Image is everything

Image is everything

Marketing | Judette Coward-Puglisi

January 22, 2009


It’s like we were waiting with bated breath. And so the moment that Michelle Obama appeared on in her yellow Isabel Toledo sheath and coat, my friends and I started hurriedly facebooking each other. "She looks gorgeous," I wrote "Yes," my friend typed in. On no!" another wrote, "Her dress looks like my Christmas curtain." And so we went, until another friend, John, signed in with a terse comment as cold as ice water " People, please!!" he wrote I knew it was a cautionary post. A poke to tell us that we were missing the main point, that this was about a bigger issue, about the first African American President appearing on the White House steps, an important historical moment and there we were blogging about fashion. My friend could not be more wrong, He was already speaking to the converted. But I also knew that before President Obama opened his mouth to say a word, the world would judge the moment he appeared, how he looked (confident or not) and what Michelle, his wife, wore. Clothes and fashion are an important part of the Obama appeal and you can bet the First Lady’s staff put as much thought into her coming out wardrobe as Jon Favreau placed on the words coming from the President’s mouth. The consequences of her choice were immediate. American designers roared with approval. "Her choice," they raved, " showed she both her enviable confidence and her bold approach to fashion." And J Crew”s stocks rose by ten cents (her J. Crew green leather-gloved hands clasping her husband’s were everywhere). The world was endeared.  

First impressions affect everything and everyone. Studies show that job interviews are basically decided within the first few moments of an encounter and research indicates that we determine whether we feel someone is trustworthy in just 1/10 of a second. That is pretty powerful. And so was Michelle in her yellow Toledo dress.


12 thoughts on “Image is everything

  1. Michelle Obama’s fashion choice for the Inauguration was exactly what it should have been — a classic silhouette, representing the formality of the occasion. I think her fashion choices have been refreshing and unpretentious and always with a personal touch, (reminiscent of Sharon Stone’s take at the 1996 Academy Awards in her Gap turtleneck and Valentino skirt.) And so, it’s not just about Mrs. Obama’s gorgeous Jason Wu gown (didn’t we all love that?), it is about fashion helping to echo a change of mood…in the world.

  2. I could not agree more, i felt it suited the occasion and her. The green gloves and shoes were ideal. What i liked most was the fact that the entire party were in brilliant colours truly showing that there is a rainbow ahead!
    She was in yellow and green, the girls in blue, salmon and pink (i think) and Mrs. Biden was in a red coat…….wonderful array of colours to match the splendid day.

  3. Did not particularly like the oilve greem gloves…felt the outfit looked a little bulky on her compared to the caramel and black one and the lovely ball gown. And Mrs biden hem length was a little too high for the shape and size of her knees

  4. Maybe Carlene but we can all agree we is a woman of our times and a far cry from all the celebrity type the media has fawned over. I look at her and I can identify. Style and substance matter, they are better when they are together

  5. Have to admit I wasn’t a fan of what she wore at the Inauguration, but thought the Wu gown was fantastic, that’s just my taste. I, however, loved the fact that she didn’t wear a Prada or Chanel, but went with two lesser known designers in addition to the JCrew (All American Brand) gloves and JCrew clothes for the First Daughters.

    Whatever she wears during their (hopefully) 8 years at the White House, Michelle Obama came from a simple (not wealthy) home and still went to Princeton and Harvard.

    The First Couple have made it ‘cool’ to be extremely intelligent, happily married and displaying great public admiration for each another. Isn’t it great to have a change from the seemingly stoic marriages of other leaders and politicians.

    Her daughters are being looked at as young role models and they are simply well-adjusted little girls. It’s about time that young girls have other role models to look up to who are age appropriate rather than the Miley and Britney.

  6. Isn’t it fascinating that in the midst of this most momentous occasion(the inaguration of Barack Obama as President), that there is so much discussion about Michelle Obama’s fashion sense? The pretentious intellectuals out there are probably rolling their eyes and looking down at us lesser mortals who are carrying on this discussion with gusto. However I truly believe that the debate about Michelle’s choice of wardrobe for the inauguration is evidence that there are those out there who are not afraid of "being human". Nothing is wrong with admitting that yes many of us were glued to the TV on inauguration night waiting with baited breath to catch a glimpse of the first lady. Her eventual appearance at the Neighbourhood Ball was the talking point for hours on every single US network with hard core news persons like Anderson Cooper, Cambell BrownBill O’Reilly lending their voices to the debate. I thought it was oh so refreshing…just like her gown-beautiful, elegant and ladylike!

  7. As they say, you never have a second chance to make a first impression. Michelle Obama has made an excellent first impression (to say the least) not just with her beauty or her top-notch fashion sense, but more importantly with the content of her character. Kudos to her!!!

  8. The first lady looked elegant, confident and made a statement that she is independent thinking in chosing a designer known only to the savy fashonistas. She also shows her sense of giving and caring by allowing these young designers to shine on a most historical day.

  9. Simone forwarded this to me…

    I thought she followed THE 3 most important fashion rules: 1. wear what YOU like 2. Wear what’s comfortable for you 3. Opinions are like noses- everyone has one- so ignore the critics 😉

  10. I guess as individuals we will all have different tastes…like in our choices of men (lol) but I agree that she is independent thinking, representing the typical women of this era. Perhaps some of our female MPS/Ministers should take a hint….I have always admired Mrs. Danny Montano for her dress sense….sooo elegant!

  11. Agree on Mrs. M; not so certain about the inauguration dress – from someone with a hip paranoia, I would have selected differently. I absolutely loved the ball gown. Perfect. Don’t ask me to name designers though I know there was mention of a Cuban American and a filip for American designers.

  12. "Dress for the job you want not the job you have"
    Its a credo I absolutely live by and for good reason.

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