August 2, 2012

"Ann Romney slammed for $990 Shirt, Michelle Obama praised for $6,800 jacket."

What a sharply tailored double standard!

But let's take a closer look. Michelle Obama was consorting with royalty and representing the United States at a very posh event of the highest importance to Great Britain. Her clothes had to express our country's respect. They had to be completely appropriate and a thorough defense against criticism, as she would be minutely examined by hundreds of millions of persons, many of whom love to slag her, especially when they get their hands on pictures of her next to Kate Middleton, the #1 fashion icon in the world, whom the Brits love to fawn over and adore. Do you think that's was all narcissistic fun for Michelle? Remember last time she was photographed with Kate? Everyone went wild over Kate's simple beige dress, while Michelle stood there in something very shiny and colorful that ended up looking really awful. There was a lot of pressure to get it right this time, and she did. It was pretty, it was flattering, it was not overly showy, and it was appropriate for the occasion.

Ann Romney was going on TV in that $990 short. It was just another public appearance. She needed to look pretty and appropriate, but there was no gala event and no anticipation of comparisons with other women. She could have worn a $25 long-sleeved black top and been perfectly fine. No one would have thought to ask about it. But she wore a top with a giant photograph of a yellow fish printed across her chest. Of course everyone's going to talk about it. Naturally, we found out the price of the shirt. We wanted to know all about it. It was so in our face, that fish face. Ann Romney and her stylists chose to make us talk about her fish shirt. They knew many of us would be flummoxed by the style, that we'd hear the price, and we'd be all you paid a thousand dollars for that?! It's not just that the very rich lady wears thousand-dollar shirts. It was that particular shirt. It shouted at us that she wanted to be judged as a style icon. She wanted to stir it up. Maybe she wanted at least some of us to think: It will really be fun to have her as our First Lady.

In short: This isn't proof of a double standard. The 2 things compared are not equivalent. (And I'm currently really disgusted with the extreme pro-Obama bias in the press. It was going to be the first thing I blogged about this morning, but I got distracted. So I am absolutely not a defender of the neutrality of the press.)

106 comments:

Fen said...

She could have worn a $25 long-sleeved black top and been perfectly fine. No one would have thought to ask about it.

Boy are you naive this AM.

For me, a good shirt for a TV appearance would be ~ $120. Oh, $40 for the tie, another $400 for the suit.

Whats the last outfit you wore for a TV interview? What did it cost? I doubt its $990 but it can't be that far off.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So at what price level do jackets stop being disrespectfully tacky? $5000 or thereabouts?

tim maguire said...

It's called working backwards from a conclusion.

Having read as many judicial opinions as you have, I'm sure you know it well.

The Drill SGT said...

Fen,

OT a bit, I remember being a young officer. The Bn Cdr's wife used to educate the young brides on social dressing. They all spoke of their various uniforms. The most classic was the simple black dress with a single strand of pearls. Workable for a wide range of events.

Things are more complicated for women. But yeah, looking in my closet, I see a lot of dark pinstripe suits :)

Matthew Sablan said...

Someone needs to start a blog comparing what the male candidates are wearing with running totals for both. I think it would be funny seeing the radical price differences in suit jackets. It'd also be nice for the media to spend their time criticizing the actual, you know, candidates.

Balfegor said...

Remember last time she was photographed with Kate? Everyone went wild over Kate's simple beige dress, while Michelle stood there in something very shiny and colorful that ended up looking really awful.

Y-es. The link says the Duchess's dress was $340; the First lady's gaudy getup was probably many times that the first go-round too. Money can't buy taste. For either the Obama's or the Romney's/ But I suppose I'm not really the audience for that kind of thing -- other women are.

Balfegor said...

Hmm. Those are possessives which should plurals. Oops.

Patrick said...

That fish shirt was truly, truly awful. How awful? So awful that I would know how awful it was. Mrs. Obama's $6800 get up did look nice, but I fail to see why she could not have looked as nice for a measly $1000. But I don't really care how much rich people spend on their clothes. I don't care what rich people do with their money. I care what they intend to do with mine.

Bob Ellison said...

But she wore a top with a giant photograph of a yellow fish printed across her chest.

Wow! I hadn't seen that. That's just plain weird!

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I'm just glad Romney's wife didn't wear $500 sneakers to a homeless shelter. No one but an out of touch evil 1 precenter would do anything that tacky.

ndspinelli said...

Cat fight!

Jay said...

There was a lot of pressure to get it right this time, and she did.

Pretending you have to spend $9,000 to "get it right" is silly & ridiculous.

chickelit said...

Just imagine the huge outpouring of public support (not to mention the PR coup) if FLOTUS were to "accidently" let slop a big dollop of Chick Fil-A mayonnaise on that dress!

Heads would explode! The earth's polls would reverse!

Sadly, it won't happen.

glenn said...

With the possible exception of a couple of our Italian exchange daughters any woman who stands next to Kate Middleton is going to look ..... ummm ..... how bwst to say this .... tacky. Sorry girls, Kate's a hottie.

carrie said...

