The New Fashionable First Family

By Kaleigh O'Brien

The hope and change that President Barack Obama has promised to bring to our country has already appeared in the fashions of the new First Family. As a refreshing change, the media has been highlighting the fashion choices of the President and his family. The New York Daily News believes that the Obamas have the power to “shake up the stuffy White House style.”

Before becoming First Lady, Michelle Obama was considered a fashion icon and was compared to the legendary Jacqueline Kennedy. Michelle is capable of having a classic First Lady look with a modern twist that actually shows her figure, making American designers like Jason Wu, Maria Pinto and Isabel Toledo household names. Setting trends even during the presidential campaign, when Michelle appeared on the talk show The View, the White House Black Market dress she wore sold out the following day. Commenting about her personal style, Michelle stated in the March 2009 issue of Vogue ,”First and foremost, I wear what I love. That’s what women have to focus on: what makes them happy and what makes them feel comfortable and beautiful. If I can have any impact, I want women to feel good about themselves and have fun with fashion.”

As for the President himself, Obama is also known for bringing a new look to the commander-in-chief position. Obama has been seen wearing luxurious Italian Ermenegildo Zegna suits and pieces from Hart Schaffner Marx of Chicago, who designed his inaugural tuxedo. The new president has already graced the covers of Men’s Vogue and GQ in the past year. Jim Moore, the creative director of GQ says of Obama: “There’s a very modern thinker there. He’s not the pattern-mixing guy, not even the khaki guy. You’ll very rarely even see him in jeans. He has an urbane, citified kind of palate. He has a vitality to him, and his image transcends race.” Because Obama has the ability to be cool yet business-oriented and fashionable, he has become a cultural and fashion icon. Obama has become a muse to some of the most well-known designers today. Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Isaac Mizrahi, Zac Posen, Narciso Rodriguez, and Vera Wang (to name a few) created pieces that were inspired by Obama for his “Runway to Change” campaign and were sold on his official website during the presidential race. Donatella Versace even dedicated her Spring-Summer 2009 menswear line to the President. Obama is the first president to be mentioned on the high-fashion runways.

Even the new first daughters are making their mark in the fashion world. Sasha and Malia Obama brought new life to J. Crew after they wore special-edition bright blue and orange pea coats at the inauguration. J. Crew’s official website crashed the following day, due to people searching for the coats and for Michelle’s now famous green gloves, all of which were designed exclusively for the Obamas. J.Crew’s stock reportedly went up 10 percent in the days following the inauguration, when it was revealed that these were J. Crew products. The exciting part is that because of the large number of requests for the items, J. Crew has decided to add the items to their fall 2009 line. Gerson & Gerson Inc. has even decided to rename one of its dresses “Sasha” after Sasha Obama wore it on election night and it quickly sold out. It seems that when an Obama wears something, it becomes an instant best-seller. It won’t be surprising if we see whole lines inspired by the First Family in the future at stores in our local malls.

The new look that the Obamas are creating with bright colors and brand names is helping to prove that politics can be exciting and interesting to follow. The Obama family is changing the way people actually see politics. The lifeless black suits and two piece dress suits now seem to be White House fashions of the past. The First Family is coming to be known for taking designer pieces and mixing them with affordable American brands like Gap and J. Crew. In this time of economic troubles, all families are looking for a way to cut expenses. The new First Family has had a great influence on the way Americans are spending their money without even realizing it. The retail stores where the Obamas shop are the same ones we can access and if buying budget is acceptable for the First Family, then it is certainly good enough for the average American shopper. Because it is easy for anyone to go out and dress like an Obama, it makes the general public relate even better to the First Family.

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