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Dressing the part: Michelle Obama

Posted by Robin Abrahams  January 22, 2013 02:30 PM

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This weekend I had the honor of writing a guest post for one of my favorite blogs, Already Pretty, on the topic of First Lady Michelle Obama and why so many women follow her style. Premise? If you're a Gen-X woman who loved Winona Ryder in "Heathers" -- and who among us did not? -- Mrs. O is her real-life, mid-life sartorial equivalent:

Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) is pretty and socially adept enough to be accepted by the mean girls, too smart and good-hearted to stay one of them forever, and tough enough to put them out of business for good. And she looked amazing doing it, in grey jersey and black grosgrain and colored tights. Winona Ryder will never be a shoplifter or (shudder) Spock's mom to us--she will always be Veronica.

So when Mrs. O came on the scene--well, many of us swooned. Stylewise, Michelle Obama is to standard First Lady attire as Veronica Sawyer is to the Heathers.


Check out the whole piece here. I end with four fashion tips that I learned from Mrs. O and "Heathers." The last one is relevant to Miss Conduct readers:

Dress for Any Table in the Cafeteria. Unlike the Heathers, Veronica could sit at any table in the cafeteria. She didn't wear a cheerleader's uniform, or a black trenchcoat, or a slogan. Her style was a matter of individual expression, not tribal affiliation. 
Mrs. Obama, similarly, keeps a flexible profile: classic American prep mixed with urban edge, athletic practicality, high glamour, aesthetic adventuresomeness. 
It's more than mere eclecticism--it's a way of acknowledging, as another Gen-X teen classic would have it, that there's a princess, a basket case, a brain, a jock, and a criminal inside every one of us. Dress like you know it.
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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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