October 21, 2016

Fashion writers at The New York Times always fawn over Michelle Obama’s clothes and anything else that has to do with Michelle Obama. I think it must be part of the job description, or a natural law as unchangeable as gravity.

But just think of the uproar if, say, Nancy Reagan had worn a real-gold Atelier Versace couture dress to her final state dinner. Let’s say it was a shockingly costly but beautiful, artfully draped gown made exclusively of rose gold chain mail, designed especially for her by Donatella Versace. It’s not hard to imagine how thoroughly she would be trashed by the Times as a selfish, greedy “Marie Antoinette” whose love of gaudy excess symbolized the materialistic values of her husband’s time in office.

In fact, Nancy Reagan was vilified for wearing designer fashions to state dinners, even though they were simply loaned to her by designers, many of whom were her personal friends. She was similarly condemned for replacing the worn White House china, even though no taxpayer funds were used for that.

But when Michelle Obama wore this over-the-top gown, she won high praise from the Times: “On Tuesday night, at her final State dinner as First Lady, Michelle Obama solidified her legacy as perhaps the most adept practitioner at the art of political dressing that any administration has seen.” The article just goes on and on from there. I’m sure Michelle looked very nice, but the point I’d like to make is that in the subjective world of fashion --- and, increasingly, “journalism” --- judgment depends not so much on the choice itself but on who is making it and who that person’s political affiliations are.

If you have a strong stomach for gush and plenty of it, read the Times piece. Warning: it may put you off your lunch for a week, but the bright side of that is you'll lose a few pounds and fit into your designer couture. 

For a rant from the opposite side of the political aisle about Michelle's unimaginably expensive dress, click here:

Laura Ainsworth is a topical comedy writer and retro jazz singer whose parody songs have appeared on Gov. Huckabee's radio shows, and an unapologetic fashion plate. Discover her terrific music and videos at

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