Ready, set, draw

The New York Post has ruled that Michelle Obama comes off better in this Battle of the Outfits than her French counterpart, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy:

Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

In one corner, Michelle called on one of her designer go-tos, New York-based Thakoon Panichgul, for a custom-made floral silk jacquard coat and contrasting dress.

In the other, Carla pulled out a velvet lamb skin coat and Babe bag by her favorite legendary Paris house of Dior.

But “babe,” not so much. Even in kitten heels, Mrs. O towered over the French president’s hot wife. Her guns easily overpowered her fashion opponent’s.

Mrs. Sarkozy sullied herself by choosing a putty non-color that managed to turn the former supermodel into a drab dame.

I concede on that “non-color” — there’s something of cheese mold about it — but Mrs. O has once again managed to come up with something that could be flattering, but isn’t. I think it’s the pattern: just a little bit too large and unsubtle, even for her Amazon-lite bod. (Like she’s “dragging around a shower curtain,” says Webutante.)

To me, it’s a draw. Your mileage, of course, may vary.



  1. Tatyana »

    5 April 2009 · 1:31 pm


  2. Lisa paul »

    5 April 2009 · 1:42 pm

    Oh, come on. Patterns are fun. And unfortunately, most of us women, who tend to be under 5’5″ can’t wear them. Only an Amazon can pull off that much color and pattern. I think Michelle Obama did. And what better way to say “This is not Mr. Eisenhower’s First Lady”. Michelle is one of the most accomplished, educated, dynamic First Lady’s we’ve seen come down the pike since Eleanor Roosevelt. Let her strut her stuff.

  3. Donna B. »

    5 April 2009 · 2:18 pm

    The only reason Michelle’s dress doesn’t top Carla’s by a mile is that the sleeves are too long.

  4. Tatyana »

    5 April 2009 · 3:57 pm

    “Accomplished”: A PR-paper-pusher for a hospital that doubled her salary once her husband was made a Senator- and when she resigned, that all-important position was eliminated.
    “Educated”:a major in phony African-American studies and highly-scientific thesis “Blacks in Princeton”.
    “Dynamic”: a Megera with furiously arched eyebrows, elbowing her way up the corporate ladder by using her phony “victim” status, a member of 20-year standing of racist church.

    First in history guest of Queen Elizabeth who imposed her hugs on the monarch. A woman with no taste, no manners, no wit, no tact. First Lady who ordered the White House fountains to be colored green for St. Patrick’s day.

    A parvenu.

  5. Lisa paul »

    5 April 2009 · 8:10 pm

    On the honor roll every semester all during high school, graduated cum laude at Princeton, with honors from Harvard Law School. Michelle is nobody’s token.

    But I think you are just jealous as she’s the most kick ass tall Black Woman since Tamara Dobson practiced her Karate Chops against the perps in “Cleopatra Jones”.

    And isn’t a parvenu an underachiever’s way of denigrating someone who made it where they are by grit, intelligence and determination, not by way of generations of family money?

  6. Tatyana »

    5 April 2009 · 9:30 pm

    I see I have to speak slower.

    The woman has been an Affirmative Action poster girl. Just like her husband: no professional achievement, only vague propagandist hot air. Lisa, what is your occupation? have you been to college? Do you consider African-American Studies as solid, scientifically, as – say – mathematics, engineering, chemistry, biology? Business? What id Ms Obama’s professional achievement in the field of Law? Is she a scholar? Where are her works, reviewed by independent peers? Is she a trial lawyer? What cases she participated in that demonstrated her brilliance? Everything she took part in is phony.

    You must have problem with logic, Lisa: why would I be jealous of a woman I despise? Because I’m simply dying to be a bitchy black racist? Because I hate my [flattering to men] height and size 8 figure? Because I, unlike ms.Obama, had never used my man’s status for personal gain? Because my eyebrows aren’t fierce Greek comedy arches? Because I know how to dress – and that knowledge is killing me, simply KILLING? Because I deeply regret that I’m not a crook?
    Is that reasoning is modeled from your own psyche? How difficult life for you must be – every public figure, not matter what dirty underwear publicity reveals about them, are your idols to be jealous of…Must be torturous.

