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Tuesday
Oct082013

Style File: Dr. Jill Biden

It is a certainty that all of you who regularly read Mrs-O consider our First Lady, Michelle Obama to be a stylish inspiration. But have you considered our Second Lady, Dr Jill Biden to be a style inspiration too? I certainly have!

Dr Biden has been turning heads since she joined the Obama campaign team in 2008. She participated in a Vogue photoshoot with female members of her family in 2008, quickly setting the stage for what she would bring to the Obama/Biden White House.

Her 2009 inaugural ceremony dress was a gray tweed shift from the brand Milly, borrowed from her daughter-in-law Hallie. The company quickly reissued the dress, renaming it the ‘Dr Biden.’ Her red strapless inaugural gown by Reem Acra was certainly a stunner, the bright classic color given a contemporary design twist for the new presidency that was beginning. A few of my friends said they preferred it to the First Lady’s gown, but there lies another tale!

Dr Biden has a wardrobe of staple ‘go-tos.’ These include suits, dresses, simple diamond jewellery, bright colors, stilettos and knee high boots. She has a bright blue draped jersey dress which is particularly stylish, and her choices of evening gowns are always spot on and appropriate for the occasion. She often wears pieces from Milly, and I’ll always remember when she selected a pair of silver Reva flats by Tory Burch for a visit with the First Lady to a food drive.

In an interview with Marie Claire magazine in 2010, her outfit was described as consisting of a “ruffled blue oxford-cloth shirt, black pencil skirt, gray jacket and leaving a whiff of Chanel Cristalle.” This sophisticated description describes Dr Biden’s style perfectly- classic and chic with a contemporary twist.

Her choice of designers for the 2013 inaugural celebrations were similarly as sophisticated. A custom Lela Rose coat and dress kept Dr Biden warm for the inaugural ceremony, and by night, she had changed into a blue Vera Wang scoop-neck gown, accessorised with a black bow belt. This choice gained Dr Biden great media coverage, with sites such as Stylelist and The Guardian declaring her gown as radiant and sophisticated.

Dr Biden has been quoted saying that it is “important for my students to see how professional women dress,” and there is no doubt that she has been successful in this mission. Dr Biden wears functional and fashionable professional clothes that women across America and indeed the world wear to their jobs on a daily basis. Like the First Lady, Dr Biden is a great ambassador for American fashion across the globe, and even though the same amount of media coverage does not follow her like her ‘First’ counterpart, there is little doubt that people are paying attention to how she dresses.

Dr Biden remains an individual to watch- both for her sense of style and her commitment to her country, profession and family. There is no doubt that she will leave a strong legacy when she exits the White House- and it will be a stylish one that.

Laura-Emily Dunn is the founder and editor of Political Style. Follow her on Twitter, here.

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Reader Comments (35)

No offense intended, but can our First Lady not just have anything for herself? Can she not even be allowed a space that's strictly hers? Why does she always have to accommodate, share and apologize for occupying this her unique spot? It's no secret that Mrs Obama has been incredibly gracious and unlike her predecessors embraced the second lady, more than occasionally sharing the spotlight with her. But to be honest this unusual "sharing" arrangement which has slowly morphed into an "expectation", "demand" and an annoyance when it doesn't happen, has become quite irritating. Why is this particular First Lady begrudged and denied so much? There was never any such push (subtle or otherwise) for Laura Bush to include or make room for Lynne Cheney, Hillary Clinton for Tipper Gore, Barbara Bush for Marilyn Quayle, Nancy Reagan for Barbara Bush, Rosalyn Carter for Joan Mondale. Most Americans never knew who the V.P's wives were and these first ladies all got to exclusively and singularly take in the good, bad and whatever other burdens or glory their positions brought. I like Jill Biden and would even campaign and vote for Joe Biden if he ever ran, but I make no apologies for believing that the current first lady of the United States should not be guilted or forced into a formal or informal co-First Ladyship arrangement (even on style pages) for the first time in our history.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 9:05 PM | Registered CommenterFiona

Fiona- What the h... are you talking about?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered Commentersally

While it doesn't get as much press as it should, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are both dedicated to regular and pretty intense exercise. I believe this is the "secret" to what makes these ladies able to really excel in every way.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterPM Savannah

Give Mrs T a break! It's a slow week for the First Lady in terms of fashion news. After all isn't your government shut down so she must be keeping a low profile?

