Radio host Rush Limbaugh is many things, but arbiter of fashion isn’t one of the bullet points on his LinkedIn Profile. So you can imagine how surprised we were this weekend when our sister site Mediaite wrote a post about Limbaugh commenting on first lady Michelle Obama‘s fashion clout. Suffice it to say, he got it wrong.
Limbaugh fielded a call over the weekend from Laura, a caller who has sort of gotten sick of the fashion industry lauding a woman who she thinks can’t even pull off the color yellow.
“Every time she dresses in yellow I keep expecting some little kid to pop up and say she looks like a bowl of mustard. I mean, I’m sorry. She never seems really to be happy. She doesn’t wear her clothes with any finesse or flair. She just kind of seems to march around looking like a lumberjack … and her clothes don’t seem to fit her right.”
Laura suggested that despite all this, the reason Obama is a fashion icon is that fashion reporters and the press in general is composed of a bunch of sheep, and then she posits that if Obama hadn’t been the first black first lady, we’d all be able to see her for what she really is: a lady who can’t dress herself.
And Limbaugh, who’s got loads of experience evaluating fashion (and who is totally sensitive to both race and politics), agreed.
The opinion you have of Mrs. Obama and her fashion choices is fairly common, I think, and yet she’s written about as a leading fashion icon, trendsetter and all that … Why in the world is she written about in ways that so many people agree or at least question?
There is an obvious answer to my question. And I’m sorry, I’m not going to answer it.
We sort of think Limbaugh was blowing hot air with that last statement.
We’ll admit to being really big fans of Michelle Obama, but that’s largely because we, as people who devour fashion news and runway coverage and other little bits of style for a living, recognize her as a singularly well dressed woman who has done immeasurable good for the fashion industry. The economic impact she has on American designers is unequalled, and so is the way she’s been able to inform how American women dress. Clearly her outfits have the power to spark a lot of debate and contemplation — how many people in the United States knew what Alexander McQueen was before she wore one of the label’s gowns to a state dinner?
Obama is a fashion icon because she’s good for the fashion industry, and because she has a good understanding of what looks good on her. And people who get fashion get that.
Take a look at the vide below and tell us if you think Limbaugh was off base or right on target.