I've been thinking a lot about Michelle Obama and this blog in recent weeks. There is a wonderful retrospective on Mrs. Obama's fashion influence written by Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times. It captures the cultural relevance and central themes of Mrs. Obama's style discussed and debated here over the years – sartorial diplomacy, championing the artisan designer, the high and low democratic mix, clothes that married strength and femininity, clothes that broke norms and created new ones.
From the very beginning, I was intrigued by the tension of these qualities – that in the seemingly superficial, there could be hidden meaning and depth. When we weren't swooning over the first lady's ensembles, decoding them all was a thrill.
In this divided world of ours, admiration for Mrs. Obama's style became a great unifier, evidenced – in part – by the vast, diverse audience of this blog at its peak. There was something about Mrs. Obama, the clothes she wore and the context of the times that fascinated us all, that captured our attention and held it. That intrigue and its wide-reaching pull can't be fully explained by the factors above.
This November, President Obama told Vogue, "People see themselves in her. A dedicated mom, a good friend, and someone who's not afraid to poke a little fun at herself from time to time." I think women see who they want to be in Mrs. Obama. Her clothes are those of a confident, smart, vibrant, active woman who manages the fine balance of taking care of herself and others – and that has enduring, universal appeal.
In her final speech as first lady, Mrs. Obama told the audience and the American public, "I hope I've made you proud." More than she’ll ever know.
To the readers, thank you again for your participation and dialogue over the years. What fun we had!
To the first lady, a million thank-yous for being exactly who you are.
With peace and love, Mrs. T.
What Michelle Obama Wore and Why It Mattered [New York Times]
Michelle Obama didn't like to discuss her clothes, but they spoke volumes [Washington Post]
A Michelle Obama Blogger Looks Back at 8 Years of FLOTUS Style [Racked]
Archived posts by designer [Mrs O Blog]