As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Michelle Uses Her Position to Wear Fantastic Clothes for Free

Michelle Obama has figured out a way to make being first lady a ticket to wearing fabulous outfits. The catch is, she can’t keep them.

Here’s how the scheme works, according Mrs. Obama’s spokeswoman, who talked to the Associated Press.

“For official events of public or historic significance, such as a state visit, the first lady’s clothes may be given as a gift by a designer and accepted on behalf of the U.S. government,” first lady press secretary, Joanna Rosholm. “They are then stored by the National Archives.”

Michelle Obama gown
Is it hers, or is it yours?

Other than the price of mothballs, this arrangement doesn’t seem to cost U.S. taxpayers anything. But it does get Michelle fixed up with some superbly swank threads. And it’s a financial benefit to her in that she has to fork over less for her clothes.

According to the Associated Press story:

That saves Mrs. Obama considerable money, although the White House refused to say how often the first lady wears donated clothes and the National Archives declined to say how many such items it has in storage. The White House did say that the first lady doesn’t borrow any clothing and, for the most part, buys her own clothes.

But should this be considered a gift? How often does one wear, say, a $20,000 designer gown in one’s lifetime? Maybe ten times before either it becomes unfashionable or one grows out of it?

So if she wears it twice as first lady, is that a de facto gift of $4,000?

Among the designers who have “contributed” to the nation’s welfare in this manners are Carolina Herrera, who stitched up the blue gown that Mrs. Obama wore to February ‘s state dinner for French President Francois Hollande, and Naeem Khan, who gave the United States of America, as embodied in Mrs. Obama, a gold beaded gown she wore to the 2012 governors ball.  

Also on the list is the magnanimous Jason Wu, who plied Mrs. Obama with two Inaugural gowns. This prompted Michelle to claim some of his generosity for herself:

Mrs. Obama and Wu both were there when the first inaugural gown was presented to the Smithsonian in March 2010. The first lady said in her remarks: “The dress I donated today, made by Jason Wu, is a masterpiece.” But the Smithsonian lists the gown as a “gift of Jason Wu in honor of first lady.”

Alas, it wasn’t quite hers to give.

The practice appears to be an Obama innovation. Laura Bush paid for all her clothes, including her Inaugural gowns. This prompted some recycling:

Mrs. Bush, in her memoir, tells of arriving at a TV studio and noticing a picture on the wall that showed she’d worn the same suit to her last interview there.

“Quickly, I exchanged tops with my press secretary, so that it would seem as if I had more wardrobe variety,” she recalled.

Michelle is also known to command deep discounts from designers eager to have her show off their wares. Or wears.

So thank you, America. You’ve helped Mrs. Obama wow the fashion world, just by being there.

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66 Responses to Michelle Uses Her Position to Wear Fantastic Clothes for Free

  1. I’m sure her shopping visits all begin with, “Nice business you have here, it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it…”

  2. Shame on those designers for not giving her better fitting clothes, or more appropriate styles for her body type and age. While the clothes may be beautiful, sometimes they draw attention to her for all the wrong reasons. She’s a First Lady, not a Queen or a Fairy Tale Princess.

    • Me-Chelle is an Empress in her own mind, a reincarnation of some powerful woman of the past, perhaps Cleopatra, Lucrezia Borgia or Catherine the Great, looking down upon her servants and ordering their lives. Barry could be the Fairy Tale Princess, though.

    • I agree. Often the short dresses resemble what I would put on an 8 y/o who was going to a friend’s party. For someone so large MO dresses as if she is a petite size 2.

  3. Initially, I started to paint Presidents who came from humble beginnings tend to take advantage of the Presidency. That is not fair. The Clinton’s were the ones who truly came to power looking for every way to take advantage of their office for personal gain. The Obama’s are following that script. It was Hillary that was the main force behind taking advantage of the office and she is still doing it.

    I believe Hillary will not run for President in 2016. I believe this is a fake run to shake down corporations once again giving 200k per speech. These big corporations think she is running and are giving the bribe ahead of time. They will make millions and decide at the last minute to not run.

    Remember, Hillary getting paid $ 5 million for her memoirs? It was normal to get paid after the book was written. She was paid upfront prior to entering the Senate because it was illegal to get her deal as a Senator. Remember, the Clinton’s charging the Secret Service rent which equaled their mortgage payment in NY?

    The Obama’s are fleecing us in their excessive travel. The fact is the donation of the dresses is just another fleece. Over the weekend, they showed how little they care about the law by breaking them to do the prisoner swap.

