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Marking Veterans Day

Image by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

In honor of Veterans Day, First Lady Mrs. O has joined the Bidens and President O for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Mrs. O is wearing a blue tweed overcoat from J.Crew, last seen in January 2009, belted at the waist for this occasion. We are intrigued by the dress underneath. Might it be the teal Maria Pinto dress worn for the DNC in August 2008?


Image via PRNewsFoto/THE HISTORY CHANNEL, Pete Souza

Also today, President O and First Lady Mrs. O posed with veterans taking part in the History Channel's "Take a Veteran to School Day." Sans coat, we can see that Mrs. O was in fact wearing her teal Maria Pinto frock from the 2008 DNC.

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Reader Comments (136)

I just saw the picture on Getty and it sure is a sobering sight. As I get ready to visit my Dad's graveside with a flag, it reminds me how much of a sacrifice that military men and women pay. Whatever side of the war argument you fall on seems so insignificant when we remember that people put thier lives on the line. I hope it isn't superficial and hollow to comment on our FLOTUS and SLOTUS fashions today, but they were both elegant. They do us proud!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit

I loved what Mrs. O. wore to Texas yesterday, but I wasn't crazy about the blue tweed coat today. For one thing, it's raining, and for another, this strikes me as spring like, not something to wear in November, and also not formal enough for Arlington. Would have loved to have seen her in a very stylish, plain colored raincoat, perhaps belted with a full skirt.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 12:40 PM | Registered CommenterHattie Carnegie


Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCMB

I do wish Mrs. O had not worn that belt. She looked amazing yesterday. So simple yet so elegant and appropriate for the occasion. I had asked Mrs. T on a previous blog if she was planning to post photos of her at the Ft. Hood ceremony because I was concerned it might seem inappropriate for the occasion, but I didn't get a response. However, I'm glad to see she refrained from doing so.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:00 PM | Registered Commentermarabout40

Why does she always find a way to "mash up" an outfit? Her face and hair look really nice as does the coat...and then the belt...this outfit could've done with out it.
PS - I do generally love Mrs. O's style.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAM

@CMB - Thank you for coming!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:17 PM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

Inappropriate color for such a solemn occassion, in my

I understand bright colors can represent hope (and we know Mrs O & President O know a little something about hope), but I just don't like it at this event. I find the boots to be a tad too casual too.

LOVE the coat though, the dress reminds me of the same dress she wore with the same coat back in January when she had lunch with the Mayor, his wife & Dr B.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMica

I like the pop of color from Mrs. O & the post commander's wife.

It's grey and rainy and Veteran's Day and a little color is much appreciated.

The flat patent leather boots are fabulous, too It's time for designers to get off their high heels, don't you think?

(those sky high heels, I mean...)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

@Hattie Carnegie: 100% agree with you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered Commenteranar

As this is a fashion blog I won’t talk about the importance of Veterans Day, needless to say my gratitude for people who serve can't be stated in words.

I will just comment on the outfit.

In short I think this outfit looks absolutely ridiculous. The belt is an atrocity and the coat wrong for the season and occasion. The boots are too heavy for the coat and over all this is a huge miss.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

I love the coat, and don't have a problem with it not being a raincoat. Colors don't seem as seasonal to me as they apparently do to other posters. I think the turquoise is a pretty choice on a grey, rainy day when people are feeling sad already. I was especially interested in the black tights and boots with a colorful dress, something I'm planning to do with dresses this fall (if it ever drops below 60 degrees in San Francsico). This does look like the Pinto dress - one of my favorites, which I would love to see again and again.

The belt: not loving it here (although I like this belt). This is a pretty coat which would have been better on its own - the black belt and boots look a bit matchy-matchy. But she does love her belts! I'm getting to the point where it just makes me smile when she does this kind of thing. Whatever works for her is fine by me. She is way more than the belt around her waist.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:45 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

OK, so yesterday she took my breath away, she looked so beautiful, but I don't like anything about her outfit today. Well, that is why I come here, we never know what this lady is going to do and that I can handle.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterjulie

Thank you Joyce. You've called it. A huge mess. Fashion-wise of course.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterpinky

Not loving the belt this time around with this outfit.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarcelle

As I wrote in the chat, I think the belt works, although I could've done without it. I am not so sure about the boots, though. I think they are perhaps a little too casual looking. I know it is raining hard today in the D.C. area, but i think she could've chosen a more delicate shoe. Having said all of that, I saw some pictures of them walking through the cemetery for Iraq and Afganistan fallen soldiers, which is in the grass, so perhaps she wore the boots because she knew she'd have to be walking through the wet grass in the rain. In that case, I get it.

