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.)