But Michelle has spent a lot on pricey clothes throughout Obama's term, including casual clothes, and has gotten a pass from the press. I bet that Michelle has a $900 shirt in her wardrobe that she has worn at casual events. McCain's wife and now Ann Romney get criticized for whatever they do and the press just waits for an apples to oranges times to bring up the issue.

Fen said...

Mrs. Obama's $6800 get up did look nice, but I fail to see why she could not have looked as nice for a measly $1000. But I don't really care how much rich people spend on their clothes. I don't care what rich people do with their money. I care what they intend to do with mine.

Thats a good point. Ann Romney can afford her own clothes, Michelle Obama makes us pay for hers.

I understand we want the First Lady to be presentable, but with the economy in the tank (thanks to her husband) she doesn't need to spending $ 7,000 on a jacket.

Dose of Sanity said...

I've got to say - I hate the idea of clothes that expensive, under any circumstances - without some explanation of price. (By that I mean, if it includes materials which have a high base expense, like diamonds).


I've never had to dress up to meet the Queen, but I'm sure I'd be wearing something expensive.

The REAL double standard here is that no one ever talks about the price of the suits the guys are wearing.

Why should we care what the price of the outfits the women wear, unless its bought with someone else's money?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Looks more like a bird than a fish to me.

Mogget said...

If Mrs. Obama bought that $6800 thing with her money, no worries. I thought it looked remarkably ugly, but tastes do differ. But I find it hard to believe that the FLOTUS can't find an appropriate blouse for less than $6800.

BarryD said...

"I bet that Michelle has a $900 shirt in her wardrobe that she has worn at casual events."

I'd bet she has a $900 t-shirt she's worn to the gym. And I don't care.

Ann Romney has some overpriced shirt from some designer. If you go to shops in resort towns and the like, you see that this is par for the course. She didn't take any money from ME to get it, so I don't give a crap.

elkh1 said...

Standard or no standard. It's no one's god damned business. They paid for their clothes with their own money. Why did no one comment on the men's Brooks Brothers, Hugo Boss, Savile Row, or whatnots tailored suits?

Ann, are you serious that $6800 jacket was pretty? Have to admit the thousands she spent on the outfits to see the Queen's daughter-in-law was much much worse. In that meeting, Kate's dress was the "cheapest", less than a thousand dollars cheap, and the prettiest. Mrs. Cameron's $2000 dress accentuated her middle aged woman's bulges. Michelle's thousand-plus was clownish.

Ann Althouse said...

"The link says the Duchess's dress was $340; the First lady's gaudy getup was probably many times that the first go-round too. Money can't buy taste."

If Michelle had worn the dress Kate wore, people would have had a nervous breakdown.

That dress worked for Kate because:

1. Kate is stick thin.

2. She is showing off by not showing off and being royal by presenting herself as a woman of the people.

Michelle can't do either of those things. She needs to be very careful about handling the idiosyncrasies of her shape, which people will talk about no matter what she does. And if she wore a plain dress, people would think she was being disrespectful and inappropriate.

To chalk that up to "taste" is to miss the radically different position these 2 women are in.

And both women have their devoted fans, who I think are delusional.

Brent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dose of Sanity said...

That's an interesting question: Does the President and first family get an allowance for clothes? Are they allowed to accept donated clothes?

(Because, even if that does retail for 6800 - im sure the designer gave it to her for free)

Brent said...

I am a straight man.

We could not care less about this.

carrie said...

Michelle likes $2,700 sweaters http://freebeacon.com/the-first-lady-has-nice-clothes/

Ann Althouse said...

"Just imagine the huge outpouring of public support (not to mention the PR coup) if FLOTUS were to "accidently" let slop a big dollop of Chick Fil-A mayonnaise on that dress!"

Must we bring Monica Lewinsky into everything?

Dose of Sanity said...

Are there any straight men that could care less about this?

Anyone?

Please.


I always knew that hardcore republicans figured foxnews was gay.

edutcher said...

You'd think for all the money she spends, Moochelle could find stuff that looks better on her (yeah, the jacket wasn't that bad...).



Since she's had to give up Vacation Summer, the optics aren't quite as bad, but you'd think Axelrod & Plouffe would have better sense.

Unless they're as scared of her as Choom.

DADvocate said...

This isn't proof of a double standard. The 2 things compared are not equivalent.

It's not? You failed to convince me. Ann Romney's need to make a good impression, which she did for about 14% of the cost of Michelle's clothes, is just as great, although for different reasons.

If the press even approached objectivity, neither woman's blouse would be an issue. But, they can't help themselves in trying to portray the Romneys as part of the eeevul rich who went out and earned their wealth.

wyo sis said...

It wouldn't be an issue at all if Obama's pet media didn't make it an issue. Since the do make it an issue, they have a lot of nerve getting worked up when the issue goes against them.
This is the reason for the Chick-fil-a push back, the dog eating comedy, the Choom gang, and all the other distractions. Obama's chosen method of campaigning, and that's all he ever does, really, is to find a way to make his enemies look bad. If that's the way he rolls, that's the way he will be treated in return.
As a conservative, I'd prefer to concentrate on issues. We're clear winners on that front. But, we have this incessant background noise from the left and we've learned from the last campaign that ignoring it doesn't work.

