This morning it was the tease for the piece about Michelle Obama’s appearance in Vogue when Robin Roberts said (and I’m paraphrasing here) “why Michelle enjoys being the country’s newest style icon, but still considers her role as mom-in-chief her number one priority.”
Where to start?
While having a young, hip, stylish young family in the White House is cool, I’m not sure how excited I am about how everything regarding Michelle is focused on her role as “mom.” This is a highly-educated, former career woman (let us not forget she was once Barack’s boss!) who, hopefully, is going to use her position as the first lady to advocate for families; better benefits for working parents; promoting work/life balance. She’s been in the trenches as a working mom, but all we can focus on now is how she’s dressing and decorating the White House!
But what really made me laugh is the thought of what she could have said when asked about her priorities.
“Actually Robin, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a style icon for millions of Americans. The whole motherhood-thing was something to do in my spare time. In fact, I’m wondering when I can ship these kids off to military school.”
Of course, her priority is parenting over fashion – to say otherwise would have been weird.
Maybe the whole focus on Michelle’s wardrobe is because moms are supposed to be frumpy – they don’t call them “mom jeans” for nothing! If we are stay at home moms, we are supposed to be running around in our jogging outfits or mom jeans and a sweatshirt, barely taking time to wash our face and do our hair. If we are working moms, we may dress nicely, but our outfits are more practical (boring) than your average career gal.
But the times, they are a changing. I only have to look into my own closet to see it. Gone are my button-down shirts, power suits and multiple pairs of loafers. In their place, a sea of colorful blouses, fun jackets, and many (many) pairs of shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a mom on a budget, so most of my clothing comes from Target, Payless, Old Navy and Dress Barn (how terrible is that name? No one really wants to shop for clothing in a place called “Dress Barn”).
I knew my personal style transformation was “complete” when flipping through a recent copy of Real Simple. In an article titled “The Best Cardigans” was a picture of a pretty red and white flowered cardigan from Old Navy. A cardigan I had just worn up to the offices of Real Simple two weeks before!
(In the past the only magazine my clothing would have been ‘featured’ it would have been “Field and Stream”).
So, I hope Michelle keeps “representing” for moms everywhere who try to pull it together every day. But I also hope the world stops focusing so much on what Michelle is wearing, and listen to what she has to say.
I know I will be listening.