Obama's casual style makes her fashion's first lady

Thu Apr 2, 2009 12:37pm EDT
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - First Lady Michelle Obama has wowed fashion writers with her casual style, use of color and her penchant for the sleeveless dress at the G20 summit in the British capital this week.

Newspapers in Britain and the United States were united in their praise for Obama's sartorial choices for outings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife Sarah, an official reception with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace and dinner at Number 10 Downing Street.

The right-leaning Telegraph newspaper compared Brown unfavorably with Obama, saying the PM's wife had upped her fashion game after being upstaged by French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife Carla Bruni during an earlier visit from the French first couple only to be trounced by Obama this week.

"In her drab navy ensemble by Britt Lintner which she wore to the same engagement at Charing Cross Hospital, she paled in comparison to Michelle Obama, the fusty matron to the Glamazon," the Telegraph said.

And Obama has also put paid to those Americans fretting that the First Lady's fondness for baring her biceps might be embarrassing when she met with the British queen in a sleeveless number disguised with an elegant black cardigan. The queen wore pink.

"Changing into an elegant black-and-white Isabel Toledo dress from springy J.Crew pieces Wednesday in London, First Lady Michelle Obama showcased her versatility and officially became one of the fab four of the political fashion world in the modern era-joining Jacqueline Kennedy, French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Princess Diana," enthused the Chicago Tribune.

The cardigan came off after the G20 dinner at the official residence of the British prime minister to even more applause from the fashion pack, revealing the sculpted biceps that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd praised for being the "only bracing symbol of American strength right now."

The Chicago Tribune also reminded its readers that in 1961 Jacqueline Kennedy and the queen both wore sleeveless gowns with gloves for their dinner.   Continued...

<p>U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (R) and the wife of Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Sarah, visit Maggie's Cancer Caring Centre in west London April 1, 2009. REUTERS/Leon Neal/Pool</p>