Ann Althouse said...

"I bet that Michelle has a $900 shirt in her wardrobe that she has worn at casual events."

It's not that AR's shirt cost $900. It's that it was a shirt we were going to notice, investigate, and discover cost $900.

You could have tops that cost $20, $200, and $2000, and -- on TV -- from a distance, they don't look that different.

AR's shirt was in-your-face odd. If it had been a classic white blouse, it could have been $20, $200, and $2000 and there would have been nothing to talk about.

She chose to be talked about. There's nothing to feel like protecting her from.

Ann Althouse said...

"I bet that Michelle has a $900 shirt in her wardrobe that she has worn at casual events."

It's not that AR's shirt cost $900. It's that it was a shirt we were going to notice, investigate, and discover cost $900.

You could have tops that cost $20, $200, and $2000, and -- on TV -- from a distance, they don't look that different.

AR's shirt was in-your-face odd. If it had been a classic white blouse, it could have been $20, $200, or $2000 and there would have been nothing to talk about.

She chose to be talked about. There's nothing to feel like protecting her from.

BarryD said...

"Michelle can't do either of those things."

Well, I agree with you, there. "Not showing off and being a woman of the people" is not really in her repertoire.

Personally, I wonder why we don't just have a White House clothing designer. Tailor up some clothes to make everyone look good. Diplomacy does seem to require this, and it might be cheaper than buying off-the-rack $6800 sweaters to wear once.

Ann Althouse said...

"Boy are you naive this AM. For me, a good shirt for a TV appearance would be ~ $120."

No, you are naive. Have you ever gone to Walmart or Target? Find a plain black long-sleeved knit top for a woman who will wear it with a nice necklace and her hair and makeup done prettily. Then get back to me.

Ann Althouse said...

"Personally, I wonder why we don't just have a White House clothing designer. Tailor up some clothes to make everyone look good. Diplomacy does seem to require this, and it might be cheaper than buying off-the-rack $6800 sweaters to wear once."

Don't you like private enterprise? You want the government to take over everything, including fashion?

Patrick said...


You could have tops that cost $20, $200, and $2000, and -- on TV -- from a distance, they don't look that different.


Which will always make me wonder: Why the hell would you go for the $2000 version?

Ann Althouse said...

"Pretending you have to spend $9,000 to "get it right" is silly & ridiculous."

Wait. What's wrong with people who have money spending it on material things they need at a quality level that they like?

holdfast said...

Michelle Obama wore $500 sneakers to a homeless shelter.

$500 sneakers - who owns those besides rappers, NBA players and their respective entourages?

BarryD said...

"You could have tops that cost $20, $200, and $2000, and -- on TV -- from a distance, they don't look that different."

Not true. TV makes things look more different, not less so. Then there's HDTV, the standard now. 1080p on a big screen (rapidly becoming a standard-size screen) makes every wrinkle show.

Fit matters, too. I'm wearing a Ralph Lauren polo shirt right now. I try to get them when there's a sale, but the regular price at Macy's is $85 for a glorified t-shirt. But you know, the things actually FIT, they last nearly forever, they don't get stained, and they're really comfortable.

A polo shirt from Wal-Mart is not the same, and it doesn't look the same, even on TV, even from a distance.

edutcher said...

One more point, this was on "Hannity" a couple of nights ago and I have to agree with them that it is sign of a double standard.

OK, a woman would say meeting with Kate and Pippa is not the same as doing one of the morning shows, but the issue is how extravagant the clothes are. Moochelle could have worn something a little less costly to show solidarity with her peeps.

Fact is, the Chooms are the ones into livin' large more than the Romsters and we all know and the Chooms ought to be dinged for it.

traditionalguy said...

On CNN the War on Romney is going warp speed focusing on open ridicule for Mitt, Ann, their horse, and the sin of being rich.

The CNN News today was a series of hit pieces done with amused giggles by female news babes at the ineptitude of the weird and out of touch Romneys. It was a veritable campaign donation.

But that's the best the Obama Campaign can hope for. Real news is all negative for their candidate.

NPR was excited into a frenzy this morning that Romney said he wants to balance the budget using tax cuts...why that must mean elimination of some deductions which is a covert tax increase. Ah ha.

Ann Althouse said...

"Which will always make me wonder: Why the hell would you go for the $2000 version?"

If people realize how much more cheaply they could live and be just as happy, the economy is never going to recover.

Richard Dolan said...

Ann's whole shtick here has a pre-feminist feel to it, the sort of thing only a woman would write.

The argument that the two situations are not comparable is that Mrs. O had to wear something fancy and expensive given her position and the occasion, while Mrs. R could have worn any old shmata for the TV interview. But both women knew they would be in the spotlight, and had to dress with that in mind. A flashy blouse might have missed the fashion mark (it didn't flatter Mrs. R, and in fact detracted from her natural good looks), while Mrs. O's dress seemed just right and looked good on her. All of that is just typical 'red carpet' commentary -- but does nothing to support the claim that the two situations weren't equivalent when the 'spotlight' factor argues strongly that they were.