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered Commentergaylev

Nice post! I would appreciate to see more coverage of Dr. Jill's style on this website.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterDiane B

I have to agree with Fiona. When I saw this post after sooooo many days without a new Mrs O post, I was kind of "what's going on here?" I love Dr. Jill, too, but this is my Mrs. O/style fix spot. BTW, what is going on here? Why no new posts?

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterBSewingLady

I agree with Fiona, I was so disappointed when I opened "Mrs. O" this morning! I have noticed a significant reduction in posts spotlighting Mrs. Obama's attire and I really miss it!

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

I enjoyed this post. Thank you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

I am so pleased that you have included this and have enjoyed past posts that include Dr. Biden. Although I love Mrs. Obama's sense of style, Dr. Biben's body type is more like my own so I enjoy also seeing what she wears. They are both so elegant but down-to-earth at the same time.
I disagree with the previous comment about Mrs. Obama having to share everything. She, and only she, is THE FLOTUS! I think the difference with these First and Second Ladies is that they are friends and enjoy appearing together. That never seemed to be the case in previous administrations.

Anyway, I love this blog and will be sad when we no longer watch these beautiful women.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandra

Fiona, I agree.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 5:40 PM | Registered CommenterSoccerNana

I think she looks great. Thank you Mrs T for posting these photos.Mrs Biden has terrific style and takes such good care of herself. Very inspirational. I don't think this article and pictures take anything away from the First Lady. I don't get the criticism.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSally

To my knowledge, the First Lady has not had public appearances since 9/24. It's been reported that Mrs. Obama has canceled multiple trips amid the government shutdown.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:50 PM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

Thank you for the post on Dr. B, Mrs. T. I think she is also a woman to be admired and appreciated. Mrs. O certainly can't do anything in public right now. Just think how the haters would react if she so much as set one toe outside the White House. She probably can't even walk the dogs. No wait, maybe she can, because most of the White House employees are probably furloughed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:54 PM | Registered CommenterGroovy

Agree Fiona. What's that they say about having only one president at a time? Same is true for First Lady. We only have one First Lady at a time. Nothing wrong with starting a site for Mrs Biden for people who want to follow. Here we want more, not less of Mrs O and we don't mind re-runs either. We lurk to follow and admire Mrs Obama and to get hard to find info about what and who she's wearing. We trust that the savvy fashionistas who run this site have access or can do some serious fashion sleuthing. Instead of diverting us to Jill Biden, could we please figure out the designers of some of the recent designer-unknown outfits Mrs O has worn on the last few posts. We still don't know who made that striking black and white gown she's wearing on the previous post, maybe you can tell us?

Friday, October 11, 2013 at 2:29 AM | Registered CommenterSamantha

Oh my gawd ... the things people will complain about! It's like you people pay a membership fee here or something. Mrs. Obama is making very few appearances due to the government shutdown. And Mrs. T has creatively found a way to provide content. Log off and go outside ... take a walk or something. Geez!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterglammie

new photo of mrs.o, malia and president obama meeting with malala yousafzai
http://theobamadiary.com/2013/10/11/beautiful-2/

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered Commenterlisam

Thank you for the Dr. B retrospective, Mrs. T. As Second Lady, she is rightfully overshadowed by Mrs. O, but she has a wonderful sense of style. It's good to have a new post when it's such a long time between Mrs. O's appearances.

But the White House's photo of the day for October 11 shows Mrs. O with Malala Yousafzai, the President and Malia and -- hooray! -- I believe her dress is a new one. Hope you can tell us more.

Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered Commentera Mom in MI

I liked this post. I think both women are amazing. I am closer to Dr. Biden's age and it is nice to see her look so well and keep it age appropriate. She is petite and it could be frustrating to be in the same room with such a tall beautiful woman like Mrs O. She does it well. She is the most stylish and active Second Lady we have had in a long time. She is also working so close to the First Lady with their initiative for Military families.
She is another perfect picture of health and fitness. She is an avid runner.

