Mrs-O.com is a blog dedicated to chronicling the fashion and style of First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded September 2008. 


« Mystery Coat Revealed | Main | In Uplifting (J. Crew) Fashion »

A Beacon of Style and Optimism

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mrs. O, our First Lady. You are truly remarkable in every sense. Through that sea of black wool, you shined bright - in a yellow lemongrass suit that made you a beacon of both style and optimism. With more time to take this in, we are loving the subtleties of Mrs. O's ensemble. Her grass green J. Crew leather gloves and coordinating Jimmy Choo "Glacier" pumps offer something unexpected, her signature "twist"; while Mrs. O's diamond pin (or is it a necklace?) brings light to her face. 

For those wondering about Sasha and Malia's coats, the AP reports: "Their daughters were style icons in their own right, with 10-year-old Malia in a double-breasted periwinkle-blue coat with a blue-ribbon bow at the waist, and Sasha, 7, in a pink coat with orange scarf and satin belt, a coral-colored dress peeking out at the hem. Their coats were from Crewcuts by J. Crew." In a new report from WWD, Ruben Toledo (Isabel's husband and an accomplished illustrator) elaborates on the design team's excitement this morning:

"We're levitating - we really are," Ruben Toledo said minutes after watching Michelle Obama on CNN in an ensemble by his wife Isabel. The husband-wife team tuned in surrounded by their staff in their Broadway showroom. The soon-to-be First Lady did not tip her hand in any way. "We had no idea. We hoped she would wear something because she has bought Isabel's clothes before. We never know what's going to happen," he said.

Post from earlier this morning follows: Inauguration Day begins

Image via bobster1985 / Creative Commons

The AP reports that Mrs. O is wearing Isabel Toledo, the Cuban-American designer who famously dressed Mrs. O for the Vogue / Calvin Klein fundraiser in June 2008. In an October interview with the New York Daily News, Toledo revealed that she had designed several more ensembles for Mrs. O. We find it interesting that both last night and this morning Mrs. O has chosen yellow, a color which until now we haven't frequently seen in Mrs. O's wardrobe (save for her appearance in head to toe J.Crew on The Tonight Show).

In December 2008 Pantone named Mimosa the color of 2009, a color that "embodies hopefulness and reassurance in a climate of change". Is Mrs. O's favor for the color, perhaps, her way of projecting optimism? Cathy Horyn to the rescue. In a New York Times blog post, the journalist reports that not until this morning did designer Isabel Toledo know Mrs. O would wear the lemongrass-yellow coat and matching dress. "We're all up here watching the T.V.," the designer said in a photo interview from her New York studio. "It's great. We're so happy." Horyn writes that the coat and dress are made of Swiss wool lace, backed with netting for warmth and lined in French silk. "I wanted to pick a very optimistic color, that had sunshine," Toledo said. "I wanted her to feel charmed, and in that way would charm everybody."

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (96)

Well, I hope Michelle is wearing some silk longjohns underneath that outfit. It's about 25 degrees right now in DC and although that outfit is stunning, it does not look warm enough to handle 25 + a wind chill factor.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterToby Wollin

CarlineG, I agree you about the skirt lengths. She still looks gorgeous and the coat should be nipped in at the waist. I think that unforunately she may be a little influenced by the matrons of the past and is playing things a little safe gor ceremonial puposes. As she geets more comfortable in her role, I think we will see the hemlines go up a bit:)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 10:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterTess

I'm dying inside as she steps out of her PRESIDENTIAL limo! This ensemble has such a retro feel to it- I friggin love it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterMizzBella

I am in LOVE with this design by Isabel Toledo. And I already heard Meredith Riviera and Peggy Noonan on the Today Show talking about how gorgeous it was. I just caught another glimpse, there was video on MSNBC of Michelle and Barack meeting up with the Bushes for coffee.

The fabric is not heavy, it flows really well and not too stiffly and is not bulky (I hope it's warm though!). The shimmer is so understated, but it lives up to the occasion. And the shift dress underneath is well-fitted. But the best part for me is the color. I had imagined she would wear blue because she seems to really favor that color. This buttery yellow is not what I imagined and for her skin tone, it is so, so beaitiful.

