' THE DECEMBER ISSUE ' / First Lady Michelle Obama by guest writer Gayle Fleming



First Lady Michelle Obama is the the epitome of style and cool!  Being able to pull off both style and cool as a forty-something woman, and as the First Lady of the most powerful country in the world (I'm being somewhat dramatic and facetious here) is quite a feat.  To be sure, her style has inflamed the wrath of some who think that the First Lady should be more demure in her wardrobe choices.  Read that as:  dowdy, boring, status quo, white bread, if you will.  And those uppity arms.  How dare she put the arms of the average American woman to shame!  But then I'm sure that Michelle Obama has never done anything status quo, and growing up in a working-class black family in Chicago, I'm also pretty sure she learned how to create great style with less.

When she's buying off-the-rack clothes, which she still does, she has to confront the reality of the body types that most clothes are made for.  First of all, she's really tall so she is already not of normal body-type.  She also has an extremely high waistline, and a fairly small torso.  And then there's THE HIPS.  Mrs. Obama has some serious hips, and without wanting to be disrespectful, all I can say is, ' baby's got back. ' This body-type is fairly typical among black women--smallish torso and wider hips.  Women have been brainwashed into doing everything they can to reduce their hips, or at all costs camouflage them.  As a black woman myself, I totally understand the hip drama.  My nine-year old who is the split image of me, is already asking if she is going to have a big butt.  But our First Lady totally embraces, and I dare say flaunts her assets in the most stylish way.  She acknowledges her high waistline by creating her own style of wearing her belts high.  And she wears lots of wide colorful belts.  In doing so, she accentuates both her small torso and her very attractive hips -- with considerable aplomb!

I'm also struck by her ability to be both cool and elegant.  I don't think that I've ever seen a photo of another First Lady in boots.  I remember going 'Wow!' when I saw this photo of Mrs. Obama and the girls accepting the White House Christmas tree.  This image perfectly demonstrates what I mean by the First Lady being the epitome of style and cool.

Of course like most people, I love seeing her dressed-up for formal events.  And she never disappoints.  Most recently she was stunning in a deep blue gown at the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.  Again, she's not afraid to accentuate her figure with wide tulle at the hem of the fitted gown.

And how could you not love a First Lady who goes to Target in a baseball cap, and no make-up.  How down to earth, as well as confident and comfortable she must feel to go shopping, looking just like the rest of us.

Love her, and love her style!

Gayle Fleming


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