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


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Hooray for Shorts

Photo by Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

When we were posting photos from this past weekend it never occurred to us that a pair of shorts would cause such a faux-fuss. After all, what else would one wear to hike the Grand Canyon in mid-August? We are in the camp that looks up to First Lady Mrs. O as a modern woman, with a real-world, democratic sense of style. Shorts included. Now, we hope this silly topic vanishes as quickly as it appeared.

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Reader Comments (50)

This is a classic example of why I follow the fashion of Mrs. O so religiously. Part of fashion is proudly making your own statement.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 11:04 PM | Registered Commenterboazwife

Well said, Mrs. T! Now, on to important things - like clothes for Martha's Vineyard - which I hope will include lots of comfy clothes, like, um - shorts!

Happy times, Mrs. O.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 11:41 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

of course this is what one wears to hike in the Grand Canyon in August! It's hot. Look, I'm the same age as Mrs. O and a modest, tailored short is a definite "do". She is a young, vibrant, active mother who manages to look great and effortless whatever the occasion.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 12:18 AM | Unregistered Commenteradiez

Hooray for SHORTS!!!! If you've never been to Arizona in August, you can't complain!!! Wear shorts!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered Commenterliz

Hooray for shorts indeed!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 4:47 AM | Registered CommenterAudrey

Hiking shorts to go hiking in. And what's so cute is how Mrs. O's bun is situated so that it goes through the back of her cap.

What's such a drag about the Prim Protocol Princesses (excluding, of course, those few commenters who are just plain mischief-makers. Sometimes one and the same thing; sometimes not) is that they're starting to color my pure enjoyment: "Ruh-roh! Some people are gonna have a fuss on this" sorta thoughts creep in.

Bah humbug to the Debbie Downers out there.

Huzzah! to those who celebrate life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 5:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

Thumb up for Mrs O. She is a successful woman in her own right and the secret of success is self-confidence and that what is displayed in Mrs O dayly life.
May I remind people that she was earning a 6 figures salary before becoming a first Lady hence had a standard of living and they should stop asking who is paying for this or that!!!
Last time I've checked Mrs O is not on the Goverment payroll therefore doesn't received any payment for all she does for America so give her a break!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 5:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterlaura

Just saw the Today show piece. You look lovely, Mrs. T! Just as I imagined you.

Some commenters on the previous thread felt that Robin Givhan was being harsh, but I don't think so. As she said, she was ambivalent, but it was interesting when she pointed out contradictions in the press treatment of the president versus their treatment of Mrs. O. I wish there'd been more time for Robin to explain that, but perhaps she'll write it up.

For any of you interested in more of Robin's writing, here's a link to her archive at the Washington Post:


Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 6:34 AM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

Amen! Amen! And Amen!!!!! There are more important things for us to look forward to with Mrs.O. BTW didn't she ROCK those shorts.....those legs should be insured!! ;)

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 7:50 AM | Registered CommenterTsetse Johnson

I'm proud that she is comfortable with herself, you go girl! Find other things to talk about.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterKeepingfaith43

Why not wear shorts on a VACATION to a vacation spot that is hot????????
I do not understand what all the commotion is all about. Wouldn't you want to wear shorts to the Grand Canyon????

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Damn right they should Tsetse Johnson!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 9:41 AM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

I absolutely agree! There are SO MANY more important things that need to be addressed, rather than being so picky about Mrs. O's shorts! Y'all the media is just so silly!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJay

I find any fuss about shorts to be quite absurd, while at the same time humorous. They are of a perfectly complementary length, and, as you mentioned what else would one wear on vacation? The fact that this supposed fashion faux pas is causing such a ruckus is quite a clear indication of why there is so much hate and ridiculousness in today's society. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterCafe Fashionista

Although the First Lady has a very toned and fit body, the photographs are not doing her justice.

Regarding the shorts, she has every right to wear what she wants, although I personally would not wear something that may come across as unflattering at certain angles in photographs if I were a public figure.

But if she can wear what she wears with the confidence that she has obviously has, then all power to her! Go Michelle!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterObamafan

Y'all need to read what TLo had to say. Really funny.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 11:47 AM | Registered CommenterHyde Parker

Hooray for being a real FLOTUS!!! One that every woman can identify with.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered Commentero'Coutoure

...you're right! Those legs should be insured!!! Even if her legs were not perfect, does that mean she doesn't get to wear shorts? Finally someone portraying a REAL female physique, and she gets criticized? I suppose we should be dictating what she wears in the bedroom too...just in case someone sneaks a peak. Give it up!