The shift is exactly knee-length, with the cape a little bit longer. When you're wearing an outfit for the outside, as Michelle has been, a shorter skirt would not look right at all.

Anyway, I love it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Well, we all know Michelle loves to show off her legs. I remember her interview with 60 Minutes, I almost wasn't paying attention to what they were saying because of her hot legs!

But geez...it's winter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterElena

OMG...Everyone here dress is not yellow..it's GREEN!!!!!!!!! like a lime!! It is gorgeous..that's why her accessories are an avocado!!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTess

I just saw Michelle again! She was entering the Capitol (I think!), and was wearing a scarf of a slightly greener shade of yellow. She looks totally jazzed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I just saw the Obama girls!! They look so lovely. Malia, the elder daughter was wearing a cobalt blue coat, Sasha was wearing pink and orange.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Shoes, please?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterkaren

Bush was just booed...I am actually feeling quite bad for him, despite not being a fan. I wish the crowd would stop.

Anyway...Karen, Michelle was wearing dark green pumps.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

If you look at the long shots of the scene you can easily understand the color and fabric choice. It is a photo for the ages with a mass of people and a glorious North Star that is unmistakably Michelle.

I'm blown away.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterRuth "Mrs. A"

Mrs. A, I was just thinking that... that honey color stands out beautifully in the crowd. And again, a great pairing of colors with the green shoes/gloves.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

The skirt length is absolutely appropriate and all things considered this ensemble is just awesome. The cut of all the pieces speak of class and dignity but the color says I am youthful, approachable, open and optimistic (and definitely not stuffy or frumpy). What is not to love about that?

Full shot with shoes here:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered Commenterlorrwill

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. The woman, the dress, the family, the day, the man, and the dream. All just beautiful.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterOxfarm

such a brave choice, and yet i think it is quite appropriate. she stands out, as she should. she didn't do the blue or red thing, which is wonderful. she picked a piece with lace - a wonderful ladylike trend - showing her taste and savvy. and just a little bit of bling? wonderful! what a woman. i can't wait for more! (and the girls!!! adorable!!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commentercassandra

The rejuvination of lace is very refreshing. We've gotten used to seeing lace--particularly Chantilly lace--as very "mother of the bride" or even "grandmother of the bride." In the past, it's been an established, fusty choice. Mrs. O has taken lace in a new direction here. Her outfit's lace is modern and even a bit mod, with the pattern recalling some of the pop/flower fun of the 1960s. Very refreshing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. C

This ensemble sure puts the last few first ladies to shame, LOL.
The details are fabulous!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered Commentertinat

Great choice...unexpected...stands out from the crowd...the gloves and shoes were great.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. H.S.

Beautiful, the color, the fabric, style. Absolutely beautiful, chic & modern. I will like her to wear her skirts and dresses above the knee.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commenteralethia

I thought Mrs O looked absolutely beautiful! At first, when they were going to the church I thought that the outfit was beaded but then during the Inauguration I saw that it was made of lace. Just stunning!! I love her look and am excited to see what she wears tonight!

For anyone that is interested, this website often has great sample sales on designers that Michelle Obama likes (Thakoon, Peter Soronen, Oscar de la Renta). No Isabel Toledo yet, but fingers crossed!

This is the link-

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterLauren

At my first glimpse of the new First Lady in this outfit - unusually for me on such occasions - I got a little teary eyed.

I can't offer any comments right now on apppropriateness of skirt length, how flattering or otherwise the outfit silhouette may or may not have been, how warm or not she may have been, because all my thoughts are centred around how Michelle just shone; she looked golden, feminine, radiant and beautiful. A true and welcome burst of colour and light on a cold January Winter's day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDeb

I would just like to share my immediate response to Mrs. O's outfit, which I adore by the way. As I was reminded by her ensemble Sunday--this one today brings to mind Doris Day in those gorgeous dress/coat wardrobes, and Grace Kelly.
But the first thing I thought of was my Barbie, in her Evening Splendor. Did anyone else go there? This made it even more wonderful.

wait a second...it's the luncheon. Is she wearing the JCrew sweater over the dress??? wha???