    • To be fair, The Obamas see themselves as Celebrities and Historical figures first, leaders second.
      Ask any celebrity at the Oscars and they are wearing clothes / jewelry they did not purchase but were given to them to wear by the designers.
      Michelle Obama sees herself as Angelina Jolie or Sandra Bullock. They are all private citizens and can do what they want (though I’m sure there are tax situations).

  4. Better them than us. The Obama’s would never pay for it out of their own pocket citing “official business” so at least this way it avoids having to triple the White House expenditure budget to satisfy Michelle’s ego.

  5. I can’t get worked up over this. As the article notes, Americans expect the wives of our presidents to dress well, yet there is no budget for this. She’s not using our money and she’s promoting American designers.

  6. Let me get this straight in my mind:
    a designer creates, then donates a one-of-a-kind frock for the multi-millionaire FirstLady, she wears it pretending it’s “hers”, then she ships the used, sweaty dress off to the National Archives to be..what…hung in an obscure closet until they figure out what to do with it?

    The designer claims a tax write-off for “donating” a useless item to the Archives that would off-set all expenses and advertising benefits from the ensuing publicity.
    Sweet.
    The rub here, or the fly, is if MrsO chose a certain design or directed the making of the frock, then it isn’t really a donation to us lucky tax-payers, but could be seen as a shake-down of the designer ala Chicago-way politics and a criminal offense.

    • I can see inaugural gowns ending up at the Smithsonian and maybe a few other exceptions like Jackie’s Dallas suit, but you raise a good point about what happens to the hundreds, I’m sure, of outfits she has worn one time and discarded.

      I was going to respond to Robin H. but I’ll put it here since you mention shakedowns. Oregon had a Senator named Mark Hatfield who collected glass. I was told by someone who worked in the OR GOP that Hatfield would be walking through an airport or a hotel lobby with a “supplicant” and would point out a piece of glass in the shops they walked past with the code words, “That’s a fine piece of glass”, meaning “I want that piece of glass”, and someone would purchase it and it would make its way to Mark Hatfield. Small beer compared to Michelle? I don’t know.

      • It may be small beer, but it’s all part of the same mentality of “I deserve it because I’m a ruler.” If he’s doing that you have to wonder what else he’s taking.

        • You also have to wonder if there are any honest politicians out there, anywhere. Corruption is corruption, no matter how small the reward.

    • I assume that the gowns will be displayed at the Obama Presidential Library, much as Mrs. Kennedy’s are displayed at the JFK library, although I believe Mrs. Kennedy’s husband or father-in-law paid for her gowns/clothes. Some of Mrs. Obama’s clothes might show up at the Met’s Museum of Costumes on loan from the feds. or at the Smithsonian.

      To say the taxpayers are not paying for the gowns and clothes is not completely accurate. The designer is getting a reduction in taxes, which reduces revenues. Reduced revenues, over time, leads to increased tax rates for those of us who cannot employ lobbyists.

  7. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Even the dress in the pic is silver overalls. All “stars” get showered with clothes–the diff is they know which ones to wear–usually, anyhow.

  8. She chooses such inappropriate clothing for her body type. If I were a designer, I don’t think I’d want her to wear my dresses.

  9. She has the oddest body type. Most women learn how to dress to camouflage their less than desirable characteristics (junk in the trunk, etc.). She doesn’t seem to have a clue as to how to dress and either she doesn’t listen to her designers or they are having a wonderful time making fun of her by accentuating her flaws. She often looks tremendously silly – as in the above photo.

  10. Didn’t Nancy Regan start this trend? I believe a lot of first ladies and I use the term loosely for some have done this for many year’s.

    • When you stop to think of selecting that wedding dress or prom dress and the effort that went into that–and you had to do this times a hundred–wouldn’t you want dresses sent over? The prob is–no stylist came with.

    • Mrs. Reagan accepted clothing with the understanding that they would be donated to some museum after she stopped being First Lady. The last time that I looked into this, nothing much had left her closets.

      I wonder if this is the ultimate plan for Meesh — is there any source that lists what is actually in the Smithsonian storage lockers and what is still in her closet “waiting” to be sent over?

      • On the Bravo show with the stylists–and even on Nurse Jackie when her daughter tried on bridesmaid dresses–or on those shows about wedding dresses, they have people to see each one and smile or frown. This woman needs an honest opinion.

  11. To put it succinctly: Mooch is a mess! Boob belts, buttons and bows, itty bitty shrug sweaters, gold lame, all that glitters and glows, and sleeveless in the summer, winter, spring and fall.