    Thieves and crooks, too, have intelligence (the street kind) and determination. And they get “there”, by hook or crook, that’s for sure. And by backstabbing and undertable deals.

    ms. Obama demonstrated to the whole world what low class, loud, arrogant and tasteless a product of multicultural “tolerance” looks like. She’s an embarrassment for the country.

  7. Tatyana »

    5 April 2009 · 9:53 pm

    Oh, almost forgot:
    I hold two university diplomas in engineering and interior design. Graduated my HS among 5 top students. Second degree was earned while being a 2-year immigrant to this country, with my school English. I was working, half semesters full time, to add to family’s budget (I had a young son and an inconsistently employed husband). I continued my education after graduation, passed national certification exam, got licensed in my state, has worked on wonderful buildings; became a homeowner – a long way from $300 I had on me when landed in JFK 17 years ago – and not on a government loan and with 20% down taken from my savings. I was honored by US citizenship; I have raised my son a US patriot, too.

    I can continue – but that’s enough, I think, to answer to a charge of “underachievement”. I achieved more than Ms.Obama, with all her hatred and fake victim blackmailing.

  8. Lisa Paul »

    5 April 2009 · 10:31 pm

    Yet despite your professed intelligence and accomplishments, your diatribe is so full of hate, vitriol, resentment and thinly disguised racism. What is it about someone else’s accomplishments that seem to threaten you so much?

    And no, you don’t need to speak slowly. I graduated with honors from an Ivy League college. Double BA in English and Art History (since I focussed on the art of the 1700s in Europe, could you call my major “Baroque Studies”? Would it rate more or less than “Black Studies”. Is one type of learning “better” than another?)

    I sure put in a lot of hours and a lot of critical and analytical thinking for those majors. I also learned how to make my arguments without resorting to insult. Or remarks on people’s appearances which are a bit beside the point. No, I don’t accept that only math and science are “real” degrees. I’ve made a lot of money in my various careers ghost writing for science types who couldn’t begin to explain themselves in even the simplest email. So society does, as it has since Greek times, a need for articulate people who can read analytically, write and speak clearly and persuasively. That’s mostly what Liberal Arts teaches you.

    I also graduated happy with my accomplishments and ready to heap congratulations on those of others. I certainly applaud all you have accomplished. Some of us are good at some things, others are good at other things. Your type of accomplishment is no better than mine. All learning is to be celebrated. Life-long learning is best.

    Enjoy your day.

  9. sya »

    6 April 2009 · 2:05 am

    Wow, the comment section certainly devolved quickly. My first inclination was to figuratively to stick my fingers in my ears and sing “la la la la la.”

    On topic, I think it’s a fashion draw for an entirely different reason. I actually like both outfits. One, because it appeals to my minimalist is chic aesthetic. The other because I like “ooh shiny!”-type things. And I think I’d probably say the same thing even if some ten tentacled dignitaries from Omicron Six were wearing them.

  10. CGHill »

    6 April 2009 · 7:02 am

    I think the sleeves on Mrs. O’s garb would be ill-suited to someone with ten tentacles: just putting it on would take a quarter of the Omicronian day.

  11. fillyjonk »

    6 April 2009 · 7:12 am

    I was just gonna say I’m glad I’m neither famous nor particularly accomplished, because I’m not sure I’d enjoy people discussing my wardrobe and taste in clothing.

    Oh, I’m sure my students do. But as I’m not seeing what they say in print, it doesn’t matter as much. (And no, I will never ever in my life go to “rate your professor”; my self-image is too precariously fragile as it is)

  12. Tatyana »

    6 April 2009 · 7:50 am

    English and Art major, a? Making money by writing emails for dumb scientists who could not explain themselves? Trained in demagogy, that’s what you are.You’re a parasite on productive members of society. Speaking in your terms: arts are baroque curlicues on the brick facade of hard sciences and business. Nothing but decoration.

    But frankly, I can care less about YOUR “accomplishments”. They are irrelevant to the topic.
    You were the one suggesting my opinion is nothing but a rant by an “underachiever”. You’re the one who answers legitimate, fact-based arguments with personal insults – and then and then insults me with labels of “venom, racism and hatred”!

    Way to go shifting blame.

