As a distant observer of fashion, but a close student of the semiotics of female power, I am a little puzzled by Michelle's frequent choice of sleeveless dresses at official moments. She is an attractive woman, whose height gives her a commanding presence, and it is clear that she puts effort into toning those upper arms. So the dresses look good; but this is not about pretty. She is in her forties, and the sleeveless sheath is the province of younger women, and/or socialites; it works for cocktails or a barbeque, but not church or work. (And yes, she is clearly channeling Jackie Kennedy. But Jackie's clothes — and everyone's in the early 1960s — were a lot more grown up and sophisticated.) The sleeveless bit seems too casual, and maybe a little too revealing for the role she is currently playing, and the one to which she aspires. Successful First Ladies — and here Laura Bush is a good model — manage to convey a careful mix of distance and familiarity.Emphasis--of the parts I find most amusing--mine.
Update, of sorts: