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



Aretha's Fabulous Bow Hat

Aretha Franklin and her FABULOUS hat

Image use with kind permission from Roy

The other sartorial star of the Inauguration? Aretha Franklin and her embellished bow hat of course. Yes, it was unabashedly over the top, but it couldn't have been more perfect for The Queen of Soul. As Aretha sang "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" on Inauguration day, her all around fabulous hat was impossible to miss.

The work of Detroit-based milliner Luke Song, the hat was custom designed for Aretha, hand-molded from heather gray wool and adorned with Swarovski crystals. Similar hats are available through the designer's collection, Mr. Song Millinery. According to Booth Moore of the L.A. Times, "hats are back". And based on the buzz generated by Mr. Song's creation, that indeed may be the case. In an interview published on Friday, Mr. Hong told The New York Times that "order numbers exceed what we can physically make. Our vendors say the clients can’t wait three or four weeks, so some of them are just buying up our inventory ... I’m in disbelief of what’s going on.”

While this number is perhaps a bit loud for Mrs. O, might we see our First Lady don a hat or two? With so much talk of Mrs. O's "womanly" tastes, and her new take on the old-fashioned, one never knows. For the time being, we're content to celebrate this beauty.


Must Read Mrs. O

It's taken us three days to comb through all of the post-Inauguration Mrs. O press coverage, but we've finally narrowed our "must-reads" to the list below. We have to admit, we're feeling quite charmed by Isabel Toledo's lemongrass coat and dress for Mrs. O (as was the intent), so you may see the coverage lean in her favor. We've probably missed a few good articles, so please feel free to post your recommended reading in the comments section. The Associated Press: "Michelle Obama's Dress: What color was it really?"

"'I called it lemon grass because it's not yellow, it's not green,' designer Isabel Toledo said in an interview Tuesday. The fact that colors on textiles can take on changing tones is an important element when making clothes, she said. 'It gives the wearer and the viewer much more of an individualized experience.'"

WWD: "Pomp, Circumstance and Celebs"

"Isabel Toledo said she was pleased the First Lady was willing to go with lemongrass, 'a hopeful color that is so to the core of the beginning of things.' 'It could have been blue, red and more in keeping with tradition, but I really felt we could do something different,' said Toledo."

New York Magazine: "Picture Windows"

A 2006 feature gives us a look at the magical Manhattan loft and workspace that designer Isabel Toledo shares with her illustrator husband, Ruben.

New York Times: "The First Lady, in Ivory and Vivid Yellow, Tells a Story With Fashion" (and bonus video narrated by Cathy Horyn)

"Invoking another president with a glamorous wife—that would be, maybe, John F. Kennedy? — President Obama told military guests at the Commander in Chief Ball last night, 'I have the special honor of being the guy who accompanied Michelle Obama to the ball.'"

(For background on Cathy Horyn's reference - in a May 1961 trip to Paris, President John F. Kennedy famously said, “I do not think it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself…I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.”)

Washington Post: "All Hail the Leader of the Fashionable World"

"[Mrs. O] has been compared to Jacqueline Kennedy, the last first lady to so thoroughly embrace style as a form of communication. Much is made of the fact that they both wore sleek, sleeveless dresses and had an affection for pearls. But the real similarities may be in the way they used clothes to set a tone for their husbands' administrations."

"As her husband's administration promises more jobs and help for small-business owners, and emphasizes creativity as one of this country's greatest assets, Obama's choice of an iconoclastic, immigrant female designer with a modest business sends a profound message of intent."

The Huffington Post: Michelle O: Fashion Provocateur?

Finally, we'll end with a YouTube video via The Huffington Post that chronicles Creative Director Simon Doonan's impromptu reworking of the Barney's New York window displays in honor of designer Isabel Toledo and our new First Lady, Mrs. O.

Update: Adding one more "must read" that provides more background on the fast rising designer Jason Wu. New York Times: "The Spotlight Finds the Designer Jason Wu"


Inspiration Abounds

 Screenprint by artist Amy Browender

We keep thinking of Isabel Toledo's words to Mrs. O: “Thank you for being so optimistic and for giving us all so much inspiration.” They could not be more true. Several weeks ago we heard from Amy Browender, a spirited, thoughtful and highly articulate high school senior from St. Paul, Minnesota. Amy shared with us a screenprint she created as part of her high school's International Baccalaureate program. Her inspiration was an Annie Leibovitz photograph of Mrs. O published this fall in Paris Match.

Touched by her work, we called Amy to learn more about her inspiration and process. Amy caught Mrs. O fever in late summer 2008, captivated by a woman whose "ideas and style transcend age, race and culture," qualities that Amy believes "make an icon timeless." The original Paris Match photo "epitomizes Mrs. O's grace and beauty," she said. In developing her screenprint, Amy wanted the focus to be on Mrs. O's individuality, to portray her as the icon she is. Accordingly, she kept the asthetic simple, using black ink on canvas. Amy's teacher gave her a B- for the effort; in our book, she's deserving of an A+.

Amy has opened a shop on Etsy, where she's selling t-shirts and canvases of the print.


One New Look Deserves Another

As Mrs. O moves into the White House this week, we thought we'd mark the occasion with a brand new logo. We hope you like it.

Mrs. O's Designers Speak

A Today Show segment looks back at Mrs. O's inaugural wardrobe and interviews designers Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu. In a heartfelt message to Mrs. O, Toledo shared, "Thank you for being so optimistic and for giving us all so much inspiriation."