And, besides, what woman doesn't want to be noticed for looking good at high profile events? I haven't met too many, even if sometimes they miss the mark.

Marshal said...

"The 2 things compared are not equivalent."

No two things are ever equivalent, and the differences are always meaningful to those who want them to be. MO was in a different situation than AR, but did it require 7 times the cost with our money instead of personal money (a presumption on my part - I believe it highly likely the government pays for clothes for state functions)? Why not report both and let people decide if that difference in circumstance and scale matters in their judgement?

Whether or not these two circumstances are the same the media is attacking AR over her clothing. An attack the left decries as sexist when not used in advancing leftist politics.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Wait. What's wrong with people who have money spending it on material things they need at a quality level that they like?

You tell us. Bearing in mind that "people" does include Ann Romney.

Chip Ahoy said...

The fish makes me want to cast to see how close I can get. So the whole time I'm looking at the fish and not paying attention to anything else. Mesmerized by the fish.

Patrick said...

If people realize how much more cheaply they could live and be just as happy, the economy is never going to recover.

I remember being surprised at how little interest my kids had in toys when they were small. they liked things to hold and all that, but made no distinction between "toys" and plastic containers.

Now, well, let's just say that we've got lots and lots of Legos.

wyo sis said...

It's a bird.

Ann Althouse said...

"A polo shirt from Wal-Mart is not the same, and it doesn't look the same, even on TV, even from a distance."

I'm not talking about a polo shirt that has been worn a bunch of times. I'm talking about something absolutely plain and black.

Remember when Sharon Stone wore a black GAP turtleneck to the Oscars?

Sharon Stone supposedly has an IQ of 154 (or is it 148?).

BarryD said...

"Don't you like private enterprise? You want the government to take over everything, including fashion?"

Hell, I'm probably more of a free-enterpriser than you, even. I was thinking that this could be a contract gig for a good designer, and not a full-time one. In-house government designs would likely be terrible, anyway. I mean that this is something that a top designer could do for a year stint.

I don't know who paid for Michelle's sweater. I guess I assume that you and I did. Maybe not.

The bottom line? If the purpose of a sweater is diplomacy, then it's important to have the right sweater. It's important to the country. If it's just Michelle's personal wardrobe, bought with money the Obama's themselves made, uh, somehow, then I wouldn't want to replace that with a contracted designer.

Balfegor said...

And if she wore a plain dress, people would think she was being disrespectful and inappropriate.

Really? Consider the Queen, though -- she's a dumpy old woman, and she basically always wears those plain pastel coloured dresses when out in public. Sometimes it's a plain, white, ankle-length gown with subtle detail (probably lace or something like that) for fancy-dress balls (I think?). And I guess she has a crown she wears sometimes, but it's all actually quite plain. I don't think Michelle Obama would suffer from wearing a plain dress -- indeed, I think she tends to look much better that way (the one on the left, for that last link). If I were her style consultant, I would advise her that she should

1. avoid dividing the upper and lower halves of her body with two different colours (because she's not tall and stuper-thin, just big all around, and the contrast draws extra attention to this),

2. avoid large areas with strong colour contrasts and loud colours in general other than as highlights (again, her height makes them look extra garish when she's next to smaller women),

3. avoid knee-length dresses that flare out (they make her look silly), and

4. avoid large areas of ornamentation -- concentrate them on small areas, like jewelry around the neck or a corsage or whatever -- except where the ornamentation is subtle and part of a fabric pattern.

Of course, she's not dressing to suit my taste, but her own, which is clearly very different.

Marshal said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Pretending you have to spend $9,000 to "get it right" is silly & ridiculous."

Wait. What's wrong with people who have money spending it on material things they need at a quality level that they like?"

Good question, so why is AR being attacked over it?

traditionalguy said...

Speaking of Walmart, we need to see Arkansas Hillary in tight jeans and tank top. She would be the bitter clingers, obese division, style leader.

vza said...

Weignsia"Ann Romney and her stylists chose to make us talk about her fish shirt."

Good grief.

Patrick said...

Good question, so why is AR being attacked over it?

Because the shirt was horrid. It was loud, ugly and expensive. Wear something noticeably ugly, and people will talk.

BarryD said...

"Remember when Sharon Stone wore a black GAP turtleneck to the Oscars?

Sharon Stone supposedly has an IQ of 154 (or is it 148?)."

Uh, Sharon Stone's "fuck you" to others in Hollywood was a statement. It was "I'm HOT! I'm SO HOT that I don't need to wear some designer rag to get attention."

And you gotta love her for that. It wouldn't be appropriate in a diplomatic setting, though.

She also looked great in a dirty, ratty old night shirt, in The Quick and the Dead. So she has some natural advantages, too.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

She could have worn a $25 long-sleeved black top and been perfectly fine. No one would have thought to ask about it.

True! They would have been too busy making snide remarks about the Romneys being a bunch of rich cheapskates!

David said...

Do the Obamas pay for these clothes? Full price? Any price? If not it's a public issue. If they pay for them, it's not an issue--just a curiosity.

Michelle looked terrific in the outfit she wore to see the Queen. I really don't give a damn how much it cost as long as she and Barack pay for it.

