What Happened to Michelle Obama's Fashion Swagger?

First lady Michelle Obama is conspicuously missing from Vanity Fair's 2013 International Best-Dressed List, but only because she has taken fewer fashion risks in the last few years, writes the Daily Beast's Isabel Wilkinson.

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Michelle Obama (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Don't be fooled because Michelle Obama is conspicuously missing from Vanity Fair's 2013 International Best-Dressed List, says the Daily Beast's Isabel Wilkinson. The first lady can still outswagger most when it comes to fashion. One reason for the omission, Wilkinson writes, is that the first lady has been taking fewer fashion risks than she did at the outset of her tenure at the White House.

There were the usual suspects: Kate Middleton post baby, Beyoncé in her jumpsuit, and a smattering of European royalty. There was even Justin Timberlake, a new first lady (Peng Liyuan of China) and a little-known L.A. fashion blogger who likes patterned jeans and Miranda Kerr.

But conspicuously missing from Vanity Fair’s 2013 International Best-Dressed List? Michelle Obama, arguably the best-dressed American woman in the public eye.

The first lady, who has been featured on the list every year since 2007, and recognized in 2011 with her husband as “Best Couple of the Year” -- was excluded for the first time last year.

What did Michelle Obama do -- or not do -- to get snubbed for a second consecutive year?

For one thing, she has taken noticeably fewer fashion risks in the last few years than she did at the beginning of her tenure. At the beginning of the Obamas’ time in the White House, there were Alaia belts, pieces by avant-garde designers such as Junya Watanabe, and eye-grabbing outfits from undiscovered designers. In the past year, though, there have been more “recycled” outfits than ever before: the first lady has worn old favorites by designers such as Prabal Gurung, Rachel Roy, and Thom Browne for the second (or sometimes third) time. 

Read Isabel Wilkinson's entire piece at the Daily Beast.

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