    You didn’t refute any of the facts with which I illustrated falsity of your statements. You repeat the word “accomplishments”, even though I demonstrated the woman has none – on her own.
    Let me remind you: PERSONAL APPEARANCE by that woman was the topic of the post we are discussing. Not me and my “underachiever’s” motives, not Ms.Obama’s phony credentials. I would have no objection to her wearing loud tasteless outfits and to her lack of tact and bullyng personality – if she was some Il community organizer’s wife. That’s her true place. But by unprecedented campaign of disinformation and socialist-populist propaganda she’d had a fortune to be lifted for the world to see and to represent this great country.

    I’ll say it again, Lisa: she’s an embarrassment to us, Americans. By famous quote, the medium is the message. She carries a wrong message.

  13. Lisa Paul »

    6 April 2009 · 9:08 am

    Hmmm. I don’t recall calling you an underachiever. I think I mentioned that often the term “parvenu” is bandied about by those who think they are criticizing people who are striving to achieve heights they reached due to family wealth. I’m surprised that you — with your immigrant background and “rags to riches” story — chose to take it as aimed at you. YOu are usually also the kind of person that the “established” call a parvenu. In your case, it would be as inappropriate and hollow an insult as it is for Mrs. O.

    I’m also surprised that my off-hand comment comparing Mrs. Obama to a famous Blaxploitation film heroine — which most people would understand was humorous and only half serious, caused such a strange reaction. YOu felt the need, in response, to insult me, Mrs. Obama and her husband; lay out all your accomplishments in the last 20 (?) years and even establish that you have a lovely figure that men admire. I’ll leave the conclusions to the armchair psychologists. I simply find it a strange and unexpected reaction. Perhaps indicative of something besides a disagreement about Mrs. O’s sartorial choices?

    As to my accomplishments, you seemed interested as you asked me if I had any education and whether you needed to speak more slowly. I answered.

    I’m also surprised at your diatribe against Art education. Doesn’t the study of Art have at least a passing relationship to your profession, Interior Decoration?

    But I digress and we have hijacked poor Charles’ blog for far too long. Why don’t we all skip to his latest entry about the search strings that are driving his traffic. It’s much funnier.

  14. CGHill »

    6 April 2009 · 9:08 am

    If we’re discussing Personal Appearance, and I was under the impression that we were, how is her Rise to Power, or whatever it is, even tangentially relevant?

  15. Lisa Paul »

    6 April 2009 · 9:13 am

    Thanks Charles, and about those crazy Google search strings. Keep ’em coming!

  16. Tatyana »

    6 April 2009 · 10:04 am

    Lisa, I don’t think you understood Charles (your proficiency with words non-withstanding). You were the one who brought Ms. Obama’s Rise To Power, her so called accomplishments into this discussion. Which was totally irrelevant. as I said above.

  17. Tatyana »

    6 April 2009 · 10:09 am

    One note aside: you can’t even read.

    My profession is certainly NOT Interior Decoration.

  18. Lisa Paul »

    6 April 2009 · 10:27 am

    Interior Decoration. Interior Design. Two branches of the same thing?

    But who cares? I tend to think all professions done well and with enthusiasm are worthwhile. Who’s to say a ditch-digger who does his work to the best of his abilities and cheerfully and with pride isn’t making a valuable contribution? Is he less valuable than a stockbroker or a doctor or an Interior Designer? It would be a poorer world if it were only filled with lawyers who write policy, mathematicians and Interior Designers. To say the least, we’d have a lot of unwanted water run-off without those ditch diggers. And a lot less to read without our writers.

    Speaking of writers. Check out Charles’ funny post on the Google searches that lead to his site. Funny stuff. And made my day as much as did the ditch digger I saw improving our important drainage ditches in Sonoma.

  19. narciso »

    6 April 2009 · 11:05 am

    These people are blind or possibly the brain slugs from Ceti Alpha 6 are working overtime. You can’t put Carla Bruni and Michelle Obama in the same plane of existence, in terms of appearance. I mean wasn’t she Donald Trump’s date at one time, back in the 90s Now their politics are probably similar, in the same general leftwing spectrum. Bruni’s choice of wardrobe is good, because it’s reserved and understated, but it now way detracts from her appearance, a problem if one call it that, a certain other figure, across the pond, actually facing the other Ocean seems to have

  20. Tatyana »

    6 April 2009 · 11:05 am

    All interesting topics for discussion, Lisa. But totally irrelevant, as I and Charles pointed above.

    You have anything substantial to say to all my objections to your statement “one of the most accomplished, educated, dynamic First Lady’s we’ve seen come down the pike since Eleanor Roosevelt” ?

  21. Tatyana »

    6 April 2009 · 11:13 am

    *narciso: but you see, Bruni is the one with tact, sense of style and comprehension of etiquette.
    A polite hostess will never dress in a way to bring herself into the center of attention; she’d rather fade into a background to the benefit of her female guests.
    I mean – it must take some work, to neutralize the effect Carla Bruni presents to the observers, in any of her dresses. She tried – but what can you do against force of nature?

  22. paulsmos »

    6 April 2009 · 11:27 am

    Tatyana, remember thou must not speak ill of the messiah’s spouse. All the libtards will gnash their teeth and accuse you of being a racist. The she-Obama is as as unattractive as her garish duds. Hey liberal asshats, you want an attractive and accomplished woman of color to pine after? Condi Rice gets my vote.

  23. narciso »

    6 April 2009 · 11:34 am

    Of course, Tatyana, it’s just the New York Post, seriously are they that concerned of an anti trust action, it will come anyways. It’s a nearly impossible task to really try to do that, the only time it’s successful was Tina Fey’s neutering of the Governor’s personality and appearance, and presenting it as authentic. it’s like Chazz’s long ago comment about M.K. Freedberg’s line about legs as an expression of God’s design. This kind of pedantic and insincere flattery, like SNL’s latest Obama sketch, is likely to rub people the wrong way

  24. Tatyana »

    6 April 2009 · 2:24 pm

    *narciso – oh I don’t know, man, they might be sincere – just like our friend Lisa up there. On a second thought – could she be sincere? After all, a specialist in Baroque Europe, a person who studied all the beautiful and tasteful things that epoch produced – could that person be serious in her admiration of a woman who profess to be a lady (let alone a First Lady) – and still despite all the concerted effort of a team of White House stylists, looks and behaves like a gawky chambermaid in flowerbed dress?

    *paulsmos: I shouldn’t be surprised, really, but it still makes my jaw drop – the shameless flattery – even when the object have no means of see it – to their clumsy idol. The transparent projection – when I bring to their noses the stinking pastor White’s church, they immediately scream “racist!” – to me. Do they have a blind/deaf/numb spot, or something, when it comes to anything associated with their fake messiah?

  25. Lisa Paul »

    6 April 2009 · 4:32 pm

    Allow me to add an interesting educational note that may be germane to the discussion of whether appearances matter.

    The great Baroque artists would be appalled to have their work labeled “Beautiful” and “tasteful”. The Baroque was perhaps one of the most intellectual and ironic periods of art. It was hardly ever accused of being “beautiful” as in merely decorative, although it had its own beauty by its own standards. Taste certainly never had anything to do with it.

    The Baroque artists delighted in taking the rigid formula, dictums and expectations of the preceding Renaissance and turning them on their heads: with intentionally distorted perspectives, unusual vantage points that forced an unexpected response from the viewer, plus lots and lots of subtext. What was happening on the surface was never what the art meant. In fact, often the real meaning was diametrically opposed to the surface. Which is why the term “baroque” is often applied to something labyrinthian or at least not according to expectations or easy to grasp.

    Perhaps a master of the Baroque such as Caravaggio (who loved to shock the establishment by dressing Saints as peasants and underworld characters as Princes) would find a kindred soul in Michelle Obama. When the world might have expected a drab, slightly dowdy ensemble that draws no undue attention, she sports colors and prints. Keep ’em guessing, make them think, encourage new perspectives. That was Caravaggio and his Baroque crew. I hear the old Master chuckling.

    If you are thinking “pretty art” you are probably actually thinking about the later Rococco movement which was shamelessly decorative and, in comparison to the Baroque, quite boring.

    As to admiring Black women. Sure I disagree with Condolezza Rice’s politics. But I certainly find her fiercely intelligent and accomplished in many fields. But then I have room for more than one Black woman when it comes to acknowledging talent. It’s surprising, but many of us can disagree with policies, without needing to denigrate the person. Many of us can find someone admirable, but still disagree with their politics.

    Assess the appearance for what it is, or what it may not be. Then look below the surface. Keep an open mind and try thinking outside the box. Amazing what an Art education can teach you.

    Does this all circle back to First Ladies’ clothes. Well, sort of. . .

