US First Lady Michelle Obama (L) and Ann Romney (R), wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, embrace prior to their husbands' debate at Magness Arena at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, October 3, 2012. - After hundreds of campaign stops, $500 million in mostly negative ads and countless tit-for-tat attacks, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney go head-to-head in their debut debate.
(Photo: SAUL LOEB AFP/Getty Images)
If the presidential candidates' clothes and appearance are safe and
bland, nothing could be further from the truth about their wives.
Michelle Obama and Ann Romney stand out on the campaign trail, and in a
way that makes each stand out from the other.
Obama, 48, has been
first lady for nearly four years and is well settled into the role. She
established herself early on as someone willing to have fun and take
risks with her clothes without moving past appropriate into wacky
territory. Her style mixes high and low, costly and affordable, playful
and serious. Plus, she has become a standard-bearer for American
designers, especially emerging ones.
Romney, 63, a former first
lady of Massachusetts, picks safe clothes, Republican country-club lady
clothes. But she is far from bland - not in a chili pepper-red Oscar de
la Renta at the Republican convention nor in lacy black leather on The Tonight Show.
expert Leah Chernikoff, executive editor of the Fashionista.com
website, says Obama's and Romney's clothes and appearance reflect their
overall is sartorially safe and elegant, a pretty, Midwestern mom
ideal," says Chernikoff. "Michelle is a magnetic person. She really
seems to enjoy fashion. She takes risks, she tries things, she's
exciting to watch."
While Obama is associated with a plethora of
name designers, such as Jason Wu, Romney is linked only to an unknown,
Alfred Fiandaca, a low-key New York-based designer with a couple of
boutiques in Palm Beach and Boston, where Romney has been shopping off
the rack for years. When he was tracked down by New York magazine and WWD,
Fiandaca said he was happy being an unknown and does not expect nor
desire to be Romney's Jason Wu if she becomes the next first lady.
way to sum up the two women: Obama, who's moved easily among the
boldfaced names at fashion pow-wows, appeared on the cover of Vogue - the
only other first lady to grace the fashion bible cover besides Hillary
Clinton. It's harder to imagine Romney posing there, even if her husband