Why Michelle Obama's DNC Dress Choice Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.
At the Democratic National Convention kickoff Monday night, Michelle Obama's mic-drop worthy speech sort of stole the show, and rightly so. But her outfit choice was pretty significant, as well. The cobalt-blue, flared, silk crepe dress, complete with cap sleeves, looked pretty simple, but was designed by Christian Siriano, which isn't a name that the FLOTUS has worn often during the two terms President Obama has been in office. In fact, she's only worn the size-inclusive designer's wares once before, and for a much more somber event: the funeral for the police officers killed in Dallas earlier in July.

The quiet statement the first lady made with her choice of a dress? Yet another vote of confidence for a relatively lesser-known in the fashion business, as The New York Times' Vanessa Friedman pointed out. Our current FLOTUS has always championed emerging, indie American designers, like Maria Pinto and Tracy Reese.

Siriano isn't exactly a new name, and he was more prominently in the public eye in the early stages of his career than most designers, thanks to his Project Runway win in 2008. Siriano has already had Lane Bryant collaborations and lots of red carpet moments to his name, including creating, amid tons of buzz, a look for Leslie Jones to wear to her Ghostbusters premiere. Having a FLOTUS credit or two is a new, and different, sort of bona fide for the designer.

Siriano addressed working with the first lady and his emphasis on inclusivity in an interview with Refinery29 (about Jones' dress) this month: "There are so many amazing people out there that are sizes 6 and 8, and I'd never [want to not] have something for them," Siriano told us. "So, that’s super important. We just made a ton of clothes for Michelle Obama — imagine if I never designed for [her size] before; I wouldn’t want to be figuring that out for the first time."

During the past eight years, the outfit choices the first lady has made have been, well, political. Instead of the older-guard American stalwarts that past presidential wives have relied upon, such as Oscar de la Renta, Michelle has gone with contemporary names like Tracy Reese, Jason Wu, and Thakoon Panichgul on a number of occasions. Her choice to wear yet another not-overexposed name in her final few months as FLOTUS (twice in one month, no less) is great. Even better: that the designer in question is one who's been vocal about the need for inclusivity in the fashion industry. Maybe she will don another Siriano look — or lend her considerable spotlight to another younger designer or two — before leaving the White House.
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