State of the Union: A Fashion Roundup

Each year, we gather, as the Constitution requires, to hear the President address the Congress regarding the state of the Union.  And this year, more than in the past, the post-address commentary revolved around the sartorial selections of our elected officials.  So here is a Capitol Hill Style, State of the Union Roundup. Don’t worry, this is a policy free zone.

This year Vice President Biden and Speaker Pelosi opted for purple.  Some commentators have cast their clothing choices as an attempt to subliminally signal an increase in bipartisanship.  You know, mix blue and red and get purple?  But since Pelosi often wears one of her two lavender suits to the State of the Union, I’m not sure that I buy it.  

As for the President, he opted for the traditional politician special, a dark suit with a red, power tie.  I guess you just don’t mess with a classic.  And the right side of the aisle seems to agree…

The photo by the numbers: 29 members, 28 dark suits, one khaki (?) suit, 17 white shirts, 11 blue shirts, one yellow shirt, a rainbow of ties and one pocket square.  Not a bad looking group; but there are a number of gentlemen in this photo who should fire their tailors.  

What can I say?  I love me some Isaac Mizrahi, so half-way through our SOTU drinking game, I was feeling a little flutter to see the First Lady wearing one of my favorite designers and my favorite color of all time, purple.  Or maybe that was just the tequila. 

Also, I’ve never been one to fall head over heels for Mrs. O’s fashion choices like my good friends over at the blog of the same name, but I’m kind of loving her new bob.  The haircut really softens her features and gives her a casual elegance.  I much prefer it to her old hairstyle which, at times, could be a bit harsh.  

So I guess the only thing that I would have changed was the pearls because the white is a little stark for me.  The dress would have been really fabulous with a black or oily grey statement necklace.  But I love the dress so much that I am willing to overlook it.

As for the other ladies in the crowd, The Cut pointed out the abundance of yellow on the Floor.  The fashion blog speculated that some of the ladies might have been making an effort to stand out (“I’m the one in the yellow suit!”) since red has become so popular.  Or maybe they were all just trying to keep the good vibrations from this week’s warm weather going as long as possible?  

While the State of the Union will never include a fashion pre-show like the Oscar’s, the style discussions will probably continue for as long as the Obama’s are in office.  But I don’t mind, it’s a nice break from the policy chatter.

Photos courtesy of The New York Times and Getty Images.



  1. Ms. B says:

    Does Pelosi not own another suit? My goodness…lavender/purple/ whatever color it is,
    the last half dozen times I’ve seen her in the press she has been wearing this sut. Perhaps she owns 5 of
    the in the same color. Geez!

    January 28, 2010/Reply
  2. Danielle says:

    The commentators on the Mrs. O blog drive me nuts…they go way over the top gushing about the First Lady and everything she wears. But I agree that this purple dress was gorgeous.

    January 29, 2010/Reply
  3. Tracy "AWashingtonWoman" Knighton says:

    Take it from "AWashingtonWoman" …. The First Lady does a fantastic job being true to her spirit, setting trends for others and looking appropriate as the wife of the President of the United States of America. If I could share one word of advice however, it would be to be careful about the various parts of your body and how different elements compliment or exaggerate. For example, she pulled off the outfit worn at The State of The Union Address but the petals and the stiff fabric was just shy of a disaster. She pulled it off but it was a close call (and I would bet it took sympathetic and creative camera shots to not show that blowing up the hips). That having been said, she is a tall and sizable woman…. so that should be taken into account. At the same time, I personally don’t believe in being a complete slave to fashion. So if you feel good (and clearly she does)… Go for it!

    January 29, 2010/Reply
  4. Princess Freckles says:

    I have to agree with AWashingtonWoman, Mrs. O often wears dresses that I think are a bit unfllattering to her body type. I LOVE the purple dress she wore to The State of the Union, but I’d like to see what she looks like in a sharp pencil skirt. The last two times I’ve seen her on tv she’s been in the same pleated, aline style worn very high on her natural waist.

    Pelosi needs some help!

    January 29, 2010/Reply
  5. Erica says:

    Michelle looked nice until she turned around…the skirt was so full in the back it didn’t camouflage her well endowed behind, it increased its massiveness. The color was great, I personally liked the pearls, and the bob is the best part…the backside did her no favors.

    January 29, 2010/Reply
  6. Laura says:

    I like the style that Pelosi has adopted, but I do think that the purple suit must be her favorite! I have seen several variations of it- trousers and skirt. I believe it was the skirt version she wore to the SOTU.

    There is one suit she wears ( i believe it is fabulously tailored black version) which when she turns up the cuffs, show this funky hot pink lining. She also has really great jewelry, particularly the Mikimoto pearls she wore on Tuesday.

    January 29, 2010/Reply
  7. Amyliz says:

    My mom also noticed the abundance of yellow. After pointing it out how it was "bright banana yellow", she paused for a moment and exclaimed: "BananaRepublicans!"

    January 29, 2010/Reply
  8. Jill says:

    Is it me or does the First Lady wear her waistbands a little too high? They seem to sit higher than at her natural waist and throw her proportion off a little. Or maybe she’s just really high-waisted. I have the world’s longest torso, so maybe I can’t relate.

    January 29, 2010/Reply