I do think the dress underneath is the famous DNC speech dress.

I think she looked absolutely gorgeous yesterday in the black dress and pearls. Maybe she didn't want to be too mournful with black two days in a row, especially since Veteran's Day is also to celebrate and honor our living veterans as well as to mourn our lost and injured vets.

Her hair and make up haven't looked this perfect either, which is saying a lot considering her hair and make up are always looking great.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:11 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

First Lady Michelle, President Obama, and the Bidens,

Thank-you so much for your thoughtfulness today and with honoring our Veterans -- Michelle, your overcoat, outfit are perfectly fine for this occasion of honoring our Veterans, Michelle you look great. I have participated in many ceremonies myself, as a honor guard while serving in the best Army on the planet.

Your presence at the ceremony means so much to our Veterans, your outfit is perfectly fine, it brings sunshine to this memorable day!

Thank-you for honoring our nations Veterans today!

Best Wishes,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoseph A. Migliore

I always love what Mrs. O wears but today I am not getting the belt.
But people, expand this thing about colour being appropriate. You all need to lighten up. What or who has the right to dictate what colour to wear in which season. That is a pile. It is no wonder that I find people looking so sad and stressed when I walk the streets in America. There is too much stereotyping. Why should she have worn more delicate shoes? Wear what your mood AND setting dictates. Relax, breathe, be yourself (like FLOTUS), break the glass ceiling, think out of the box and SMILE! SMILE! SMILE!
Colour is a beautiful thing to be explored and experienced no matter what the season.Maybe if colour is used more, especially during winter when it can be so dreary, there might be happier people in the world or at least in temperate countries.Take a page out of the Caribbean. We are always happy. I wonder why. Maybe it's all the colour in our lives.
I love her!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:33 PM | Registered Commentertrinisamba

I like it!! I didn't know turqoise could only be worn during certain seasons.HUH!? Anywho, I love the coat and the dress underneath.

I can see how some might think the boots are too casual, but obviously she wore them for practical reasons and not as a fashion statement.

I think she looks beautiful in all that rain and I am proud to see her and the President honoring our veterans, those that are alive and those that have passed away.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Look closely. Does anyone see what I see? I see the military in her outfit. Check out the officer holding the umbrella for her. His coat. His belt. His boots. All fantastically mirrored in Mrs. O's outfit. She just jazzed it with color and femininity. She has an uncanny ability to express through clothes. And to those of us who get it, it is an absolute thrill!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

There is no redeeming quality to this outfit. When it's bad we have to have the gumption to say it is bad.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterNORA

Well, I'm not loving today's outfit. The colors of her coat and dress are really cute. And I like those patent boots for everyday wear in cold/rainy weather, but a different pair of "dressier" boots and no belt would have looked much better IMHO.

However, I am intrigued by this belt. It's so bold and I love the interesting cut out patterns. I also loved the other cut out belt she wore to the breast cancer event a few weeks ago and the girls mentoring event too. I'm sure Mrs.T is on the case to find out who the designer is.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 2:49 PM | Registered CommenterAri

i love the whole outfit.she is fierce. i also love the boots.there is no laws that dictate which colours one should wear on vetera's day.

Mrs.T, i think it is the one-shoulder dress she wears to lunch with jill biden and the Fentys in D.C just days after the inauguration.but this time with no cardigan underneath and the blue belt.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM | Registered Commenterchrystelle

I agree with Hattie. In addition, I find it mildly inappropriate to draw attention to herself at the graveside which her outfit does, both style and color; it's probably the picture but look at her expression? It's the opposite of the day before when she was appropriately mournful, and dressed perfectly. I find that she's very hit and miss. A perfect day, like yesterday, when I think she finally "got it" and then today -- a slide back. That belt has got to go. She's dressing like a child, not a woman.


I do not respect her any less, I remain a steadfast fan, but I get frustrated and embarrassed for her.

I wish I didn't care. I'm sure it says more about me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterms

Could her boots be Steve Madden? I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that I have the exact same pair sitting in my closet.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

To the people that seems to have a problem with color... what century are you living in? Did she go wearing a ball gown? She wore a light color. And on one hand you have a problem with talking about fashion but you're here talking about fashion. Make up your mind please. lol.

