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Behind the Scenes: Congressional Spouse Luncheon

Last week, First Lady Mrs. O hosted a special luncheon at the White House for the spouses of members of Congress. In attendance was Mrs. Childers of Mississippi, wife of Congressman Travis Childers, pictured with Mrs. O above.

For the event Mrs. O wore a long black skirt, metallic shell, Moschino pearl cluster brooch and what appears to be a coordinating jacket -- trimmed with a ruffle of tulle and clusters of similar gold pearls. With her hair swept up, Mrs. O looks every bit the part of chic hostess. We love! Check out more photos from the event here.

Update: We have confirmed Mrs. O's jacket is indeed Moschino! The crepe jacket, trimmed with pearls, is from Moschino's Spring Summer 2009 collection, sold at Ikram in Chicago.

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Reader Comments (78)

What a great look. Very chic. Perfect. She looks fabulous. I love it. I love the pearl trim on the jacket that matches the brooch perfectly. So classy.

I'm just now listening to the nomination of, and the remarks of our new Supreme Court nominee, a woman, and a minority woman, the wonderful Sonia Sotomayor, a woman of the people, and a great judge. What a great day for all women, and for our country.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

Will someone please pinch me, but don't wake me up from this dream. I cannot express the words of how proud our FLOTUS makes me feel. She makes it looks so easy. The best person for the job was chosen regardless of the gender and ethinicity. We have a President who keeps raising the bar in his choses whether it is to move this country forward in words, deeds and actions. We are surely blessed as a country and a people for such a time as this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterLDS

I think the outfit look nice on Mrs. Obama. I also just listen to President Obama give his recommendation for Supreme Court Justice nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. I think she will bring a mix of knowledge, wisdom and personal experience to a "stuffed" shirt bench of the Supreme Court. Pardon the pun but a definite "salsa" flavor to the court! I hope her appointment will inspire women and girls to follow their dreams and visions. Great day for women!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBea

Also, has there ever been a lucheon like this before? Why wasn't aware or more important why did I not care? Well, I guess I know the answer to those questions. It's so sad that I and so many people have felt left out in a country that has so much to offer and people who have so much to give back. Thank you, God for this family. My prayers are always with them and their staff and their families.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterLDS

I was coming to the site to day a little sad because there are no events listed for MrsO on politico.com, and then MrsT gives us this gem! Thank you for finding it!

This is a great example of MrsO wearing a 'suit', but it is not the typical first lady suit. I like it and the soft blue/grey shell underneath is a beautiful color.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrook

LDS - These Congressional spouse luncheons hosted by the first lady has been going on for decades. The difference now is the fact that we have a first lady who is generating so much attention (first time since Mrs. Kennedy) that the most mundane events are covered now....thank God!

Mrs. Obama looks very nice. In my opinion this is a look that she does not wear that often...very Junior League, but I like the costume.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterKennedy G

Thank goodness everybody's got a photo/weblog of some sort these days!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

Could she look any more classy and glamorous? Love it! :)


Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterCafe Fashionista

She looks beautiful!! She'd look great w/ a short cut!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterMs C

I really like this ensemble! Mrs. O is so touchy-feely, it's cute.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Mrs. O looks just beautiful!! She looks wonderful in so many different colors and styles. I was a kid when Jackie Kennedy was First Lady, and I remember how thrilled we were to have such a vibrant and stylish First Lady! Now, here I am a grandmother, and had to wait this long for another vibrant and stylish First Lady!! Mrs. O has definitely been worth the wait. AND, I am thrilled with the President's pick for the Supreme Court. A wonderful day for women!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterCissy

I also love the beautiful grey camisole.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

LOVE that jacket! I agree, Ms. C., Mrs. O. would look great with a shorter cut!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 3:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

I love this look!
Oh wow guys I'm excited about this broadcast.

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 2 & 3 at 9 – 10 PM ET, Williams to take viewers Behind-the-Scenes for an Insider's Look at a Day in the Life in the Obama White House.

Two days of hour long Obama. Yippee.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoane

To Christen,
What channel? "Williams"who? Tell me, tell me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

First - love, love LOVE this look by Mrs. O. Very classic, yet still has that sexy something that Mrs. O has.

Second - OMG Joane, I am beyond excited about that exclusive on NBC. I hope Mrs. O does one of her "drop ins" with Bo during the broadcast. That would be cute!