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKitty

Look at lovely little Sasha giving her daddy a thumbs up! She is wearing pink and orange and looking like a piece of cotton candy. I just want to eat her up! http://www.daylife.com/photo/0bYc6jZ0uEaf9/sasha_obama

And here you can see Malia who looks so grown up and and beautiful: http://www.daylife.com/photo/08fO9r32WM7Df/malia

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I just saw Michelle. I don't know if it's Jcrew but she's wearing a cardigan in a slightly darker shade of yellow, and she has one of her signature brooches. She looks adorable and very, very happy for her husband.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Kitty.. I know I see the sweater too....I am REALLY hoping that is not the case... I was hoping she would show her arms!!!! jill Biden is and she looks adorable!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTritesse

the green shoes are the Glacier pump by Jimmy Choo
they just about have the exclusive on her footwear this week

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered Commenteranon

I don't understand at all why it would be a problem if the cardigan/sweater over the dress is Jcrew....

As long as it co-ordinates with that gorgeous dress and keeps the equally gorgeous wearer warm, there's no complaints from this quarter!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDeb

oh no...i love the jcrew sweater if it is! i love that she put on a sweater to get about the business of the day.

did you notice the girls had ribbon sashes around their beautiful coats to match michelle's? i thought i saw a sash inside her coat. we need a pic of the entire ensemble.

btw, that is NOT my barbie listing on ebay. just the only pic i could find of divine evening ensemble barbie.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterKitty

I'm not too crazy about the outfit. She could have done so much more. It's shapeless and makes her look bigger than she is when she actually has a nice athletic hourglass figure. Her outfit at the opening concert was much better than this. Absolutely gorgeous. As was her outfit for the train ride. But this outfit is just too shapeless to me. Maybe if it were fitted it would be more appealing.
I have to say, if this morning's outfit is a sign of things to come, I'm afraid to see her evening gown. Will she actually show up in a shapeless brown paper bag?

I usually love everything she wears and she has a great figure, but her choices as of late aren't flattering.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterKelley

This beautiful ensemble on Mrs. O drew attention to her. Just couldn't take my eyes off of her. Beautiful. That color didn't wash her complexion out as some yellows have done to her, it enhanced the color and sheen of her skin. She did not let me down, matter of fact she took my breathe away! My whole family is talking about that outfit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterdavesoko1

Kelley, let me end the anticipation for you. No, Michelle isn't going to show up in a shapeless brown bag.

Sheesh. You're free to your opinion of the Toledo dress of course, but no need to get hysterical.

Anyway, taking a quick office poll, it's so far 1 (male) who did not like the Toledo outfit and 5 (female) 3(male) who thought Michelle looked amazing. And you can count me for the 'yeas' cause I thought she looked divine though I haven't seen her with the cardigan yet.

Anyways...what a historic day!! And what a great, brave country we live in! And how lucky we are to be witnesses to such a moment.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterElena

A great day ! Obama President and Michelle the jewel of America. Thank you for the world ! db

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterdbmetaldesiGner France

I absolutely love First Lady Obama. She has such style and grace. Her inauguration enemble was just breathtaking. She looks stunning in those colors as they compliment her gorgeous complexion. I must admit, she has one incredible figure and legs to freakin' die for. Much love and respect for Lady "O". Many blessing to President Obama and the Obama fam.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Thank you very much, Elena, you covered all the bases with your response. (Shapeless, brown paper bag, indeed. As if!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDeb

That sweater is definitely not the J. Crew one- it's got more texture almost like mohair. The color is paler too. I don't blame her for wanting to stay warm, but I'd love to see the dress without the sweater!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohanna

First post didn't take!

