Photo: REX USA.
Fashion wonks searching for the meaning of life/the first lady's Alaïa can sleep easy tonight: Joanna Rosholm, Michelle Obama's press secretary, told the Associated Press Obama purchases her own clothes. The AP clarified: "Is it the taxpayers who foot the bill? No." FLOTUS can certainly afford those shopping sprees. Last year, the first couple reported an adjusted income of $481,000 and assets worth a cool $1.8 million to $7 million. Michelle is also offered a wife-of-the-leader-of-the-free-world discount when possible. There is a no-loan policy, unlike with Nancy Reagan, who would, uh, permanently borrow designer ensembles. "Mrs. Obama pays for her clothing," Rosholm maintained.
Except when she doesn't. "For official events of public or historic significance, such as a state visit," Rosholm continued, "the first lady's clothes may be given as a gift by a designer and accepted on behalf of the U.S. government. They are then stored by the National Archives." (The White House didn't identify the number of aforementioned "gifts," and the National Archives refused to describe the storage setup, creating a mental image that alternates between Kim's closet post-Kanye's purging and Anna Dello Russo's wardrobe-only apartment.) Some of the donated pieces go on display, including the famous Jason Wu inaugural gown from 2009, which was in turn donated to the Smithsonian the following March. But, again, the first lady's office wouldn't specify how many of Mrs. O.'s outfits are museum-bound.
Finally, the AP slipped in this fun fact: "Mary Todd Lincoln racked up tens of thousands of dollars in clothing bills and considered selling manure from the White House grounds to pay them off, according to the National First Ladies' Library." The next journalist to speculate about Michelle's spending habits is on manure-raking duty. (The Associated Press)