Marshal said...

"Patrick said...
Because the shirt was horrid. It was loud, ugly and expensive. Wear something noticeably ugly, and people will talk."

It didn't bother me at all.

BigFire said...

Ann Romney paid for her shirts from her own pocket. Michelle's shirts was paid from Whitehouse budget, which means we all paid for it. That's the difference.

Jay said...

Ann Althouse said...


Wait. What's wrong with people who have money spending it on material things they need at a quality level that they like?


Nothing.

But that wasn't what I said.

Why don't you tell us what the minmium price point is to "get it right" Ann?

$8,500?

wyo sis said...

"loud, ugly and expensive"

The theme of every fashion runway event.

The Godfather said...

Holy shit! You mean the Romneys are rich? Why wasn't I told?

And the Obamas too?

Please tell me Gary Johnson is poor, or I won't have anyone to vote for.

Kansas City said...

Ann's defense does not see the forest. The comparison is not just Michelle's top this time to Ann's top recently. Michelle wears fancy and expensive clothes all the time, and the press says not a word. Ann wears one expensive blouse and it is a big deal.

I am not without sympathy for Michelle. She is a huge woman and it must be very hard to find clothes that look attractive. But she always has seemed to have an attitude of entitlement that makes her fancy clothes a little harder to take. But overall, I would prefer if the press ignored the price of clothes worn by both spouses.

rhhardin said...

Five t-shirts costs $20.

Women's stuff costs a lot more because they're clothes nuts.

Comanche Voter said...

You're cutting Moochelle way too much slack.

YoungHegelian said...

I'm sorry, but I just can't get worked up over something like this. It seems to be a lose-lose proposition for every woman in the public eye.

After the treatment of both Hillary Clinton & Sarah Palin by the commentariat (especially the distaff side) I now know that's there's no level of bitchdom that won't sink to.

Whatever they've got to say, I don't care to hear.

David said...

Am I missing something? Does Michelle Obama get a tax funded clothing allowance? I don't think so. If she does, it's a real scandal.

The question is whether she is paying for this stuff at all, or getting a big discount because the designers want her to be wearing their stuff. I have no idea whether that is happening. Nor does anyone else, I think. The lapdog journalists won't touch it.

I'm glad Michelle works hard to look good. It's part of her job and she could look awful with the wrong clothes because she's far from having an off-the-rack figure. But she and Barack are wealthy now and are going to be Rich Rich Rich when he leaves the presidency. Let them pay for their own.

Roger J. said...

This post is a wonderful example of pole vaulting over a mouse turd

chickelit said...

Release the 3+ years of the WH clothes budget.

It's obvious FLOTUS is hiding something!

Bryan C said...

"The REAL double standard here is that no one ever talks about the price of the suits the guys are wearing."

Women like to talk about clothes and how much they cost. Men, not so much.

Plus, most men's suits pretty much look the same. Sure, there are differences between a moderately-priced off-the-rack suit and am expensive custom-tailored one, but you'd have to point out the specifics for most guys (including me) to even notice.

Richard Dolan said...

Not so long ago (well, maybe), Nancy Reagan was razzed by the MSM for her clothes. If I recall rightly, a lot of her outfits were given/loaned to her by designers eager to showcase their wares at fancy events (by having NR wear them). There was a lot of criticism of Nancy -- the usual stuff, from the usual suspects, about rich Repubs taking advantage, trying to get something for nothing by using a gov't connection, not paying taxes on the value of the clothes, etc.

Funny, there doesn't seem to be any similar curiosity by the press now. But, Ann assures us, there is no media bias in any of this. I'm convinced -- how can any of you be skeptical?

Freeman Hunt said...

Obama got the better deal.

Dante said...

"Ann Romney was going on TV in that $990 short."

Did you mean shirt.

Maybe this is all part of a bigger plan.

Here is one reviewer's take on the designer. My take? Fashion is way too hard for me to discern, with all its subtleties. Perhaps that Reed is not gay made this shirt a bargain:

Everything Reed Krakoff does has a very distinct singularity about it. Reactions to his sudden appearance on the luxury market have been equally singular: His clothes, his handbags, all have a distinct lilt of a kind of new modernity very heavily under the influence of the current voque for steam-punk faux neo industrialism, but thankfully, not obviously so: Evoking Bauhaus, a kind of German undertone, and a not particularly easy to define austerity that has had most fashion editors using the words "Military-Inspired" to describe it. It is true that the man has a kind of austerity about him--his entire "universe" is so very sleek, even ironically somehow threatening. Reed Krakoff is a confident designer and it shows in everything he touches; many have equated this very strong hand and specific tastes to a kind of nouveau arrogance. The fact that Reed Krokoff himself is straight, not particularly handsome nor bubbly has not helped to endear him in any way to the fickle fashion press: Were he younger, openly gay and physically attractive it is certain that the world would be screaming about the advent of a new great American Heritage Life style Brand: But they're not.

http://www.basenotes.net/ID26132033.html

Hagar said...

This is silly.

Ann Romney pays for all her clothes.

Michelle probably pays for some, those that she chooses for herself and wear daily.

