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Mrs. O Sparkles at Governors' Dinner

Photo credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Tonight the Os will welcome the National Governors Association to the White House, hosting their first black tie dinner at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. As we mentioned earlier this week, Earth, Wind & Fire is slated to play, which will surely make for a fun evening. From the White House press release:

"The White House is the place where our bond as Americans is strengthened," said Desiree Rogers, White House Social Secretary.  "We look forward to welcoming the nation’s governors to celebrate our democratic ideals, our diversity, our shared values and the best of the American spirit." 

We're curious to see how Mrs. O will interpret black tie attire at the White House - a cocktail dress or a formal evening gown? (Of note, the reference to "black tie" came from Lynn Sweet's very reliable column for the Chicago Sun Times.)

Update: This afternoon Mrs. O spoke with a group of culinary students from L'Academie de Cuisine in the White House kitchen before the Governors' Dinner. The Huffington Post has a slideshow here. The dress is a cocktail length cobalt blue gem from Jason Wu's Spring 2009 collection (runway image here). As many have already observed in the comments, the dress is quite similar to the white Jason Wu dress that Mrs. O wore for an interview with Barbara Walters in November. We imagine the materials and construction - raw silk with hand embroidered rosettes - are the same. Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun Times also has the scoop on the menu, china and flowers for tonight's event, which can be read here.

Update: Mrs. O has changed dresses! The First Lady is wearing a sequin, strapless gown by Peter Soronen paired with a dramatic multi-strand necklace of pearls and crystals by Tom Binns. The dress is the "twilight gown" from Peter Soronen's Fall Winter 2008 collection. As is Soronen's signature, the top part of dress is a corset, with a long bias skirt, all in sequins. The color, we're told, is actually a deep purple / ink blue. With her hair pulled up, our First Lady Mrs. O is the epitome of style and glamour this evening. The Huffington Post's "The Other Red Carpet" slideshow is a must see.

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Reader Comments (267)

I predict she will surprise us---with formal attire very different from the gown she wore to the inaugural balls. I expect it to be a vibrant jewel color--which always looks so wonderful on her. I don't think she will wear her hair up.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I'm betting short. It's Sunday night, after all. I wonder if the girls and Mrs. R. will come downstairs for a little while.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 3:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

According the Judith Martin, black tie means informal, which is not the informal of today, I'm afraid. Today, informal means jeans and tee shirt. But there are clear rules with dress. Desiree Rogers should do her job.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterGloria5

I think that length is not the determining factor of formality. As we know, it's possible to be quite formal with a short gown and quite casual, even beachy, in a long dress.

I predict palazzo pants, sleeveless top, heels, a bit of sparkle, and color. Fun jewelry. She's gotta turn it on a bit for the governors and their spouses - they're coming to see her as much as anything else. But as someone else noted, it is Sunday.

I hope she doesn't wear her hair up; I don't think that look flatters her jawline. I do hope she wears her hair full and soft, with fringe.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered Commentert'other Mrs. O

I think it would be cool if Michelle would wear a tuxedo to one of these black tie events.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered Commenternyro

I predict she will wear her hair down, just because updos are so rare for her. It seems unlikely she will choose one twice in one week.

For the outfit, I am seeing a flowy silk dress, with cap sleeves and lace detailing, that hits just below the knee, in a fresh color like seafoam green or a pale yellow. And maybe with a dropped waist (like the 20's flapper dresses). For the jewelry, a trio of brooches pinning down the neckline slightly--and some blingy diamond earrings but no necklace or rings, to keep it simple.

And finally, her usual understated makeup--maybe just a smokey eye and some bronze lipgloss.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I predict she will not wear red or blue.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 4:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

My prediction is something "red carpet worthy" (nod to the Academy Awards)

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs.H.S.

Whatever she wears, I'm sure she will look fabulous. I hope we get to see photographs, or even video, from the event!

And Miss Manners, seriously? Does *anybody* pay attention to those old tropes anymore?

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterGroovymarlin

The Chicago Sun-Times reported today that tonight's dinner will kick off Michelle's FL agenda. A key component is "healthy living" -- which makes perfect sense for her, no?

Have you seen the photos of the blue sheath dress she wore in the WH kitchen today? Very nice, reminds me of a Pinto design. It's a modified polka-dot, and almost appears like they're raised from the fabric of the dress. Very interesting!