  26. zigzag »

    6 April 2009 · 8:13 pm

    Here we go again – (remembering the last time we did this.)
    This is easy. There are timeless Truths, there are passing fashions. Manners are always supreme. Geniuses can toss all rules out the windows. And Charles *KNOWS* what we’ll go for… scroll past a whole lot of hooey, our TATYANA has taken this to a whole new level, her every word should be engraved. Bravo to Tatyana for her sharp intellect and perceptiveness ! She does not need to sugarcoat the truth.

  27. CGHill »

    6 April 2009 · 8:56 pm

    All I know is, I put a picture of Mrs. O, and I get two dozen or more comments. The next step should be obvious.

  28. Lisa Paul »

    6 April 2009 · 9:14 pm

    Yes, any time you want to spike your readership. Well, you know what to do. By the way, I “borrowed” your post idea about parsing the Google Searches that lead to your site. Call it an homage.

  29. Tatyana »

    6 April 2009 · 9:24 pm

    See, Chaz: a pic of Angie Harmon: 0 comments
    Get me sufficiently buttered: 28 comments. The next step should be obvious.

  30. narciso »

    6 April 2009 · 11:17 pm

    No, Chazz, it was the picture of Bruni, that did it, and people refusing to accept what was right in front of their nose. On the other point, both Carla and Michelle were insufficiently zaftig for the Baroques.

  31. Lisa Paul »

    7 April 2009 · 1:33 am

    The Flemish painters like Peter Paul Rubens were only a small subset of the Baroque. Lot of lithe, athletic bodies among the Italians. And Artemisia Gentileschi painted women with arms that Michelle Obama would envy.

    More shocking, Charles, you posted a photo of Angie Harmon and got no comments? But she’s the Law & Order Goddess, “Hang ‘Em High Harmon” to us fans. Did you tag it correctly? It should have received thousands of hits.

    Finally, “sufficiently buttered”? Is there a way to conjure a mental picture of that you’d want stuck in your head? Could she mean “lathered”? No, that’s no better.

  32. Tatyana »

    7 April 2009 · 7:10 am

    I just remembered I omitted a footnote to the above, for the benefit of academically challenged:
    “Her height was flattering to men” is a cultural reference, a quote from a foreign modern classic [of literature].

    Just in case there are still more puzzling spots in my idiolect.

  33. CGHill »

    7 April 2009 · 7:11 am

    A lot depends, I think, on the angle one pitches. Of late, various elements in the dextrosphere have extolled the virtues of babe-blogging; I always suspected I had no real talent for this sort of cultural expropriation, and that Harmon piece supported that premise and then some. (I don’t remember what tags I hung on it; I’ve only recently started messing with those, and they don’t display in this theme.)

    I do try to avoid conflating the political and the personal, which puts me at odds with rather a large segment of the population these days; further, my schedule does not permit me the luxury of a daily Two Minute Hate.

  34. Lisa Paul »

    7 April 2009 · 8:46 am

    Appropriate tags on the Harmon piece would have done it, Charles. If you post her, they will come…er arrive at your site.

    And on second thought, Peter Paul Rubens gals were “sufficiently buttered”. Maybe if you posted only “sufficiently buttered” babes, you’d have more luck with that tack.

    But seriously, your blog is just fine as it is. And unique, even by accident if not design.

  35. Tatyana »

    7 April 2009 · 9:36 am

    You can always depend for a good chuckle on the liberal propensity for unsolicited condescending advice and lecturing. The more they condescend to you, the funnier. Especially when you know more on a subject than them – unknown to them, of course.

    May be it stems from their deep-seated insecurity, I wouldn’t know. Sort of Napoleonic complex.

    Two Minute Hate is a healthy habit, Chaz. Having some clueless “know-it-all” for an easy target presents a safety valve – a chance to vent pleases me.Maybe that’s why I sleep well at night, Chaz…try it, it might help.

  36. CGHill »

    7 April 2009 · 10:10 am

    Very seldom do I feel as though I’m being condescended to. (Yeah, I know: ending sentences with prepositions is something up with which one should not put.) And I’ve been Venting for more than a dozen years. Either I routinely run higher pressures, or I just have greater puncture resistance.

  37. Tatyana »

    7 April 2009 · 10:52 am

    Who’s going to Chaztise you for grammatical quirks? Not me, certainly.

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