surprise, admiration, and, yes, awe.

I admire her intellect, her business acumen, her social grace, her passion for work and life. I identify with her as a working woman, a hands-on mother, and wife with a husband whose career makes all three of those roles more demanding. These complications of the modern woman's life are the subject of my latest novel LOVE ON THE LINE, Avon A.

My crush, too, has a lot to do with those photographs. I'm in love with that at-ease-with-herself attractive woman on magazine covers who knows what looks good on her. Flaunting trends and fashion rules, she dares to wear what she likes, and women everywhere are mostly delighted. Why? Because she's one of us, with a toned but genuine body of the mother of two, and the confidence to wear what works for her.

What a "Oh, that's how I can look" sense of pleasure and relief for a generation of working women stuck in the no-woman's land between Carrie Bradshaw's waif look and the sometimes grim traveling pantsuit set. No wonder there are reams being written about her. Avon's soon-to-be released volume, MICHELLE STYLE: CELEBRATING THE FIRST LADY OF FASHION by Mandi Norwood is sure to be a hit.

What I love about Michelle’s style: Her sleek body-conscious clothing says I'm grown but I'm not giving up being a woman. There's nothing cutesy about her style, but there's nearly always something fun: those large floral pins, the studded leather belt over a sheath, the vivid colors in combined pieces of an outfit.

Call it recycling or multi-tasking, her wardrobe is easily dressed up or down to fit the many demands of her day. The sweater that added a chic layer of warmth on Inauguration Day recently showed up paired with its matching shell over a pair of cropped gray trousers and turquoise (yes!) work boots as she visited a muddy D. C. construction site to talk community service with students from YouthBuild. Now that's breath-taking, and inspiring, and practical!

Her casual clothes are just that, casual, relatively inexpensive, and off the rack. Best of all, she doesn't take fashion so seriously that she's not willing to be different. Don't like everything she wears? Truthfully, I don't like everything I wear. What a relief to look in the mirror and feel you've gotten it right, right? Michelle's batting average with public opinion seems to be .950. I’d settle for .500.

Jackie Kennedy created a style that was feminine, confident, and classy. Michelle Obama's style has all those things plus a level of modern working-woman simplicity that prompts the adjectives "smart", "relaxed", "multi-tasking", with the right to bare arms. That's knock-out style at its finest.

If you, like me, need a daily fix, go here: www.Mrs-O.org. What do you think of our new role model?

22 Comments:

Anonymous Zetta Brown said:

"The right to bare arms!" LOL Yes! Michelle Obama will take no prisoners as far as critics are concerned. She is the first First Lady who seems to have it all together. She's unflappable and you get a sense that she can handle whatever life throws at her. And I LOVE her smile! So genuine and not phony.

6:41 PM  

Blogger Genesis said:

I love Ms. O too! And I think it's for all the reasons you've stated. She's ALWAYS gorgeous AND practical. And I love that about her. As a working wife and mother of 3, she absolutely makes me feel like I'm right when I'm choosing practicality over fad. You absolutely know what her priorities are and she likes what she likes and is okay with it. And so am I! Great blog!

8:05 PM  

Blogger Rebecca said:

I couldn't agree with you more! I love Michelle Obama! I totally love how she puts colors together! Her style is just so effortless, and seems like everything was made just for her, eventhough, like you said, many of her things she gets right off the rack from department stores. Also, you can't forget how beautifully she dresses Sasha and Malia as well. Just awesome from all points! Kudos Mrs. O!

12:43 AM  

Anonymous Roxanne said:

I love that Michelle Obama is incredibly comfortable in her own skin. She easily mixes accessibly-priced clothing with designer pieces. The sleeveless sheath seems to be her signature style - yet she manages to make it look fresh and different each time.

1:00 AM  

Anonymous Zetta Brown said:

From the other comments, I think it just goes to show that we admire women like Michelle Obama because she is not a slave to fashion--but is still fashionable. She is feminine, practical, sexy, smart and ALL of this creates an image that is professional, accessible, and warm. With Michelle Obama you get a woman who can get your attention and respect in the boardroom as well as "off the clock." She has enough grace and dignity where she doesn't have to instill fear and be in your face in order to be taken seriously.