For occasions, she would be like Johnny Carson and his sports coats with the pockets still sewn shut.
The occasion over, and the stuff goes back on the rack as "slightly used" (and at a discounted price since it must be anonymous).

Marshal said...

"David said...
Am I missing something? Does Michelle Obama get a tax funded clothing allowance?"

The office of the first lady has a budget. I couldn't find anything that identifies the budget by line item (there are some lists of staff and salaries), but I would be surprised if it doesn't cover special attire for official state functions.

The Drill SGT said...

Bryan C said...
Women like to talk about clothes and how much they cost. Men, not so much.


How about "not at all". Two women with close to the same outfit? a crisis.

Two men with close to the same suit? One walks up to the other and says, "nice suit". The other smiles, and says, "you too"....

Dante said...

Remember when Sharon Stone wore a black GAP turtleneck to the Oscars?

Sharon Stone supposedly has an IQ of 154 (or is it 148?).


Remember when Sharon Stone flashed her jelly roll for all to see in a movie?

"For many years, Stone maintained that she had an IQ of 148 and was a member of Mensa, but in April 2002, she admitted she was not, and had never been, a member of that society"

Wikipedia.

One of the reasons she was not granted custody of her son:

"Another example of an overreaction is that Mother suggested that Roan should have Botox injections in his feet to resolve a problem he had with foot odor. As Father appropriately noted, the simple and common sense approach of making sure Roan wore socks with his shoes and used foot deodorant corrected the odor problem without the need for any invasive procedure on this young child."

Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/260563#ixzz22P5qgQlB

She sure looked hot, though.

Roger J. said...

Re Sharon Stone: hot overcomes intelligence on any given day

Andy R. said...

The important thing to remember is that prominent women in business or politics should be discussed in terms of their physical appearance. This includes what they wear, how they do their hair and makeup, and how much they weigh.

lemondog said...

It’s not a fish, it’s a bird....... and thank goodness she didn’t opt to wear the

full outfit.

Rusty said...

Ann Althouse said...
"The link says the Duchess's dress was $340; the First lady's gaudy getup was probably many times that the first go-round too. Money can't buy taste."

If Michelle had worn the dress Kate wore, people would have had a nervous breakdown.

That dress worked for Kate because:

1. Kate is stick thin.

2. She is showing off by not showing off and being royal by presenting herself as a woman of the people.

Michelle can't do either of those things. She needs to be very careful about handling the idiosyncrasies of her shape, which people will talk about no matter what she does. And if she wore a plain dress, people would think she was being disrespectful and inappropriate.

To chalk that up to "taste" is to miss the radically different position these 2 women are in.

And both women have their devoted fans, who I think are delusional



See. This is something that means a whole lot to women.
With guys it's,"Nice tie." "yours too." "How about those Brewers?"
With guys its; "Is my fly open?"

Roger J. said...

I agree with AndyR (gasp)--the emphasis on what women politicians wear is sad. No one comments on male attire (except david brooks and sharply creased trousers.

Thank gaia that Margaret
Thatcher, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, and Her Majesty the Queen arent subject to this petty carping. And Her Majesty the Queen still continues to wear hats.
God Save the Queen.

Darrell said...

I don't know (couldn't find a reference) if Reed Krakoff donates any of the profits of the The Reed Audubon Silk Shirt to the named society, but wouldn't it be nice if birds started dumping on those dumping on Ann Romney as a thank you?

ricpic said...

Mrs. Obama's get up did look nice, but I fail to see why she could not have looked as nice for a measly $1,000. But I don't really care how much rich people spend on their clothes.

Neither do I. But I suspect that Michelle's husband didn't open his checkbook to pay for that $6,800 dress. Does anyone here know whether that dress was purchased by either Barry or Michelle? Or was it purchased by the taxpayer? If it was purchased by the taxpayer it's obscene. Legal, I'm sure. But obscene.

And it would be just as obscene should our next First Lady, Ann Romney, add to her wardrobe on the taxpayer's dime.

Jason Keenan said...

Disagree. Let's not take this thing "out of context." The context here is the media making fun of dressage, calling Romney a (potential?) felon for not paying his "fair share," and taking every opportunity to point out instances where the Romneys spend money. On the other hand, the media does NOT take every opportunity to address the many, expensive trips FLOTUS has taken, or the big spending and high income of the Obamas. This one example, viewed in total isolation, could MAYBE be explained away. But, looking at the total picture, it is yet another clear and unmistakable example of a double standard. Should we make a federal case of it? No. But let's not pretend that this is all just some crazy right-wing conspiracy theory.

Freeman Hunt said...

It’s not a fish, it’s a bird....... and thank goodness she didn’t opt to wear the

full outfit.


Fancy!

Roger J. said...

Freeman Hunt: hows the little guy doing? must be three now and fully mobile, and leading Mom a merry chase

Jane said...

Anyone know -- actually know -- whether Michelle has a clothing allowance with which she purchases these clothes, or whether these are "gifts" from designers (and if so, whether she pays tax on these), or whether these come out of her own pocket? It makes a big difference.

Seeing Red said...

Did Meeeshell pay for it or was it donated?