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 1:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterbml

Interesting that they are taking such a wonderful vacation while our economy is in distress. Great to see my tax dollars hard at work. I was not able to afford such a luxury this year.

Oh! I do like her outfit, but not appropriate for existing Air Force One. She should have changed after exiting the plane.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterKim

TOO BAD .... she chose those shorts for her photo op on AirForce 1.

Too Bad .... the country has nothing else to focus on (health care, Afganistan, Economy, Jobs)

It is just too bad

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterriver rush

I find it amazing that Mr. Obama managed to wear dress slacks and a long sleeved shirt and she could not even find a decent summer dress. Were they really HIKING? Did they go down into the canyon or merely stand at the rail and take in the site?
I disapprove of the shorts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterMary D.

Kim, Rush Limbaugh owns a sprawling pad in Palm Beach, the epicenter of ultra-wealth. Call him. Maybe he will let you stay and relieve some stress.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 2:38 PM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

Yes, Kim, your tax dollars ARE hard at work! Your tax dollars and mine are supporting the country's precious national resources like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Park. The only good thing about the shorts faux-controversy is that hopefully people here and abroad saw a little more of the Grand Canyon and decided to visit there. Visiting national parks stimulates the economy and also focuses attention on the importance of preserving their natural beauty.
And our tax dollars are well spent on a President who was making speeches and holding meetings all weekend when most of us were taking the weekend off. I'm glad he was able to bring the family along on what wasn't a vacation but an important visit to Sen. Baucus.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandy Beach

Of course Michelle's shorts were perfectly appropriate for hiking or otherwise wearing on vacation. As others have pointed out, thouigh, exiting Air Force One is a public moment - - just ask the two men at the bottom of the steps in full uniform, 106 degree heat or not. I don't think anyone would expect Michelle to have come out wearing a suit and pearls, but It wouldn't have been difficult to wear an equally comfortable but slightly more decorous outfit, at least to leave the plane. Her husband was on the mark - - trousers and a casual shirt. If he had then wanted to then change into shorts and a Hawaiian shirt for the hiking trip into the Grand Canyon, I'd say go for it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterlann

I'm far more concerned for the President. Hiking the Grand Canyon in dress slacks and a button shirt? The poor man must have been dying of heat.

As for appropriate attire for exiting Air Force One, when did an airstrip become a formal location? Like everyone else who takes a flight, Mrs Obama was correct in wearing clothing appropriate for her final destination. Besides, people would be far more upset if the Secret Service had cleared out 4 square blocks simply so she could change somewhere after landing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterTobias

In the late 40's in Georgia my mother was criticized for wearing shorts in the summer. And, we didn't have AC. Even then she thought it was nuts. Get a life, follks. Michelle Obama looks great and what is all the fuss? She can wear shorts on Air Force One, to the Grand Canyon, and at the White House! I imagine she will even wear a bathing suit when they go on vacation. Goodness, are we in the Victorian Age again?

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSharon Buckley

I think that shorts are wonderful, she just should have been wearing a longer pair. The shorts she was wearing are entirely too short for a 46 year old woman despite being in terrific shape. JCrew sells lovely long Bermudas.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 6:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterVineyarder

Mary D--I do think they did some hiking. They were there for nearly 4 hours. The SS wouldn't let the President go down into the canyon so their guide brought rocks up from the floor and Malia, who has just studied rock formations in school, handily identified them.

Tobias--About the heavier clothes of the President--perhaps that is why they cut the trip short by 2 to 3 hours.

The photos taken were what is called pooled press. Only a small number of reporters that have to follow the President wherever he goes and only given a limited exposure to the whole trip. You can tell the photos were taken from a far distance.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 7:44 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

Non-issue, going to the Grand Canyon in August is crazy hot!