She looked fine as usual. I'm not a fan of belts but that's just me. And I dont get how dissing on her clothing has anything to do with gumption. Its personal opinion not like you're taking a bullet for anyone.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiane

@ ms

Frustrated and embarrassed for her? Yes, it does say a ton about you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:20 PM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

Ms. T, did you see this photo of Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Top-Stories-Photos/ss/705

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterTia23


Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterCMB

A friend of mine, a huge Michelle fan (as am I), told me a story about how she and a long-time friend have stopped talking over a disagreement concerning Michelle. It seemed impossible, but I find myself feeling the same way. I thought I could talk honestly but there's this fierce out of proportion desire to protect her -- what are you afraid of? Anyone with an ounce of empathy could have understood where I was coming from and what I meant. It's unfortunate because although you may not feel it, and may cheer it, I'm out; I've been a follower of this discussion since day one, and now, I'm out. What concerns me is that the behavior of the group, in this instance, is like the Republicans, the same knee jerk response. You shrink a movement to a club. For those who can hear the message, it's meant to hold a mirror, not criticize. Best of luck.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterms

Ok, I'll be real honest here about this outfit Mrs.Obama wore and say it does not fit her body frame and it looked as though she through it together in a mad rush. Folks, if this outfit was put to a grade it would get an F...sorry had to say it...I admire Mrs.Obama but to be honest many and I mean many of her clothing choices can be down right dreadful.
She is such an attractive tall woman with the resources to find nice fitting clothing to fit her body. Yet, she picks out these awful belts, jacket and wide skirts to wear to important White House functions. People are afraid to give Mrs.Obama good open criticism for some of her choices in fear of being called negative, Jealous, racist etc...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTia23

ms, I can understand how you feel in terms of caring so much. I think many of us are emotionally invested in the president and first lady, and we want everything they do and say to be perfect and not giving the slightest opening for pot shots from their opposition. But that is too high a standard to hold them to, and sometimes they'll be on point, and others they'll be a little off - like all humans can be. I have mixed feelings about this outfit as well, I don't like the boots, I like the color, and the more I look at pictures, I could do without the belt. On the whole, I think she looks fine, though.

In terms of her expression in this one picture that Mrs. T posted - check out the laugh on the Brigadierre's wife in this picture, as well as the smiles on the normally poker faced military guys behind them: http://www.daylife.com/photo/0bVc3jN7owduq?q=michelle+obama

I don't think it's fair to judge her demeanor from today, looking at just one picture. All of the other pictures show her being quite melancholy and thoughtful. This has been, no doubt, a difficult few days for her and the president, in terms of public events during an emotionally difficult time for the country. The media and others are looking at every thing they do and say, looking for the slightest misstep or human error to pounce on and ridicule. That's an enormous amount of pressure and I think they've handled this difficult time masterfully.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:41 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

Love the look...you go Michelle! God Bless the troops, America and the first family!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarika

Michelle's beautiful blue colors make me smile! So nice against the gray of the day.
It hurt to hear that someone was "embarrassed for Michelle". Those are stinging words.
Her boots are practical and safe for walking today on wet grass. You're doing fine,
Michelle, and you never signed up to be a supermodel anyway.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered Commentermsjones

I have been trying to steer away from directly commenting to people about their comments, but I can't do it this time.

I am trying to figure out a PC way of saying what I want, but I just can't find the words. That truly was an idiotic statement. She can't smile at a ceremony to honor veterans. Really? I don't know about you, but I find comfort in a smiling face, especially in trying times or during times of grief. It reassures me that times may be sad right now, but they will get better and it also lets you know that that person is there for you. For you to be embarrassed by a smiling and loving face truly does say alot about you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:47 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Too bad about the stupid looking belt again! It sure does look like the DNC dress to me...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterEllen

so much for my dropping out . . . it was nice to read those posts. What's ironic is that we all have the same wishes for her success, it's why we (or I) care so much. That said, I hope we can each say what we think is true without anyone resorting to name calling. We are on the same side and should be able to respect each other's opinions.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterms

@ Tia23 - that's a lovely picture of Mrs. O and Dr. B.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:49 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

needed to wear a patent belt to go with the shoes and would have benn better on the dress and not on the coat. otherwise, the color is very nice, and her hair and makeup, quite lovely.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterVineyarder

Thinking this over I wonder if people being "Overprotective" of the Obama's in general does them a huge disservice. Look, the Obama family is just like every other First Family past with the one exception of them being Black. If Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush or even Sarah Palin wore some of the bad outfits Mrs. Obama has worn they would have been pounded on by the press. I remember poor Mrs. Clinton daily being lampooned by the media for her hair, clothing and looks during all eight years of Bill presidency. Yet, many fans of Mrs. Obama want others to give her a pass for what reason?!!
Also, have any of the regular posters notice a drop in people looking up Mrs. Obama are talking about her fashion?!!! Could it be they were ran off for voicing the "Obvious about certain Mrs. Obama clothing being ill fitted for her body".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterTia23

@ ms
I think your reading waaaay too much into Mrs.Obama's clothing and body language. And about her smiling being inappropriate, If you look at other photo's of the memorial you will see that there is a photo where the woman standing next to her in the red shoes and the two military men holding the umbrellas behind them have huge smiles on their faces, and it looked like she was talking to or having some kind of witty banter with Mrs.O. There is also another photo where V.P. Biden and Dr. Biden are grinning. Please just relax, ok?

The Huffington Post has a slide show here with some of the photo's I discussed above and I also noticed that the dress from her lunch with the Fenty's in January is not the same dress she is wearing here. This is most likely the DNC dress indeed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:02 PM | Registered CommenterAri

Even tho the color is more for spring, it would have been fine without that atrocious black belt that doesn't even match her boots. Two thumbs way down.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:03 PM | Registered CommenterClaire

ms, glad you decided not to "drop out" LOL. It's not that deep. While you saying that you were "embarrassed" for her stung as msjones put it, I did feel like overall you are a Mrs. O fan who just felt disappointed that you weren't loving this outfit. When I saw the outfit before it was posted on the blog, I knew it would elicit a good amount of criticism. She definitely didn't play it safe with the color, the belt, and the boots. Would I have worn the outfit, probably not, but taken as a whole I think she looks fine and isn't even near some of her more curious outfits that have caused major criticism.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:04 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

@Tia23, I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:15 PM | Registered CommenterClaire

A true first lady for the 21st century! You go my sensible, delightful, real first lady. We thank you and President Obama for your consistently exemplary behavior since taking on the awesome responsibility of the presidency of this very complicated republic. God bless you both!!!

Thank you Joseph A. for your service and your spectacular insight.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:15 PM | Registered CommenterCamille

I don't think you should drop out either. The responses are just the name of the game. When you put your response out there, you have to know that there are going to be people who like what you say and those that don't. You were honest with us and I was honest with you. I should have pondered longer and formulated a better description than idiotic and just to clarify I was calling your statement idiotic, not you. I don't know you well enough to make that statement. So hang in there, it could be worse.
And I want to show you this pic so that you know that Mrs. O didn't take this ceremony lightly.


When I first saw the pics I knew there would be an uproar about the belt, but I didn't expect anything about the color.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:26 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Mrs. O pulls off a hodge podge of different textures with her fresh looking makeup.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterjulieda14

Can all of you not see the military precision of her outfit...please think out of the box a little. It's obvious this woman's fashion sense is on another level, eclectic even.

From an European...and yes we do know our fashion...she looks not only appropriate, but also fabulous.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterHali

Actually, ms this is the entire link.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 4:43 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

i loved this coat the last time that she wore it, and the pop of color is a nice idea (teal/blue is especially nice on her), but this outfit totally confuses me.
as long as the great belt debate has raged on this blog, i've never been particularly anti-belt but this is getting absurd; there is simply no reasonable explanation for wearing a belt like that one over your coat (under the coat, it would have been cute). and then there are the boots; she's worn them before and they've been fabulous, but biker boots with that coat, on this occasion?!? no way, absolutely ridiculous; far too casual & actually bordering on disrespectful of the occasion. i love all the pieces individually, just not at all together.

her hair and makeup looked wonderful as always, but from the neck down it was a disaster. i wish she'd worn that beautiful coat with a simple solid sheath and some stylish pumps or heeled boots, she'd have looked perfect.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 5:03 PM | Registered Commentermoja31

I appreciate everyone's color comments, but I keep coming back to this thought: it's November, meaning a fall palate, and it's Arlington, and a formal ceremony. To me, that means something a little richer in color, and perhaps a little more monochromatic, in keeping with the surroundings.

One of the nice things about changing seasons is that we can change our wardrobes, as well. This is the time to wear pumpkin and olive and deep plums and reds and gray and navy, and soon velvets and wonderful holiday fabrics. Save lighter colors for when the days are longer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 5:03 PM | Registered CommenterHattie Carnegie

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