It was a pretty jacket, she finally dressed appropriately.

That fish top was awful. If Mitt wins, the fashionistas must be salivating.

oldwahoo said...

Long time reader, first time poster.

This is not meant to be ideological in any way, but I always thought Laura Bush looked great when she made a public appearance.

Michelle, much more hit-or-miss

lemondog said...

I agree with AndyR (gasp)--the emphasis on what women politicians wear is sad.

Also agree but it is nothing new. The impression left in reading newspaper and other accounts of various First Ladies is:


Eleanor Roosevelt dowdy

Bess Truman dowdy

Mamie Eisenhower dowdy

Jacklyn Kennedy chic

Lady Bird Johnson unstylish

Pat Nixon cloth coat

Nancy Reagan expensive clotheshorse

Hillary Clinton piano legs and pant suit wearing

Bob Ellison said...

I still proudly wear the vaguely Asian-style shirt I bought at Walgreen's fifteen years ago for $10.

Amartel said...

Didn't the media start focusing on the price of the First Lady's clothing to get after Nancy Reagan? The fascination about the cost of the First Lady's or presidential candidate's wife's ensemble was born of another progressive class warfare attack. Ooooh, Ms. Hot Stuff is wearing expensive designer brands. Shame.
Venue is irrelevant to the issue but it's a convenient distraction and lets Mrs. Obama off the hook.

lemondog said...

I loooooved the tough big-nosed, pearl-wearing Golda Meir.

Would have been fascinating to see O up against Golda!

Heh, heh, heh...

Balfegor said...

I agree with AndyR (gasp)--the emphasis on what women politicians wear is sad. No one comments on male attire (except david brooks and sharply creased trousers.

Part of it is that there's something interesting you can say about what female politicians wear. Men all wear basically the same thing -- dark grey/navy suit. A white or pale blue shirt. A tie. You can comment on things like the position of the gorge, the roping on the shoulders, the number of buttons and vents, etc., but it's all going to be more or less the same. The difference between a cheap men's suit and a great men's suit isn't in the design, but the execution by the tailor or manufacturer, so there's less scope to talk about the suit as a kind of creative artifact. If male politicians wore designer suits with the shrunken lapels and all that, you can be pretty sure the media would comment (derisively, and with good reason).

When we see male politicians who do something even slightly unusual, there is attention paid. Thus, for example, there were articles on DC Mayor Adrian Fenty's hat. I vaguely recall that there were articles about Mayor Anthony Williams' Bow-Tie back when he was in office. And when Gore started wearing brown suits, there was a lot of comment. On the other hand, while slightly unusual in the US, some variations in the uniform can generally pass without comment. Thus, for example, I'm pretty sure I've seen Biden wearing braces and double-cuffs, but I don't think anyone ever comments on that.

To circle back, though, womens' formal, semi-formal, and business dress has not standardised at all (indeed, in some respects it may even be de-standardising), so there's a lot more to variation to work with in articles and they can be interesting as a result. Similarly with makeup and hair, men in public life all basically do the same. You can try and talk about which side they part their hair on, or make fun of them for spending so much money on haircuts, but because the look is so uniform, there's much less to talk about.

I'm not saying there's no gender bias, just that the gender bias in this case makes sense given the material journalists have to work with.

Balfegor said...

Sorry, that should be ex-Mayor Fenty.

Darrell said...

Hillary Clinton piano legs...

Never saw a piano held up by redwood stumps, but I haven't seen everything.

ed said...

@ Althouse

"In short: This isn't proof of a double standard. The 2 things compared are not equivalent. (And I'm currently really disgusted with the extreme pro-Obama bias in the press. It was going to be the first thing I blogged about this morning, but I got distracted. So I am absolutely not a defender of the neutrality of the press.) "

Oh bullpucky.

Remember Sarah Palin? Michelle Obama routinely wore $30,000+ designer dresses.

Sarah Palin wore regular clothing like many Americans and the GOP required her to go and upscale her wardrobe. For which the MSM lambasted her. And the MSM treated it as if it were the most reprehensible and unimaginable thing in the universe.

WaPo

There has always been a double standard and you damn well know it. Unless you're really trying to advance the theory that Ann Romney has some sort of obligation to wear a cheap shirt. Are you?

And what about all those other times when Michelle Obama was NOT consorting with royalty and still wore expensive outfits?

Frankly I don't come here for the posts. I come here for some of the comments people write. But I get the vibe from you that your objections and complaints about Obama are mere window dressing. A facade.

Cedarford said...

ed said...
@ Althouse

"In short: This isn't proof of a double standard. The 2 things compared are not equivalent. (And I'm currently really disgusted with the extreme pro-Obama bias in the press. It was going to be the first thing I blogged about this morning, but I got distracted. So I am absolutely not a defender of the neutrality of the press.) "

Oh bullpucky.

Remember Sarah Palin? Michelle Obama routinely wore $30,000+ designer dresses.

Sarah Palin wore regular clothing like many Americans and the GOP required her to go and upscale her wardrobe. For which the MSM lambasted her.

========================
Agree, the liberal and Progressive jewish masters of the media agenda is always to bash the Republicans.