When are people going to wake up and realize that 'up-to-the-minute' 24-hour cable news is as bad for you as unfiltered cigarettes? It's dumb noise and it never ends. Shut the tube off and find out what real news is all about - hint, it isn't about Michelle Obama's shorts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMargot in Arizona

Her short length seems appropriate for her figure. Just becuase she's 46 doesn't mean she has to wear pants. It's more about the health/age of your body. I have seen plenty of 18-25 year olds that look worse than Mrs. O in shorts. I think she looks comfortable, classy and like a Mom. I actually think Mr. O is the one that looks a little funny. Who wears dress pants to the Grand Canyon?

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterHm...

Good lord, the woman was on vacation and she wore SHORTS! Gadzooks! Leave her alone, let her enjoy a family moment, it's bad enough they don't get one second of privacy. And the people who would begrudge the Obama's a vacation, please do your homework and recall the unprecedented number of days Mr. Bush was on vacation and playing golf all while creating his falsehoods leading up to the war. Please.

Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterLynne

Mary D, it'd been nice if you addressed Mr. Obama as President Obama and even nicer if you called Mrs. Obama by her name -first, complete or official title- instead of the dismissive "she."

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 2:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJules

Considering the average size of a person in America, most would be so lucky to get into shorts and look half as good. She's not wearing daisy dukes. Mrs. O is a mother with two young daughters visiting the Grand Canyon. As a mother of two young “tween” girls, if I were visiting the Grand Canyon I would have done the same thing, as would my husband and kids. It's a pair of shorts, that look appropriate for the trip.

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 5:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

I love that she looks so confident, real and happy. She's 5'11"; the shorts are perfectly appropriate. And, Mary D, really, a dress to the Grand Canyon? Have you been to the Grand Canyon?

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterEmily

You know, I really want to like her. I try to see her as a 'fashion forward' woman. I've even tried to like cardigan sweaters. But, she is in need of a really good stylist. Her clothing choices are generally so-so to VERY poor. There have been a couple of beautiful outfits in the past few months: Her purple dress and coat worn at the Met in NY, several black and white dresses...don't remember the occasions, I think any woman over 40 years old wearing shorts other than in her own yard or beach area would get negative reviews. Ms. O. needs some loving professional, who could guide her choices. She has good arms....but a sleeveless dress worn during the Pres address on a Washington evening, televised around the world....not. Her choice of the 'shredded toilet paper' gown for the inauguration---horrible. Shorts on a middle-aged woman with chunky legs...and a wrinkled tank top....while departing Airforce One is really embarassing. Come on folks.....I think we ALL want to like her.....but saying everything she wears is WONDERFUL>>>>and AWESOME is just accepting her poor judgment. Maybe a couple of REAL designers will some up to the plate and OFFER to help???

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterDiana

"Much Ado About Shorts."

I was at the Grand Canyon the day the Obama family was visiting. I was in red linen shorts, my traveling companion in denim shorts, the tourists from Japan, India, China, Brazil, France and the Netherlands in capris. It was 96C in the shade! The Park Rangers were making sure everyone had enough water. It was for our health and well being. The views of the Canyon were spectacular.

Can we, like the park rangers concentrate on health care and the well-being of our country?

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 10:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoyal Tee

One thing I have noticed about Mrs. Obama.

She seems to set a precedent for her children. When her children are with her, it seems that they all sort of match. So, if those two girls were looking forward to hiking in the Grand Canyon, I bet you that Mrs. Obama is the kid of mother who would get down right along side them and go hiking. They did go hiking, they played, they acted like modern women, not dolled up little mannequins who aren't allowed to play and have fun. She seems to set a tone for her kids. She was on mom duty with the shorts.

And they weren't all that much shorter than the dresses that Jackie O was wearing during her summer vacation.

Friday, August 21, 2009 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichelleToo

I can't believe ALL this fuss over a pair of shorts which by the way look absolutely perfect on the First Lady. I wonder what the haters will say/think if she were to wear a swimsuit while at the beach or the pool. Would they want her in a dress because she is 46? Or because she is the First Lady ? Or because ............................they don't think it's appropriate? PLEASE!!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered Commentertrinisamba

To all who obviously, evidenced by your "dripping with disdain" words, do not like the POTUS and FLOTUS, you have the option of blogging exclusively on the Faux News blog site. There you'll find "your kind" to interact with. As for the rest of us, the site is to celebrate our POTUS, FLOTUS and their family. Take your bitter, miserable opinion over to where they are welcomed...to Faux News. Michelle Obama looks great in her appropriately chosen for the occassion and environment shorts. It's obvious to those of us who have actually visited the Grand Canyon that her attire is appropriate and common.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 2:20 PM | Unregistered Commentersheryl

They are on vacation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!She looks great.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrigitte K

Oh dear - my poor American cousins! Please, please , please -get a life. Michelle Obama wears shorts - and that passes for news in your country?

