Filed under: The Fashion Statement
The chatter about Michelle Obama's shorts last week was deafening. Google the subject and 9 million entries pop up. Well, make that 9 million and one, including this post. It blew away President Obama's mom jeans episode last month documented by only 1 million entries.
People care deeply about the way people dress. But it's a mystery why. Why the hell do we care? I mean, it's kind of embarrassing that we paid so much attention to a lousy pair of shorts. And modest ones at that.
Something in our primitive dinosaur brains kicked in when we saw Michelle Obama step off Air Force One. We weren't sure if it was okay. Eventually, the media asked us to weigh in and, after thinking about it with our evolved brains, 80 percent of us said it was fine.
Catch Madonna in a pair of shorts and even our dinosaur brains would be nonplussed. Style and cut would be debated, sure, but impropriety would never come up.
Why? Because clothes are inextricably linked to identity. Rationally, how can we whine that Michelle Obama wears shorts when most of us wear shorts? But, deep down, we don't want her to be like us. We want to see an aspirational image of the First Lady descending from the most exclusive airplane in the world. We want Jackie O. Or at least a business-like version...which Michelle Obama is most of the time.
Maybe not in a skinny pair True Religions, but we'd kinda like to see President Obama in a slimmer pair of jeans, say from Lucky Brand Jeans. That dovetails with our image of him as a hip, modern guy. Mom jeans don't fit, both figuratively and literally.