(Shall we ALL admit that besides being either liberal or progressive jewish.....the vast majority of these Fashionista writers happen to be gay? As in as queer as a 3 dollar bill gay and in love with the Black Messiah)

And the Democrat writers can spin it either way.

1. Sarah Palin, who has helped family income by getting hands dirty catching & gutting fish, husband doing hard dangerous oil field work - are not "The Common folk". The media spin was they were white trash Wasilla hillbillies that were dressed up beyond their real station in life by RNC funds "that should have gone to feed the homeless". Unlike the Everyman and Everywoman Obama family, that is totally in tune with the average Joe and what his family wears.

Then the media spin goes the other way.

2. The Romneys are not white trash. But they are elitist and out of touch people that have nothing in common with salt of the earth Harvard Law grads like Michelle and Barack.

Bruce Hayden said...

Neither do I. But I suspect that Michelle's husband didn't open his checkbook to pay for that $6,800 dress. Does anyone here know whether that dress was purchased by either Barry or Michelle? Or was it purchased by the taxpayer? If it was purchased by the taxpayer it's obscene. Legal, I'm sure. But obscene.

If the Clintons were any example, most of those clothes are gifts, but not to the First Lady, as a person, but to the office. Otherwise, the Obamas (and Clintons, et al.) might have tax issues.

My memory is that Hillary! took some of the stuff given to her office, and shouldn't have. Along with some furniture, etc.

The reason that people give clothes, etc. to the first family is sometimes altruistic, but, I think more often, mercenary - what better advertising than the First Lady wearing your clothes?

This happens to every First Lady, but I think that Michelle and Hillary! were into wearing fancy clothes paid for by others far more than were at least the Bush wives.

BTW - keep this whole thing in mind whenever the subject of Palin's outfits comes up. Those were donated, to dress her up, and she didn't get to keep any of them. Little different in my mind, and maybe even better, that what we see with the First Ladies, since the upgraded wardrobe was a political necessity for Palin.

Amartel said...

Yeah, somehow donated expensive clothing worn by a Republican (Palin, Nancy Reagan) is always a BAD thing but donated expensive clothing on a Democrat is always a GOOD thing. Only the truly stupid can fail to see this double standard. It takes slightly more discernment to recognize a slightly different double standard, that the only reason we're even talking about the cost of other peoples' clothing is because the Democrats bring it up to stoke wealth rage (while their ladies continue to dress in expensive designer clothing).

I don't like either one of these outfits or Mrs. Romney and Mrs. Obama. That shirt on Mrs. Romney is kind of ... loud, and Mrs. Obama is too big (NOT a put-down) for that outfit. I think a woman in the public eye could just have some really nice well-tailored suits and rotate through them instead of trying to dress to designer standards. Condi always looked great and probably paid for her own clothes. (And they still found a way to criticize her - remember the shoe shopping incident? The cartoons? Gross!)

Thorley Winston said...

The reason that people give clothes, etc. to the first family is sometimes altruistic, but, I think more often, mercenary - what better advertising than the First Lady wearing your clothes?

Evidently, judging by the comments, Kate Middleton wearing them.

MayBee said...

Ann's defense does not see the forest. The comparison is not just Michelle's top this time to Ann's top recently. Michelle wears fancy and expensive clothes all the time, and the press says not a word. Ann wears one expensive blouse and it is a big deal.

Yes. To really make the comparison you need to go back to the 2008 election. Sarah Palin was given a clothes budget because she didn't have the wardrobe for a national audience. So reporters started talking about money and the women's clothes.
Cindy McCain was rich, so when she wore clothes people commented on the cost.
Vanity Fair famously wrote a blog post imagining how much Palin and McCain spent on their RNC dresses.

So...Michelle Obama, not yet the fashion icon, started making tv appearances in "affordable clothing", while simulatenously having a secret hush-hush clothing stylist from an expensive boutique in Chicago.
Michelle used the press to laud her pretend bargain shopping habits and the press used itself to criticize McCain and Palin's expensive habits.

While Barack has been in office, Michelle has continued to wear "affordable" clothing on tv appearances, and her people always make sure to get the word out. Never mind that her cheap H&M dress was actually custom-tailored into a different dress for her.
The press has not been espeically interested in the cost of Michelle's non-tv appearance wardrobe, but they are quick to laud her as a fashion icon.

To criticize Romney *specifically* for her tv appearance wardrobe cost, when the press and Michelle have teamed up to use tv appearances to mold her lady-of-the-people image is indeed risible.
That is how the press is using a ridiculous standard, if not a double standard.

Unknown said...

I think it's more appropriate for Michelle Obama to wear something that costs $2000.00 or less for the entire outfit. She made America look like a stupid high school teen who's trying to outdo and impress others with the latest clothes and shoes. Does she have anything to offer on the inside???

Michelle Obama is exactly like Marie Antoinette -- totally oblivious to the people's sufferings. I would not be surprised if people want to cut her head off.

Kate is naturally gorgeous, so there is no need for Michelle to compete, because she CANNOT WIN ANYWAY. So stop. Just represent the best of America, not trying to pretend to be someone you are not.