And hooray for a deserving and inspired choice with Judge Sotomayor. She's worked for this position, and no matter what spin the media and the other side try to sell - she's got the intellect and the temperament to be a superior Justice. You can line up her accomplishments next to John Roberts, and she holds her own just fine.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

I love this site! Two questions:
1. News reports indicated that Mrs. O would accompany her husband to Memorial Day ceremonies yesterday. Are there any photographs of her?
2. I haven't noticed her wearing any Maria Pinto designs since her pre-Inauguration visit, when she wore that beautiful coral dress with the sunburst neckline. Why do you suppose this is, since she wore her often during the campaign.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Mrs. Obama has been on a roll lately (with one exception), but then she pulls out this ensemble. Thumbs down on this look! So matronly - is she 45 or 75? Blah.

Mrs. Obama should've left this ensemble WAY, WAY back in her closet. Better yet, not have it in her closet in the first place.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMara

I love this outfit, and I think it's perfect for the occasion. This is a GREAT example of how to do a suit without looking corporate or like the "stock" first lady. I'd love to see more daytime outfits along this line.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterMs. G

I've been lookin for the Times Mag everywhere..Walmart, grocery stores, etc. but I havent seen it..anybody know where I can purchase it?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBritt

@ Barbara -- more info:


Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Also - great info, Mrs. T. I figured it had to be Moschino, what are the chances you could get a jacket to match the pin THAT perfectly.

I love that brooch. I like to imagine there's a hidden camera in it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Brian Williams on NBC. Should be interesting, we get to see the life inside the whitehouse.
Iva-I'm sure Michelle will appear :), maybe a Bo appearance as well. So much fun!!

Britt- I bought my Time copy at Duane Reade in NYC, it should be available everywhere. Make sure your search the magazine stacks good because the Time magazine is thin and could be hidden behind other magazines.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 6:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoane

I disagree that this ensemble makes MO "matronly". It's a classic look with a little flair with the tulle trim.

Although I am usually not one to get into the "what's appropriate" discussion, I think Mrs. O played it safe with a bit of edge for a luncheon that had as its guests wives who represent a wide spectrum of styles and political affiliations. The look is feminine but unthreatening, to my eye.

And I also love the play of the pin with the sweater trim.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 6:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

Sometimes I feel that the most important function of Mrs. O's popularity is to take focus away from the President so he can get on with the business of governing without too much heat. Today's announcement re Sonia Sotomayor is such wonderful news for women, for Hispanics, for the South Bronx -- what a great message for that community!

re Mrs. O's look today. . . even though I feel it's trivial compared to other news, I'm still interested, so there you go. . . there's something about her makeup that looks off (tho it could just be Mrs. Childress's camera). I'm also not a fan of the upswept hair, which I associate with her bad-hair days (could be the holiday trip to Camp David), and which I have begun to suspect might be a wig. And the jacket reminds me of the cardigans patterned with studs popular in the 50s (and that I used to wear!). Altogether am not feeling this outfit which seems too matronly to me -- and I am old enough to be Mrs. O's mother!

It's appropriate for a ladies' luncheon, but to me it looks too "ladies who lunch."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlsace

Good lord! When she bares her arms it's inappropriate or too provocative, and when she wears an actual suit it's too matronly. I know everyone's entitled to their opinion but it's so funny to hear how it seems she can never win. I'm just so glad she dresses for herself and doesn't try to please the aesthetic taste of 250 million American's which would just be absurdly impossible.

Any ways, I really love the suit jacket. When she wore the lime/yellow dress to the Cinco de Mayo event with the President and Mrs. T directed us to the Moschino site, I saw the dress version of this jacket and thought she would look so beautiful in it. The silver bead and tulle (i think) detailing at the neckline was so pretty. I see she thought so too.

That NBC special sounds like it's going to be a real treat. I hope Mrs. O makes an appearance, but even if she doesn't it will be fascinating to see how our new President and his team operate in the White House.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

Does no one else see the ill matched make up foundation for Mrs. O today, or is it just my screen? Not just only in this photo, but in all the badly done Flicker photo album Mrs. T posted? It's the dreaded foundation mask, when people (especially those with darker skin tones) put on a lot of ill matched foundation and you get that obvious line of where your foundation ends and your skin begins. (I admit I'm guilty as charged too with doing so too.) It's very very rare to see that. The outfit too is a bit..old. Well, older than what she usually does. I like a lot of Mrs. Os looks, but this one, definite X.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMystie

Honestly, I think it's the camera. I wouldn't sweat it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Ari, I'm with you. I'm about to bite my tongue in half, so that is very much a sign for me to withdraw. But I just want to say, someone was nice enough to share the Flickr album with Mrs. T, probably the lady who took the pictures and is in some of them. So do we have to call it badly done? She's not a professional photographer, she just seems to have been someone happy to meet the first lady. And, just like I would have done, she took a picture of the table setting and the food. I think that's adorable. Obviously Mrs. O can and will never catch a break here, but we don't have to clip "civilians" in the crossfire.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

It's just the bad image quality of the camera pic. I've seen close ups of her made up face with high definition digital cameras and her skin always looks even and flawless.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAri

Nice, but.... All those pearls and then the big pearl brooch. Coco Chanel advocated one's getting dressed. And then removing one thing. Good advice.

I have admired brooches, but they were always the item I'd end up taking off. If someone gave me some serious diamonds, I might reconsider.

What happened to that gorgeous Narciso Rodriguez ensemble - the camel and black - that she wore at the Lincoln Memorial concert? The best thing she ever wore, IMO. Perhaps it was a loan?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

Mrs. Obama always dresses with her audience in mind. This was a meeting with congressional spouses (bipartisan) and many of them are older. These meetings are all about networking so she has to connect with them, if she dresses too edgy or fashion forward then for a lot of these spouses, they might feel she can't relate to them.

She understands the power of her fashion choices and is using them to her advantage.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered Commentertoni

Toni - I agree that Mrs. O dressed here with her lunch partners in mind. I think it's a great choice -- a suit, but with an edge.

As I check the close-up photos on Flikr, my brand new monitor (teasing smile) shows me that Mrs. O's face appears lighter than her neck and declote'. I have also noticed in other photos that her make-up person seems to use different foundations for different occasions, some of which look a bit the wrong color, or a bit pasty.

Thanks for the tip on the NBC special next week.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

I liked that camel and black Narciso Rodriguez ensemble...but the best thing she's ever worn? When she's worn so much? That's an interesting thought. I think I understand where some posters are coming from better now, though, if that's considered to be the pinnacle of what she's worn since coming into the public eye.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Well...we have lots of topics going on! I love it!
Thanks Mrs. T. for the lovely photos. I think she looks great. Love the suit, make-up and hair. However, 99% of the time I think she looks great.

Regarding Supreme Court nominee Sotomayer, she has a wonderful, interesting background and excellent qualifications and resume. I also think it was a brilliant
move politically.

@ Karen...I also had heard on various news channels that Mrs. O would be attending the Memorial Day ceremonies with the President. I was kind of disappointed. I know the Military familes would have enjoyed seeing and meeting her.
Maybe, she was hosting something private at Camp David.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnn#1

Interesting site, but much advertisments on him. Shall read as subscription, rss.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 8:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichardOn

An early poster on this thread mentioned Mrs. O's ability to touch people, and I take that to mean both literally and figuratively.

Ari said MO dresses for herself and that is to her credit. I think her TIME interview nicely sums up Mrs. O's feelings about her fashion sense - Peace Out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

I used to complain about Mrs. O not following conventional FLOTUS style, but after seeing this, I think I like her better in her pretty dresses and unconventional outfits. This looks almost dowdy on her, despite the fact that she added her cute little touches. So bring on the dresses!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterLilly

Mrs. O is dressed VERY appropriately for the occasion, a different look altogether compared to the poetry jam outfit which was slamming and stunning for the ocassion. This is not the type of event for a major fashion statement, look at how her guests are dressed. What this says to me is that this is a lady how pleases herself and yet keeps her guests' comfort in mind. What class!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 9:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterthe other jenna

I agree completely with the people who mentioned MO dressing for her guests at this event. I don't know about all of you, but I don't exactly combine "congressional spouses" and "fashion forward" in the same sentence. The combination is definitely more traditional than we're accustomed to, but in this context I interpreted it as a gesture of thoughtfulness and respect. And, while the profile may be a little more "suit-ish," it's not exactly what I'd call a basic suit. I love the jacket, and I'll bet she brings it out again in a combo that will be much more creative.
The diamond stud earrings look like they are worn with an earring jacket surrounding them, which makes them look larger and really sparkle. (Maybe Willow can zoom waaaay in and tell us what's really going on there!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 9:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterOperaFanatic

I love the look, but I have to say, her make up is the one thing i have NEVER faulted, because she is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS on point with the hair and make up, but today, for the first time, the make up was a miss....did her make up artist change her color? I mean the make up person should know that her picture will be taken, as they ALWAYS are, and should consider that in applying her make up....definitely a miss on the make up color today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterLayo G


That's how I'd describe this look. And I will also concur that Mrs.O's look IS appropriate without being stiff. A lunch with Congressional spouses... c'mon guys! We know how "old school" some of these older women can be and I think Mrs.O understands her role as hostess and respects the wisdom and maturity of these women.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterRocky

I do think this outfit is maybe a TAD matronly. Just compared to what we are used to from Mrs. O. And actually, maybe it's the silk blouse which, in certain shades, can be super grandmotherly. Also, the suit fabric is somewhat heavy/slouchy.

