Michelle Obama in Thom Browne on Monday (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)Michelle Obama is known for launching women's fashion trends worldwide, but it was menswear that served as inspiration for the first lady during Monday's daytime inaugural events.
Michelle's custom navy jacquard Thom Browne Coat and dress chosen to kick of the festivities in Washington took its cue from the fabric of a silk men's tie. Power ties of varying color, of course, are a trademark of her husband's first term.
"It's one of those moments when I just can't believe that happened," Browne told the New York Times' Eric Wilson. Known primarily for his suits, Browne was named GQ's Designer of the Year in the fall 2008, the same year as Obama's historical election to the presidency.
The first lady has been a fan of Browne's dress collections in recent months. She wore a custom gray dress with a black lace overlay in October, during the Democratic National Convention.
The decision to wear Browne was a win for Michelle on Monday, at least according to Twitter critics.
@FLOTUS SO CHIC in her #ThomBrowne navy coat," Elle's Joe Zee tweeted. Sandra Bernhard called the coat "forward and brilliant." Supermodel Lily Aldridge tweeted simply, "gorgeous." And designer Christian Siriano proclaimed the first lady a fashion "legend."
"The response to her Thom Browne dress has been overwhelmingly positive, at least in the fashion community," Fashionista's Leah Chernikoff told Yahoo! Shine. "People are really happy she went with such a 'fashiony' designer."
Browne can't take all the credit. Mrs. O also called on her own famously high-low fashion sensibilities, pairing her navy look with a belt and port-colored gloves from J. Crew.
The first family is Inaugural-chic. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
The First Lady has made the mass market brand an unofficial designer for the first family over the past four years. Colorful J.Crew coats and gloves kept Sasha and Malia Obama warm during their dad's swearing-in ceremony in 2009.
On Monday, Malia kept the tradition going, dressed in a purple J.Crew wool coat. Her sister Sasha broke the trend with a lavender Kate Spade coat and dress.
But in the days leading up to the inaugural events, all eyes have been on the First Lady, a style arbiter if there ever was one, after launching the career of young American designer Jason Wu four years ago at the Inaugural Ball. Speculation on her choice of designer this evening remains. But already another sartorial choice is making headlines. At Sunday's private swearing-in ceremony, Mrs. O chose a royal blue cardigan and dress by designer Reed Krakoff. Krakoff also provided Michelle's black suede boots and royal blue cardigan for Monday's post-inaugural luncheon.
Fashionista's Chernikoff called the decision to wear Krakoff "an interesting choice given that Ann Romney was criticized during the campaign for wearing Krakoff's $990 silk bird-print t-shirt."
Of course, this year her dresses are trumped by an even bigger style decision in recent days: those bangs. On Sunday Barack Obama referred to his wife's haircut as "the most significant event of this weekend." That was before Michelle's eye roll at the post-inaugural luncheon. Some looks you just can't plan.
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