December 9th, 2008
04:10 PM ET
14 years ago

Inauguration Day fashion

[cnn-photo-caption image="" caption="Obama will reportedly be wearing a tuxedo from suburban Illinois-designer Hart Schaffner Marx."]
(CNN) – The presidential inauguration party tops the list of formal affairs next January, and President-elect Barack Obama is rumored to be preparing for his big event: He’s believed to have ordered a simple and classic black tuxedo by the union-friendly suburban Illinois-designer Hart Schaffner Marx, a stylist to which the president-elect is said to be faithful, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But most likely all eyes will be on the future first lady’s outfit. So, what will Michelle Obama wear on her husband’s big day?

Women’s Wear Daily is featuring sketches by high-profile designers on its Web site of possible Inauguration Day outfits for Mrs. Obama and among the contenders are simple and classic designer Nicole Miller, the elegant and timeless Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, and the funky and youthful California-based fashionista Betsey Johnson.

And the Obama girls were not forgotten. The Web site features drawings of potential outfits for Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, from dressy skirted coats to children’s gowns.

Mrs. Obama, who is often compared to former first lady and style icon Jackie Kennedy, took some heat for her election night attire as she donned an attention-grabbing red and black Narciso Rodriguez shift dress.
The future first lady has said she often sports modestly priced labels like J.Crew and Donna Rico, and favors local Chicago designer Maria Pinto. But Inauguration Day could call for a pricier piece, and fashion’s elite are prepared. Whatever the future first lady decides for Inauguration Day, the fashion world will surely be watching.

soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. LillyGirl

    Michelle Obama is a genuine beauty; she doesn't need $$$$ dresses to be beautiful. Whatever she wears, she'll be radiant, as ever. This inagurational ball, more important and significant than any before, marks the shift in our country toward something better, braver and more beautiful. We'll all shine! Us for the Obama's, the Obama's for us. They're a beautiful family – I'm proud to be an American for the first time in a very long time.

    December 9, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Phil in KC

    OK, first of all, I don't really care all that much what Michelle Obama wears.
    That said, I think it would be a great gesture if she were to wear something off-the-rack and relatively inexpensive.

    December 9, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Love the Red but Blue is also good!

    These dresses are for the Inaugural Ball. So it doesn't matter that they are sleeveless since this event will be held indoors. I am sure that designers are also drawing proposals for the Suit/Coat/Hat for the swearing in Ceremony which of course, will be held outside.

    I, personally, like the red dress. I think Michelle would look stunning in it with her hair up. And standing next to Obama with his US made tuxedo, what a beautiful couple!!

    December 9, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Jackie in Dallas

    Artists renderings are always too thin...

    The ball dresses are for indoors, people. She doesn't need long sleeves or a coat indoors.

    And to repeat part of my earlier post for those who fail to grasp that neither the US taxpayers or the Inauguration Committee are paying for the gowns:

    Designers vie for the honor of dressing the First Lady, and either loan or outright give the clothes — a good marketing ploy for them, since most usually end up in the Hall of First Ladies. Several dozen designers were asked to design, and my understanding is that the future First Lady makes her choice, with a backup. And before people start whining about the "waste" involved, the fashion industry in this country is worth billions both nationally and internationally — and is one of the few not asking for a handout or a bailout. Supporting our fashion industry is actually one of the "jobs" of the First Lady…

    December 9, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Ron in Fort Worth

    In this case, the clothes don't make the person, the person makes the clothes. All of them are a great, loving family, and that's all that matters. They are the first family coming even close to normal. Michelle would look fine in a patato sack, because she is Michelle Obama. And their daughters are beautiful, as they exude the love their parents have shown for them.

    It's so nice to see a family that the average American family can relate to. Not the indulgent, wealthy, status symbol other first ladies we have seen in the past. But even then, if Michelle wanted to spend thousands more on her outfit, and Barack too, so be it. For this is historical, and they both deserve whatever makes them happy on this historical day.

    December 9, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Joanne

    No way is Michelle that thin. She would only wish. Kids are cute I will give her that.

    December 9, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Sherrol in Canada


    You're despicable and your irreverance is bar none. I can't believe your comment was released.


    It's just a designer's drawing, you dope....LOL

    December 9, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Mike Dallas

    While I do not know much about woman's ball gowns the second one that is red works for me(not the black and red, sorry that one did not work for me), and yes, we want a little glamour now and again, and Inaugration Day is certainly one of those times.

    Those saying we want a "regular" First Lady,let me refresh your minds, however, tiny it may be. The moose mom is back on the tundra either killing newborn bunnies in the warren for a stew, or trying to see how she can lure Neiman's to Anchorage with a tax incentive.