7:07 AM  

Anonymous Pat Lile said:

I appreciate the various ways Laura Castoro has described Michelle Obama, including her choice of clothes and terrific sense of style....words had failed me in trying to describe her. But I know "classy" when I see it, and she has captured the adjective to be her own, and uniquely so. Black has never been so beautiful and confident as it is embodied in our great new First Lady, who obviously loves and is loved BY, our great new President Barack Obama! Thanks, Laura! Pat Lile

10:39 AM  

Blogger familyman said:

The first couple is breaking all kinds of barriers when it comes to role models. Not just a political family, or a good looking family, or a smart family, the O's have it all. I couldn't think of a better role model for little girls (like my two T'weens) than the confident, educated, practical beauty of Michelle Obama!

11:00 AM  

Anonymous Ann said:

I agree with everything you said, plus I think she looks like someone I might run into in my daily life. Many of her dresses could be worn with sandals while shopping for groceries, yet she always wears them with elegance and style. Some people are just naturals, and she's one of them.

12:17 PM  

Blogger JC Martin said:

Laura, I'm happy that we have a younger, sophisticated First Lady. Michelle doesn't have to wear her mother's clothes to look classy or conservative. I appreciate that she shows her shoulders; frankly, I do it a lot myself. She has a great silhouette.

Michelle is representing to the world real women are not always dressed to the hilt just because their picture may end up on the front page of some magazine. She is keeping it real.

As for those turquoise work boots, I have a pair myself. I love blue.

12:46 PM  

Blogger ESI said:

I love that there's now a "fashion icon" (although I don't think she strives to be one) who falls between Puritan and Madonna (the singer :)). I hate to get on my "kids these days" soapbox, but honestly: TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS!

2:20 PM  

Blogger Lidian said:

I like her a lot too!

And not to be nit-picky or anything, but I think that you mean she flouts (rebels against) fashion rules - not "flaunts."

2:09 PM  

Anonymous Patsie said:

The Obamas give off such good vibes, personally, intellectually, and as inspiring leaders. Gobama!

Laura, your recent novel, Love on the Line, is so timely!

And -- I love your writing.:)

6:22 PM  

Anonymous Chris said:

Great blog lady, and I'm not saying that just 'cause I'm married to you!

10:12 PM  

Blogger laparker said:

Lidian,

You got me! "Flout" is the word! LOL Thanks for catching that.

Laura

10:04 AM  

Blogger Chick Lit Gurrl said:

Great post! I'm a definite fan of Mrs. O - her beauty, her realness, her sense of self shines through every time I see her, and I think in today's society, having strong women like her visible is a positive to all women - young and old.

12:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

HSV Book Club Guru

Laura, whether scripting her powerful fictional characters or describing the attributes of our present First Lady, truly "nails it." For this, we are thankful!

1:29 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Great comment, Laura. I like Michelle Obama's style, too. Classy, without being pricey. Her look screams, "I know myself and exactly what I like and what looks good on me!" Too bad more women in the public eye don't have that confidence.
Ann in Texas

4:35 PM  

Blogger Monica "Dr. mOe" Anderson said:

Great blog, Laura! You put words to the collective thoughts of the First Lady's many admirererssss (forgot how to spell that word, okay, her fans). Anyway, I love the role model of a wife in a balanced relationship with a powerful man, a working mother who doesn't bow to pressure from the left or right, and a woman with hips who is not ashamed to show them. Yes, the new Lady O is truly all that!
Thanks for repping!

9:22 AM  

Anonymous Trudy Redus said:

Great Blog Laura, I agree with you totally. I am in awe with our new Mrs. O. She has her very own style. This woman is smart and beautiful and is married to the most powerful man in the free world. Total package, the need to bare arms. Bare Michelle, Bare. A role model for us ALL.

Trudy Redus, Etiquette Expert

9:45 AM  

Anonymous Sharen L. said:

Enjoyed the post, Laura. No doubt Michelle O. has own style - especially her sleveless wardrobe. It works for her...and she's comfortable with it. Plus she is comfortable with who she is. She loves being a wife to her husband, and she also recognizes that she has her strengths that she so elegantly brings to the table. I think that's one of the things that makes her touchable, admirable and endearing.

7:13 PM  

Blogger Thurapist said:

It's not just the First Lady's style that makes her a star. It's her heart. She looks terrif, yes. But she's beautiful inside too. Did anyone see her talking to the little girls at the London school today (4/3/09). I was thinking what a blessing it is to have such an authentically good soul representing our country to the world.

1:19 PM  

Anonymous Georgette said:

Laura, just like the books you pen, you are right on target with your comments about Michelle Obama's fashion and style. Maybe Mrs. O should become a character in one of your next novels...interesting thought, right? Based on how you've captured Mrs. O's sense of self through her fashion, I know of no better writer to capture her character in a novel! Kudos to you! Keep up the fantastic writing!
Georgette

6:30 PM  

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