Michelle’s #Bowdown Dress an Overrated Rare Mis-step

Regular readers know that while I generally wear rags, myself, I love fashion and sometimes write on it. When it comes to first ladies, I think Michelle Obama nails it more often than blows it, but I honestly am not getting all the media-gasping #bowdown fuss caused by this black and blue Carolina Herrera-designed gown she wore at last night’s State Dinner.

Bowdown-worthy? I don’t think so. The gown is nice enough, I guess; it doesn’t look comfortable, though. The skirt looks stiff and heavy, the black over-bodice seems movement-inhibiting and — much worse — it cuts right across the First Lady’s tummy, accentuating her hips and making her seem like she has a tummy, which I don’t believe she does. Mrs. Obama is very fit; this gown makes her seem less so. It’s “too-much-baggage” of a dress. Instead of Michelle Obama wearing the hell out of a dress, as she often does, this dress is wearing the hell out of her.

Dress, hair, make-up all seem like too much costuming, and it makes her look large, exhausted and rather old. I’m seeing the dress described as “regal”. The design might be, but Mrs. Obama doesn’t look regal in it, and that’s a shame because “regal” is precisely how I have described her in other styles:

Michelle Obama wearing Naeem Khan, State Dinner welcoming India, AP Photo Susan Walsh

Called her “regal” in this dress, too. In fact, this purple gown with the blingy green belt may be my all-time favorite gown on her.

Wearing Doo-Ri Chung at State Dinner welcoming South Korea. How GORGEOUS is she?

The grouping may not have been ready for the shot, but hair, makeup, dress — it’s perfection. She is youthful, sleek, commanding, stunning.

Put Mrs. Obama in something elegant and a bit slinky and she owns it, powerfully. Last night’s Herrera creation, unfortunately owned her.

I understand what she was going for — you’re the first lady, you’re hosting France, why not include a bit of haute couture? — but this was way too much dress for a figure best suited to softer draping and trimmer cuts. To me, all that #bowdown nonsense seems like over-compensation for a rare fashion mis-step.

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