But she also looks kind of sweet and lady-like. Anyway, it's always nice to see her. We really only get to see like a third of what Mrs. O wears and I am always so curious about what she's up on those other days.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I think what some are seeing as a bad make-up day is the result of the camera angle and the lighting. The light is coming from a large window and is probably bright sunlight. I also notice that she's casting a shadow on the wall behind her, so the light appears to be fairly bright and a little harsh. I think this is a problem that was beyond anyone's control.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 10:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMs. G

Obviously Mrs. O dressed for the occasion. She is wearing a more classic outfit. It's not my favorite but it's not that bad. Also, I don't think there is a problem with the makeup. I think its the lighting. There seems to be a halo around her head. Now she's really my angel. She rises to every occasion.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGwen D-F

There is nothing wrong with wearing suits, jackets or even "pant-suits" as long as they are tailored and well fitted. And I feel a bit confused on the perception that the attendees of this event were "older women". Not necessarily the attendees were older or not dressed appropriately. They might have just another style of dressing (more formal and more business-like) but does not mean that the attendees were not well dressed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 12:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterMJMR

OperaFanatic - I was only teasing about my fabulous new monitor (smile). I'm sure there are people on this site with more expensive equipment that delivers more detail than I get. This one is so much better than I'm used to.

Although I love watching and talking about what I like and don't like here, I'm not fashion-aware enough to even know what an earring jacket is. But, as I enlarge a close-up of Mrs. O as much as possible, I see some round thing surrounding the diamond earring. When enlarged that much, it becomes somewhat blurred. So, I don't really know for sure. Maybe someone else can tell whether she is wearing earring jackets.

Regarding Mrs. O's make-up. The night I found it to look really pasty was the night of the magenta dress with the fabulous necklace. It looked too yellow and too thick.

I think Michelle has very beautiful skin, so I often wonder why her make-up person feels the need to use such heavy foundation. There are some very sheer foundations which would look lovely and very natural on her.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 12:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

And, Willow, I was only teasing you about the monitor and zooming in on MO's earrings. It was so fun - for many of us - to read your enthusiasm the day you set it up. I've certainly been there, usually kickng myself about all the time I resisted because I didn't want to spring for a new techno-something. And then I do, and it's like an entirely new world.

You are right that earring jackets are a kind of circle that surrounds a stud earring. The post goes through the middle of the jacket, you put the earring thru your ear (this is where my husband passes out), and attach it with the usual clutch in back. It makes diamond (or CZ!) earrings look much bigger and you can use the same jackets with different studs.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 12:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterOperaFanatic

Stumbled across this very interesting article today titled "8 Toxic personalities to avoid", and 2 particularly struck me as useful to our little group here...

(Really interesting piece; search for it and read the full thing if you have a moment - might come in handy!)

Debbie Downers: These people can't appreciate the positive in life. If you tell them that it is a beautiful day, they will tell you about the impending dreary forecast. If you tell them you aced a mid-term, they'll tell you about how difficult the final is going to be.

Why they are toxic: They take the joy out of everything. Your rosy outlook on life continues to get squashed with negativity. Before you know it, their negativity consumes you and you start looking at things with gray colored glasses yourself.

Judgmental Jims: When you see things as cute and quirky, they see things as strange and unattractive. If you find people's unique perspectives refreshing, they find them 'wrong'. If you like someone's eclectic taste, they find it 'disturbing' or 'bad'.

Why they are toxic: Judgmental people are much like Debbie Downers. In a world where freedom rings, judgment is sooo over. If the world was a homogeneous place, life would be pretty boring. Spending a lot of time with these types can inadvertently convert you into a judgmental person as well.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 3:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

This event took place on April 24--stated at the bottom of the menu. Everyone can enlarge the pictures by clicking on "All Sizes" to the left on the page.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 6:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterSharon

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