    December 9, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. steve r


    December 9, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. Patricia in Las Vegas

    what a bunch of idiot comments on this thread. First of all have some of you never seen a fashion sketch before? Obviously NOT. They are always enlongaged. And do some research on inaugural gowns before you make the stupid comparison to Palin's wardrobe during the campaign. The Smithonian is currently showing an exhibit of the former first ladies gowns because you idiots, this is about ART and HISTORY. The Obama's are truly attactive people and they will look fabulous on this historic event.

    December 9, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. To Erickk

    December 9th, 2008 1:31 pm ET

    Regardless of what she wears on inauguration day , Michelle Obama is as ugly as home made soap and no designer dress is going to fix it. Being as she's built like a man, perhaps she should look into nice suit.


    May be Michelle is a home made soap. Guess what, anything home made is good for you..........

    December 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Lasierra

    Not appropiate for the DC weather. Where are the coats?

    December 9, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Marguerite, NYC

    hey tony, dan, john, tony s, and the rest of you idiots – the obamas have paid for their own clothes & the designers donate the clothing for the inauguration – palin, on the other hand, dressed herself & her entire family with expensive clothing from the RNC's coffers! start using your brains before posting your garbage!

    December 9, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Faith Restored

    Some of the ignorance on this blog is exactly why we need a new direction for this country. To those who are remaining positive and offer an opinion on decency and not fear of losing entitlement of the lies so many have built their lives on in the "but I thought I was born into the the choosen, superior one" zone...thank you.

    December 9, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Clinton Fringer

    Will they be paying for these themselves or will the money come out of the DNC funds or the Obama campaign or just out of the general taxpayer fund? I personally would like to see a detailed receipt of the cost of the attire from the swearing in ceremeny and the balls.

    December 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Connor



    December 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Abyssinian Lion

    @white female December 9th, 2008 3:14 pm ET
    Thanks for your post. I despair sometimes when I read the blatant racist and hatred. Then I read your post, among others, that give me hope again for a Great-United Country. There seems to be about 15-20% haters out here still.

    December 9, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. America's standard

    To: Tim in VA
    Even if President elect should cancel the ceremony it wont give jobs back to those people you are talking about. The question is where is the current President? Busy buying homes in At least there could be only one President at a time.
    Get a life and see what is going to happen after the party.

    December 9, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Maggie SC

    Who is paying for the Obama's clothihng fior the inaugratation? Is it the same ones who paid for Sarah Palin's family? Will CNN haggle that out and make a fiasco out of whoi paind what, how much it cost and was it rented, was it pecially designed and all the nasty comment made about the clothing Governor Sarah Palin did not ask for, the Republican campaign did not pay for, the fact that her clothes were rented and she did not ask for them norf did she even wera most of them. It is rediculous for our governemnt to pay exhorbitant prices for clothing to wear at any White House funtion at this time of great financial crisis in our country. Why do we not get a choice of where it is purchased, how much is cost and what fabrics and so forth and so on. Why should all this publicity about the Obama's clothing? Gee.

    December 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    I think those of you right wing haters that complain about the cost tend to forget that both of the Obamas had very WELL paying jobs before he won the election. I am sure they can afford to buy their own clothes. Plus a president makes about $400 grand a year and the taxpayers don't pay for everything that any president has. You people would gripe about ANYTHING and it must be sad to be so biter.

    December 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. Larry Craig


    fyi... its about TIME we had a first lady who's body didn't look like an eight year old cambodian boy's body.

    Michelle got BACK....

    guess what.... the Brutha's are LOVIN' it...

    just ask your new PRESIDENT.


    December 9, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Market watcher

    She always walks with a hunch which is unbecoming for the First Lady. I hope she has a posture coach working overtime.

    December 9, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  23. Ian

    Your hard earned tax dollars at work. Talk about redistribution of wealth.

    December 9, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Larry Craig


    I'm pretty sure you are one of the people on here who get paid by the (hateful) comment.

    i think its..... every time you elicit an response .... you get a commission .

    is that how it goes....

    nice job.... really..... paid to hate..... put THAT on your resume

    December 9, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. Iowa Mom

    Clinton Fringer

    Will they be paying for these themselves or will the money come out of the DNC funds or the Obama campaign or just out of the general taxpayer fund? I personally would like to see a detailed receipt of the cost of the attire from the swearing in ceremeny and the balls.


    Did you also want to see receipts from the Bushes, the Clintons, etc.?

    December 9, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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