So sorry - too bad there's no focus on some of the real issues your country and our world is facing.

Your friends to the north.

Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 9:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterKristi


You are in the minority, on this site, in America, the fashion world and abroad. Most countries appreciate her style. Most fashion mavens appreciate her style.

You are right however, Michelle Obama wins in my book all the time. If only because she has people calling her a gorilla, and fat, and ugly and all manner of things. So yes, as an American, as a woman, as a Black woman, I will stand firmly in her corner.

Her "toilet paper" dress was lovely. It might not have photographed well, but it swirled beautifully and the color was well chosen. It also catapulted the career of a young American of color.

And REALLY, any woman over forty wearing shorts is inappropriate? Diana, get a life. Those ideas and rules are old, tired and only serve to keep older women in a box. Women over forty can wear shorts TO GO HIKING! And they can wear shorts to play golf, tennis and lawn bowling. In public, no less!

Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 2:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMichelleToo

Hi Diana,

What's wrong with a pair of long, curvy, NATURALLY tanned legs? I think the issue is with some folks who feel slighted as they have been dismissed as the beauty standard and publically replaced with an authentic, realistic tall refreshing glass of REAL WOMAN!!

You make references to The First Lady as some victim or poster woman for fashion faux paux, but in reality, FLOTUS is representing beautifully for all women. Not every woman depends cosmetic surgeries and flashy designer labels to feel and look wonderful.

Lastly, the begiinning of commentary leads into a senseless diatribe in stating " You know, I really want to like her", but after listing the poor reasons for not liking her speaks volumes to your character and your lack of respect for the human condition.

Diana honestly this would be hillarious, if it weren't so tragic.


Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustMe

Diana, you know the funny thing about the First Lady? She isn't asking you to like her. She's living her life, supporting her husband, children, and country. Why not give up your [shallow] efforts, given that you seem predisposed to *not* liking her. By the way, she's 45. Factual information is important to getting one's point across.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterconlakappa

I think Mrs O looks fabulous. As stated she is a modern woman and is bring modern attire to the whitehouse for first ladies. You don't have to be overdressed especially this time of year. She chooses her wardrobe very well and I admire her for such. If the president is okay with it what business is it for others to have negative opinions. She is a striking woman. Someone to be admired. I say continue on and my hats off to you......

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 2:57 PM | Unregistered Commentervicki williamson

I think Mrs O looks fabulous. As stated she is a modern woman and is bring modern attire to the whitehouse for first ladies. You don't have to be overdressed especially this time of year. She chooses her wardrobe very well and I admire her for such. If the president is okay with it what business is it for others to have negative opinions. She is a striking woman. Someone to be admired. I say continue on and my hats off to you......

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered Commentervicki williamson

Shorts, arms, skin, I think people forget she is in her early 40's like myself; and I wear them all. Here is a woman who works out; and has young children; she can't always be seen in pant suites. She dressed like this before she became the First Lady and I am sure she will continue to dress age appropriate.
Many other First Ladys of today could not pull it off maybe their legs weren't up to par. This is the first First Lady in the White House in a long time that has no vericose vein problems; she has no celullite on her legs; she can show them off just as Beyonce or any one else waling the Red Carpet; you go Mrs. O continue doing you; and don't change; becasue once you do; you might wake up and not like the person you have become.

Monday, August 24, 2009 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMish

I agree with you Mish! Mrs. O has out the 40 something woman on the map for sure. What an inspiration from her amazing mind...to that tiny waistline, Mrs O you're my sheroooooo :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustMe

@ Mish

LOL. I certainly agree that we haven't had a FLOTUS without visible cellulite in a while, vericose veins are more prevalent (and visible) in Caucasian people rather in African-American people. Just the way it is.

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 8:18 PM | Registered CommenterVIctoria Leon

I admire your personality and wish you God's divine protection and direction as you work hard to make the world a better place for all.

Monday, October 12, 2009 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermati

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