Monday, October 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrjcwash

LOL, No surprises here. Been around here long enough to call this. The usual UNREGISTERED suspects who ironically never seem to have anything good to say about Mrs Obama, appear in force all generous, warm and fuzzy in their defense of the Biden post while waxing poetic about Jill Biden. They never pass up on ANY opportunity to pit ANYONE against Mrs Obama. They'll even use her husband: President's parents good, Mrs Obama's, not so good. Am I right "sally"? My take is this, if Mrs Biden is that interesting style wise, by all means give the woman her own website. Unlike some posters, I don't follow this blog because I have the same body type nor am I at the same age as Mrs Obama. She and I couldn't be more different physically, style, age and race wise. I follow because I really dig the woman and just about everything about her. I know it's pretty touchy subject but the truth is that there are some people who'll never be comfortable with Mrs Obama. After too many years of first ladies who all shared one thing in common, some people will always be on the lookout for that familiar alternative. A first lady who looks like all the others and one who won't challenge their comfortable stereotypes and long-held notions.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 12:57 AM | Registered CommenterLota

Lota,
When I said " Michelle Obama did indeed come from a "working class family" I was just agreeing with Ferngullie who stated that Mrs O came from a working class family ( her term not mine) but disagreeing that the President came from a working class family. I was just engaged in a debate, not criticizing the First Lady. However, I don't consider "working class" to be " not so good." Re-read my post and you will see I was not pitting the Obamas against one another. I don't criticize the First Lady, I just like to point out the silliness and obsessiveness of some of the posters. As for not registering, in this day and age I feel it is important to protect my privacy as much as possible.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 6:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterSally

It's just a blog, people. Mrs. T can put whatever she wants on her blog. If you don't like it, don't follow it. NO ONE is trying to take anything away from the First Lady. I enjoyed this post, as Mrs. Obama has not been making any public appearances during the shutdown. Thank you for trying to keep us entertained, Mrs. T. Being from Wilmington, DE, and knowing Jill Biden, for me, it was a thrill to see her here! :) Thank you! :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 9:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterMs. H

Thanks Lisam for posting the picture of Mrs. O with Malala Yousafzai, the President and Malia. i love this photo and wish there could have been more. Can't wait for Mrs T to cover this. I have been following this Blog for a number of years. Thanks Mrs T.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDrjcwash@aol.com

Oh yes, I have been a Dr. Biden fan from the beginning. And for her age? Just stunning. She always looks great. Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden are the best dressed First and Second Ladies we've ever had.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Hi Mrs. T! Hope you and your family are all well. Thanks for the post . . .I know you must be very, very busy. You continue to provide balance and I appreciate that. If you have any information on the last two outings of Mrs. Obama (dresses), please provide. I know yesterday's dress at the Medal of Honor ceremony was a repeat. Thank you Mrs. T!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterAuntie Mom

My goodness, ladies, can't we all just get along? You know, following the role models that Michelle and Jill are for everyone?!

Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 4:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPM Savannah

Nice to see some coverage of Jill Biden's classic style. She is hardly fashion forward, but always looks lovely and appropriate.

Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

I'm not a regular poster, although I check the blog daily and have contributed thoughts here and there in the past. I've carefully considered whether or not to say anything at this point. Sometimes I wonder whether those who are so critical of several issues (lack of recent Mrs. O. pics; presence of Dr. Biden pics; readers who liked seeing the Dr. Biden pics and said so, etc.) consider the possibility that "real life" circumstances may be such that Mrs. T. simply can't make updating the blog an urgent priority. I have no idea, since I know Mrs. T. only from reading this blog. But I hope everything's okay, and I sometimes wonder if she ever wishes she hadn't started this, based on some of the pitched battles that seem to ensue over relatively nothing.

I also wonder, sadly, about the criticism directed toward readers who said anything positive about this one-time commentary on Dr. Biden. I adore Michelle Obama and the entire family, but I find that my age and life responsibilities more closely relate to those of Dr. Biden, as an earlier reader noted, and while I love Mrs. O's looks, and I come to the blog hoping (as do the rest of you) to see something new, I enjoyed this entry, too. Does that mean I'm not welcome (by other readers, I mean) to read and contribute, and I will be treated unkindly for saying, without any malice or lack of respect for Mrs. O., that I just don't understand why people feel so defensive about a one-time post?