    If I were keeper of the National Archives, I would pack everything up and leave it at the WH gate for the Goodwill pick-up. it’s a waste of mothballs. Just looking at that hideous white chenille bedspread from the first Inaugural Ball hanging in the Smithsonian makes me billious.
    From Jackie “O” to Tacky “Mo”…ugh!

    • If I were a curator at the Smithsonian, I would insist on displaying the get-up she wore to visit Westminster Abbey a few years back. It was the most jaw-droppingly tacky, juvenile, inappropriate outfit I have ever seen a public figure wear for an official event where being photographed was expected. I dress better than that when I travel, and no one’s taking my picture (except those CCTV cams they have everywhere in the UK ….).

    • Recently I clicked through someone’s assessment of the “best” and “worst” dressed from the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Some elegant gowns were placed on the “worst” list, while Michelle, predictably, was on the “best” list and described as looking “absolutely wonderful” in a fluffy white confection similar to that first inaugural gown. The only thing that could possibly explain such a judgment is politics (and racial pandering).

  12. Actually any gift given to the Pres. and 1st lady have always belonged to We the People, including gifts from foreign dignitaries. I remember the Clintons trying to take items they received during his presidency and had to leave them at the White House.

  13. Obviously, Meesh Antoinette thinks if she can fit in it, it looks good, which probably tells us a lot about her ego-image and previous shopping experiences.

    In the photo above she looks like one of those pigeons that have heavy leg feathers.

  14. Surely the gowns cannot be put on display until they are altered to make the lo fo observer think the Moose was a size 10 when she wore them.

  15. Wow, to all of you vile witches and warlocks claiming YOUR TAX PAYERS MONEY pays gun or ll the expensive gowns the first lady wears. I know its so hard to believe people of color have their own income right? Contrary to the continues lies the Republicans are telling, first lady Michelle Obama is a prosperous attorney and can afford to buy her own gowns.
    She in no way uses Tax Payers money to dress up. The couple is pretty wealthy and are not using the money of the taxpayer, and people need to stop floating that huge lie. Both are financially comfortable thanks.

  16. Wow, to all of you vile witches and warlocks claiming YOUR TAX PAYERS MONEY pays gun or ll the expensive gowns the first lady wears. I know its so hard to believe people of color have their own income right? Contrary to the continues lies the Republicans are telling, first lady Michelle Obama is a prosperous attorney and can afford to buy her own gowns.
    She is in no way usingTax Payers money to dress up. The couple is pretty wealthy and are not using the money of the taxpayer, and people need to stop floating that huge lie. Both are financially comfortable thanks.

  17. Fleecing thier travel? Liers, and story tellers, with the audacity to whine because after telling them, emailing, and meeting with Vongress, they chose to call him names, slander, bad mouth, and block him for doing his job as President he is doing what he needs to get done. What choice does he have?

    Those women calling first lady Michelle Obama, her children and mother. Such vile names, why should we expect anything better from you?

    Many of you are wearing your green horns of envy; definitely sounding a bit jealous don’t you think??? You cannot accuse her of using your precious taxpayers’ money. Haha! Just like her clothing allowances…

    Unlike President Reagan’s wife, a movie star, or Predident Kennefy’s wife wearing Oleg Cassini, she spent thousands. George Bushes wife, Laura, never even claimed her designer clothes; we know she didn’t buy them.
    Too bad, your lies contines to come up bogus against the Obamas. was Decent, Michelle buys her own clothes. Surprise, surprise, untruth made from ignorant, classless white witches who obviously are living in the 1950’s. Yes, we expext no better from you uneducated individuals, non indrpendent thinkers. Blessings come in small packages…and you
    cannot understand that its not her clothes or even the travel really. You are just evil, illiterate, ignorant gossipers getting on blogs to whine aboutvothers. Guess what, there are a lot of us educated women able to buy our own clothes. Working our backsides off in college to work in the positions “we” are entitled to by our own merit. We are not on wrlfare, foodstamps, and we have our own health insurance. I am so proud of women of color today, never again do we have to accept what spmeone wntsbto give us, especially the ones with no or less education or experience, getting jobs based on nepotism, and the color of their skin. Entitled in the South. People work too hard to be passed over by someone aways with less education, experience, time on the job, or even
    a bit of common sense.

  18. Alas, the clothes may be spectacular…but the good taste as to when they are appropriate is sadly lacking!! During a recent state visit by some “biggy” (who had not brought his wife {or significant other} with him) Michelle made a “red carpet appearance ” all alone, after the guys, and was announced like a performer; sorta an “also starring” entrance… Or
    a model on QVC. It empathized the old saying “you can dress ’em up, but shouldn’t take ’em out” I was waiting for the obligatory Hair and Makeup by________/