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

A short, silky jewel colored cocktail dress, no sleeves with great statement earrings. It is Sunday night, so I don't expect that she will go full-length.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterms v

i imagine something jewel toned, probably cocktail length, with her hair down. i read somewhere that the governors desire to dance inspired the entertainment choice, so i'm sure it'll be something she can move comfortably in; no doubt the president would love to take his wife for another spin on the dance floor. whatever she wears i'm sure she'll look fabulous and i can't wait to see it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered Commentermoja31

TONIGHT??! I'm sure she'd rather be curled up on a divan or an overstuffed sofa, with popcorn, watching the Oscars. LOL

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermiz_glammie

@chicagoan: i just saw those photos, that is indeed a great dress. the pattern reminds me so much of the black and white jason wu dress she wore during the barbara walters interview.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered Commentermoja31

Our beautiful FLOTUS today in the WH kitchen:

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterYOLA

She looks incredible going over the menu for CSPAN! I have to say, she's the first time we've actually had a sexy First Lady. Jackie was also very pretty and well dressed, but she lacked sex appeal. Michelle has plenty of it!

And of course, the dress is gorgeous. Fitted and in a bright color. Perfection!


Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterNyro

@moja31: I think you're right! That looks like the same print. It's very possible that this is also a Wu, then.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

Chicagoan, thanks for pointing me to that blue dress. WOW! I love the silhouette. It is VERY sexy. And the neckline is so interesting. I wonder if it's a Maria Pinto design.

And actually....why do we not think this will be her outfit for tonight?? I mean, it certainly is dressy enough for a black-tie event, and it makes sense she would have dressed early for greeting guests and etc. I really think that might be the dress.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

chicagoan and moja31
where are ya'll seeing the photos of Michelle in the WH kitchen?

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

Moja31, I just looked at this close-up of the blue dress: http://www.daylife.com/photo/06SQgJ4eEf3OB

and you are absolutely right about the resemblance to the other Jason Wu dress. In fact, I am pretty sure now that he's the designer.

What a gorgeous, gorgeous dress.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Leah D, I added a link just now that will probably show up soon from moderation but if you go to daylife dot com and do a search for Michelle Obama you will see them.

It is a lovely blue dress flecked with black rosettes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Mrs. O has great instinct and style herself and will be appropriately dressed

And yes, some of us do pay attention to Miss Manners. She is still great. She still has a great sense of humor, great sense of right and wrong. But I think, so does Mrs. O. That's why I hope Ms. Rogers is a traditional social secretary. If not, Mrs. O's reputation will suffer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterGloria5

Thanks Jenna.
And everyone - it was not Desiree that made the black tie comment, it was Mrs. T - so come on everyone - give her a break. Ms. Rogers comment ended with the close quotation mark.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

Wpw! I just went to www.daylife.com
and did a search for Michelle Obama. That blue sheath dress with black dots is really beautiful on her. This is my favorite kind of look for Michelle. And she looks happy---tonight will be a fun evening for her. I'm glad. I think in the midst of so much difficulty, there needs to be some lightness and joy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 5:58 PM | Unregistered Commentersusan

The blue dress is great. The texture or print looks really interesting. Sleeveless. It's a beauty, surely it is what she is wearing tonight?? Those photos in the kitchen are great - thanks for the tip. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterallison

Here is the full set of Michelle at the White House Kitchen: http://www.daylife.com/search/photos/all/1?q=michelle+obama

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Wow, the dress she was wearing today looked great! And it does have those textured pattern that is reminiscent of the black and white dress she wore on the Barbara Walters special. I'm going to sound gauche but the Daylife site describes the photos as being shot during a "dinner preview" -- what is that? Is she tasting the dishes prior to the evening's event?

I think it's neat that she met with culinary school students.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 6:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Wow, great dress! Sorry that some of the photos were stuck in moderation for a bit.

In terms of the event's "black tie" status - I picked that up from the Chicago Sun Times blog: http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/02/the_obamas_host_their_first_wh.html

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 6:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

A dinner preview is usally a tasting or at least an overview of what's on the menu. In the past, Mrs. O had said that she was leaving the menu planning to WH social secretary Desiree Rogers and the WH chefs.

And I agree with everyone else that the dress looks like a Jason Wu.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 6:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. C

I agree it looks like another Wu winner! It is similar to the dress she wore during the Barb. Walter's interview and he designed that one as well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterYola

The country is going down a dark hole with Obama and the Congress spending frenzy and the Obama's have a glizzy affair with Earth Wind & Fire playing.....so why is everyone so giddy about what is being worn or eaten when people are loosing their homes and jobs......get a life people and try helping someone in need instead of worshiping the Obama's. Sorry everyone but I am frankly getting worn out by the whole worshiping thing.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterCD

There was a little snippet on the nightly news about the dinner preview (thanks for filling me in! You can tell I don't run with a high-level crowd) So, is this the dress that she will be wearing to the dinner?

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

In response to CD....if you are so worn out by the admiration that people heap on the Obamas why the hell are you on this site? Please, please, please go back to Drudge Report and take your negativity with you. You are not welcome on this site!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterKennedy

I second your emotion Kennedy :-) CD may not be aware that many of us can multitask, we hero worship the Obamas and help our fellowmen. I am doing my part by donating money and food to the less fortunate, and I can only hope that instead of just spewing negativity CD is doing his/her part.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterYOLA

I'd prefer helping people in need AND worshipping the Obamas! ;-) You don't have to do one or the other, you know. I have room in my brain for pretty dresses and for charity. Thanks for the suggestion, though! I'm sure we'll all take it under advisement.

This "glitzy affair" is for the nation's governors, by the way. Not just a party for Obama buddies. So I'm sure you'd level the same complaint at our nation's governors, Republican and Democrat, who are in attendance instead of out doing charity...right?

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

@CD The country started down its "dark hole" with the previous administration. The Obamas are holding a dinner for governors -- all presidents do this kind of thing. As for helping someone in need, how exactly do you know that those who visit this site are not donating or volunteering? Indeed, many people would find Michelle Obama an inspiration to do just that. It is possible to be inspired by all elements of a person, from her style to her commitments to public service.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterNell

OMG I love this dress on Mrs. O , the colour, cut her hair, this makes me very excited lol

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDee

Can anyone guess what exactly that fantastic pink lipgloss is? Maybe similar to a MAC lipglass??

I'm not sure that waygu beef matches a "healthy living" theme....but it all sounds very good nonetheless. The huckleberry cobbler sounds delightful. I like that the menu is not overly fussy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterallison

i stand corrected! Michelle looks gorgeous in the blue dress.

@CD-I agree with Kennedy - go away. The Obamas are hosting a dinner that is given every year regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. If you would bother to watch CSPAN, you would know that the governors were briefed on the Stimulus package all day today. POTUS and FLOTUS are building relationships and trying to reach out to people who are in a position to help their states and the people living in them.

Back to the dress - it's perfect for dancing, it's glamourous, and perfect for a Sunday dinner party.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

Mrs. T, thank you SO much for linking to the runway version of this dress. I always love to see the contrast between a model wearing a dress, and how it looks on Mrs. O.

On the model, this dress is lovely, and a little bit sweet. Yet on Mrs. O, the dress is very sexy and grown-up. Just such a different feeling, evoked by the same dress.

This dress is actually handmade and you can see how much work it really takes. The detailing seen in some of the close-up shots is just amazing. Kudos to Jason Wu!

(CD-- Please ask any economist. That "spending frenzy" that Congress is on is precisely what we need to reverse the economic downturn. But I'll leave it at that since this is NOT a political site.

Also, if comments that compliment Mrs. O's dress is something you consider "worship" you may be at the wrong site.)

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I think it's not the dress for tonight. The pictures were posted eight hours ago and I don't believe she'd dress *that* early for the event. Added to which, Desiree Rogers is in a couple of the pictures, and she is not dressed for the event, which she will surely attend.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered Commentert'other Mrs. O

t'other Mrs. O, was it really 8 hours ago? I thought the dinner preview was at 4.

Well, I am pretty sure this is the dress, but I guess we'll see soon enough if she wears something different!

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I agree with the other Mrs. O -- I'd be surprised if this is the dress she's wearing to the dinner -- could be wrong though!

Mrs. O is really turning me back to dresses. I am far more likely to wear pants and a blouse or sweater to work (especially in this weather.) But maybe I need to pay more attention to dresses? They seem to look very pulled together.

Jenna, another site I follow -- Project Rungay (you can Google it) -- also shows pictures of starlets in dresses juxtaposed with how the looked on the runway. I love to compare and contrast. Maybe it's just my taste, but a lot of dresses seem enlivened when a person with curves is wearing them, rather than the painfully slender runway models. Maybe it's just that runway models seem to be told never to smile.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Mrs Obama looks lovely
i love the way the dress fits
she really has a pretty smile

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterdanadevin85

She looks amazing, one of my favorite looks. Is it blue or purple or somewhere in between? What a flattering dress!

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered Commenteredwina

Love the dress - the rosettes sparkle if I am not mistaken, correct ?
The rich jewel tone is lovely.
I am not digging the patent pumps - too daytime, me thinks.
The hair and make up is superb. Mrs O looks beautiful.
Subtle color and sheen. Wow.
Food looks glorious and those young chefs must be thrilled to be a part of this event.
In case anyone is wondering - I found this Emily Post link to correct black-tie sartorial choices. Can wait to see the President in his tux.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRJT

She's wearing her hair up, and it looks like she's in a one-shouldered, red gown. Stunning layering of pearl necklaces, smoky makeup. Can't wait to see the full dress!

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan
Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

I spoke too soon -- the red shoulder was actually a rose from the table's centerpiece!

It looks like it's strapless, and may even be black.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterChicagoan

Check out her toned arms! I need to hit the gym ASAP! She looks so beautiful.

Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDlev

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