President Obama came into his own finally at his congressional address. The only take-away worth mentioning? The bare arms of Michelle Obama, sleeveless at a formal occasion that wasn't black tie or cocktail. How novel. Especially in winter. The cultural importance of this has only escalated since. Slice it, dice it, deconstruct it. She is showing her power, bearing arms in a subliminal physical way. She is not, now, barely there. Not anymore. She is now bare-y big there. Mom-of-the-Moment.
If this is her winter way as she springs into position, what will happen as she warms to her position, flexes those (maternalistic as she sees her role) muscles, brandishing her arms to command our attention, sword-like in armament language, point us to her priorities. She, comfortable in her skin, seems to need no cover for her agenda. How nakedly refreshing? For a certain age?
She, standing in the White House in front of the picture of an old white guy for her official portrait, fresh white flowers opposing her darkness in arms and dress, takes you by the composition of it all through a statement. Follow the story with your eyes, from white to bare to that old president (slave-owning, yet), there, all in one lovely arc of a visual statement. The language of flowers is even a subtle statement: white is virginal, new, a symbol of unity. White lilies? Purity, innocence, majesty.
Subtle and simple, all in a little black dress. Coup de gras.
Nothing like it, ever before. As fashionably relevant and significant as Jackie O leaving off the hat.
And that is that.
Update: I wanted to throw in this cover of the March 5 New Yorker, for the distinctive and highly unusual one that it is, not for the fact that it is Michelle Obama illustrated on the cover thrice - as though on a fashion show runway, but for the simple fact rarely do caricatures of people grace the cover. But, like a lot of magazines, she seems to be hitting the mag covers. Let's see. Barbara Bush was known for her trademark: pearls and natural, not colored white hair. Laura Bush... hmmm. Nothing comes to mind. Hillary Clinton as First Lady? Her legs and ankles are not her most becoming feature and her hairstyles never seemed to work and flatter and she was late to find her trademark look. It took H. Clinton a while to find her style -pansuits and a short hairdo.
Update2: Gosh. I just pulled my New York Magazine out of the mail box and there she is! Another cover! I'm blogging this as new news announces that she's on the cover of O! with Oprah. Oprah's never shared that spot on the cover. So here's that cover, right. I can't think of anyone - can you - that has made this many covers so quickly. ???! Especially when her position is the Mrs. job?