I don't believe anyone is trying usurp or co-opt the blog or take away Mrs. O.'s spotlight herein. I agree that it's not appropriate for people who just plain don't like the Obamas to post unkind or unpleasant thoughts here, and maybe some of the "pro-Mrs. O" defenders recognize certain poster names as such; I don't know. To the casual reader, though, it appears as if anyone who dislikes a particular outfit or accessory or who writes a post that says, in essence, "Michelle Obama's sense of style is fabulous, and oh, yeah, I enjoyed seeing these Jill Biden looks, too," is assumed, by some readers at least, to be an anti-Obama troll. I'm far from that, and yet, sharing these thoughts makes me feel as if I'll be the next target for those who feel the need to protect the blog (or Mrs. O. or themselves) from... what? A thoughtful, heartfelt comment? Makes me feel sad. Best wishes to all.

Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterPam

Did anyone notice that J.Crew has a chiffon bridesmaid dress this season that looks *very similar* to Jill Bidens red inaugural gown?
For what it's worth - I have no problem with a brief nod to the Dr. Biden's fashion. The two women are good friends I'm sure the FLOTUS is confident enough in herself that she doesn't need to be petty and jealous unlike some of the posters.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 7:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterFun!

". . . . . she doesn't need to be petty and jealous unlike some of the posters."
LOL, it took 10 whole days!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Registered CommenterSoccerNana

I have always admired Jill style of dress and thought she was due some love. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterVal

Classy Soccer Nana, real classy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJan

"She's close to my age; She's got my body type; Her life responsibilities relate closely to mine; She dresses appropriately; She's from Delaware." These identity markers may or may not be subtext for what poster Lota alludes to about those who've never stopped looking for their familiar and preferred alternative. Who're we kidding? Following the 2009 inauguration, NYmag ran a series of short essays by various American writers on Mrs Obama and what she'd mean as the new American icon and First Lady. The back and forth brings to mind a passage from Jennifer Senior's essay on Mrs Obama: "..She’s a private person in a public role, a black woman in a costume drama played previously only by whites." Refresher course for those who've forgotten, Joe Biden, Jill Biden's husband first ran for president in 1988. Yes, 1988. Joe also ran in the 2008 race that Michelle Obama's husband won. To pretend that Jill Biden, her friends, family, and supporters, some of whom may or may not be posting on this blog, haven't always fancied the first lady gig for Jill and sometimes even felt entitled to it and the slightest bit of envy or resentment, would be very false. False since at least 1987. Look around a few not so pro-Obama blogs and it's not unusual to find a handful of singularly focused Michelle Obama bashers who aren't necessarily right wingers but unforgiving and resentful loyalists and admirers of other failed Democratic presidential candidates and their spouses. So the hostile poster isn't always who we think they are. One such blogger on one of those sites recently referenced this particular post as she praised Jill Biden and then went on her singularly focused and very personal rant against Michelle Obama. With the internet being anonymous and all that, who knows who's here or there or anywhere. The Obamas have since 2008 gone out their way to try to soothe hurt egos big and small. They've handed out every last olive branch and made too many concessions to make everyone feel more comfortable. But despite their best efforts, there remains a level of baseless animosity publicly and anonymously expressed, that's motivated and fueled by things as irreversible as race and entitlement. Poster Lota alludes to that discomfort and lack of acceptance for what's considered the other, and it doesn't always manifest in what is immediately recognizable as hostile. Sometimes it comes across as innocent, harmless and all-embracing. But it is still very much a duck.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 11:57 PM | Registered CommenterSamantha

#Anonymous=namelessunidentifiedunnamedunsignedunknownunregisteredJan

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 7:34 PM | Registered CommenterSoccerNana

SoccerNana, ;)

Friday, November 8, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterAdear

I totally agree with Pam's comments posted on October 19. Thank you for stating a kind & common sense viewpoint!

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterLea

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