Johanna, I was just saying I agree with you. This cardigan has longer sleeves and a looser fit than the JCrew one from last night. The JCrew one is more mustard-colored, too... this is more pale and matches her dress.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterKristie

Mrs. T: Your title here perfectly sums up the effect. In the "sea" of black attire, with some (predictable) dashes of red, Mrs. O was a stand out in her lemongrass yellow ensemble. The photo you selected is beautiful - captures many of the details and nuances that made this a gorgeously appropriate outfit for the ceremony. Typical Mrs. O style and flair!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Sorry ladies - I see nothing stylish in Michelle's wardrobe. That red and black dress from the convention night was HORRIBLE!!! And I know I am not the only one who thought so. Again, nothing against her personally but her looks are not all that great either- she has a funny shaped mouth and just isn't what you would call a beauty. the yellow outfit today wasn't bad.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbZ

Michelle Obama looks sensational!! Elegant, stylish and sophisticated. And Malia and Sasha are just downright adorable and cute as buttons with those outfits. I must say that Malia is going to be a STUNNER as she grows older.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterVikingBabe

I thought Jill looked radiant. Michelle's clothes are nice, but the jacket makes her figure look bigger than it is. Also, I was really surprised (and honestly a bit disappointed) she and the girls didn't match like usual...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterKristan

I think being the very FIRST black first lady, Michele, is carefully feeling her way around a white world of the highest order, hence the tendency toward the conservative(sweaters, etc.) . And as we can see on this web site, everyone has an opinion and we're all not going to be happy! So far I think she's been doing a pretty good job. She'll eventually get more confident and find a style most of us can live with. Or not!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterKT

I thought Mrs O looked absolutely beautiful! At first, when they were going to the church I thought that the outfit was beaded but then during the Inauguration I saw that it was made of lace. Just stunning!! I love her look and am excited to see what she wears tonight!

For anyone that is interested, this website often has great sample sales on designers that Michelle Obama likes (Thakoon, Peter Soronen, Oscar de la Renta). No Isabel Toledo yet, but fingers crossed!

This is the link-

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Kat, I think you mean Barbz, not Monica.

As for Barbz: Ugh. I think you have funny-shaped eyes. I wish you good luck with that.

Anyway, as for Michelle matching with the girls, someone else made a comment (I think it was on this blog) about something that I just noticed. She has a green ribbon on her dress, and her two girls both had ribbobs as well, which is a sweet way for them to match. Malia's is blue and Sasha's is orange. You can see them here:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoreen

Ok, Michelle overall looks beautiful and happy. But I must admit and be be objective, the outfit was ill-fitting and its not her best look. I was hoping to see Pinto today. She seems to know how to construct clothes perfectly for Michelle. The girls, however, are just adorable.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermickelo

Michelle looked so elegant as she walked along the parade route. It didn't look like her coat could be buttoned up, which is too bad because I'm sure she was freezing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMs.W

I've been thinking about the ball gown, too. With Rodiguez yesterday, J Crew last night and Toledo today, I'm guessing the ball gown HAS to be Pinto. Michelle wouldn't shut her out completely, would she?

And I think the fit of this dress was chosen *expressly* to be somewhat loose on her, just as I think the cardigan was. She's trying to be somewhat conservative, probably to appeal to a wider base. That makes me think tonight's gown will be a little more figure-hugging, but not too over-the-top on beading, etc. She's wearing the sparkle now... tonight will be all elegant glamour.

I could be wrong, of course.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterWatching & Waiting

I thought the fit of the Toledo suit was quite flattering to Michelle, and appropriate for a momentous occasion like this one. And she just shined so beautifully among all those black coats. The only thing I didn't like was the dark green shoes and gloves. I can't even say that there is an alternative that I would recommend--that shade of yellow is tough to accessorize, but for the shoes I think simple black pumps would have been better.

But this is all nitpicking! Gosh, the woman looked amazing! I can't imagine that anyone would say otherwise. And today has just been awesome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Lemongrass is a shade of green, emphasis on the "grass' part. The cardigan, the scarf, the ribbon, the shoes, the brooch...cmon, upon what are we to focus?

"Stop at the door and take one thing off," preferably the ribbon, that has flown horizontally all day.

It is a fabulous looking and functional base ensemble. The shoes a great color..OR the gloves (a bit Grinchy-Kermit for me) but the two together are just too much.

A stylist would help avoid some of these minimal but resounding "mis-decisions."

i die for a Pena evening!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterRickyDee

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>