Michelle Obama Wore Skinny Jeans and I Sorta Died

Skinny jeans a pretty much a wardrobe staple these days, so why was I so surprised to see the first lady in 'em?
Publish date:
April 6, 2012
Michelle Obama, skinny jeans

Did you SEE Michelle Obama at the Kids Choice awards? You didn’t? Oh. Well, let me play it back to you.

Michelle O., also known as the first lady of the United States, walked -- no, strutted -- onto the Nickelodeon stage this past weekend in a deep V-neck metallic houndstooth top, pointy black patent leather stilettos, and a pair of slick, skin-tight metallic gunmetal skinny jeans.

Let’s focus on that last part -- skin-tight metallic skinny jeans!

Now, I’m not entirely comfortable with objectifying the first lady, but goodness -- she was poured into those pants. Fashion bloggers across the interwebs agree the mom-in-chief looked totally amazing. She also startled the hell out of me. Which is strange, you know? We’ve come to expect Michelle Obama to be on the edgier side of Washington fashion (which, having lived in Washington for 10 years, I realize is not hard to do). Furthermore, skinny jeans have more or less had their “moment” in the fashion world, and are now pretty much a staple in the closet of the average American woman. I’m in graduate school, and my classmates and I often rock skinnies on our most casual days. So why was I so surprised to see the first lady in my favorite wardrobe staple? If we've learned anything in the past three years of watching Mrs. O and her magical wardrobe, it’s that the rules of fashion are pretty strict when you’re the wife of a president. Granted, those particular rules aren’t actually written down anywhere, unless the wives of the Founding Fathers authored an early version of the Little Black Book of Style. But ever since Michelle and her super sheath dress appeared on the national stage, fashion critics and politicos alike have come to a consensus on what isn’t acceptable attire for residents of the White House. No bare arms. No bare legs. No designer sneakers.

One can only assume that “No skin-tight pants” would also be on the list. Which is why Michelle's liquid leggings entrance at the Kids Choice awards show startled me so. She was unapologetically trendy, and bold, and -- wait for it -- sexy! The First Lady of the United States is sexy, people! She's a FLIF? I was thrilled, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t clutch my pearls for a moment. And I wasn’t the only one.

“It was a cute outfit, but it was too on trend,” said a classmate of mine in Drexel University’s fashion program. “I guess I’m not used to a first lady looking so trendy. Then again, it was the Kids’ Choice Awards.”

That's the thing, the kids in the audience went wild when Mrs. Obama stepped on stage. They LOVED their fashionable FLOTUS and subsequently voted her the Best Dressed of the event. (Mrs. Obama, it turns out, has a high approval rating among the Nickelodeon demographic.)

Most surprising of all, though, is the silence of the politicos and pundits who usually take pride in panning the first lady’s fashion choices. In searching for commentary on her latest look, I found nothing but fashion blogs declaring that she either “rocked,” “killed it,” or “totally owned” the night.

If this were 2009, Mrs. Obama would have barely made it off the stage before some cable news talking head started picking apart her ensemble. In that first year of the Obama presidency, Michelle raised more than a few eyebrows. In August of 2009, esteemed fashion critic Robin Givhan said Michelle’s choice of rather short shorts were inappropriate for a first lady, even if she was returning from vacation. Naysayers also found Mrs. Obama’s Lanvin sneakers a bit too flashy, particularly when she was spotted wearing them at a food bank. And who can forget the obsession over those arms: How did she get them, and why on earth wouldn’t she cover them up? But fast forward to 2012, and here we are: Michelle Obama wears skinny jeans, and no one makes a peep.

Maybe the pundits got tired of making rules that she wouldn’t follow. Maybe the fashion world got the point when, after biting remarks from designer Oscar de la Renta, Mrs. Obama said, “Women, wear what you love.” Maybe none of the critics watch Nickelodeon and missed the skinny jeans all together. Whatever the case, it’s comforting to know that the first lady still hasn’t compromised her bold sense of style. And because of that, she’ll keep giving us delicious little surprises to feast on. So what that I died a little bit when I saw her, who wouldn't want a first lady who makes you feel so alive?