Inauguration Day is fast approaching, and the fashion world is on the edge of their seats as they wait to find out the millionaire dollar question – what will Michelle Obama be wearing?
But like this time four years ago, the First Lady is giving no details of who or what she will be wearing as she celebrates her husband being ceremonially sworn into his second term in office by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
In 2009, she chose a white chiffon, one-shoulder creation by Jason Wu, a then up-and-coming, 26-year-old Taiwanese-born designer who instantly shot to fame.
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And rumours are swirling that Michelle may have commissioned him to also design her second term dress – but we won't know until she steps out at the Commander-in-Chief Inaugural Ball on Monday night.
Meanwhile, twenty other designers, knowing that dressing the first lady at the Inauguration ball would be quite the coup, are said to have sent clothing to the White House for considering.
The front runners include Michael Kors, Derek Lam, Naeem Khan, Marchesa, Prabal Gurung, Bibhu Mohapatra, Thakoon Panichgul, Tracy Reese, Chris Benz, Tory Burch,Narciso Rodriguez, Zac Posen, Maria Cornejo,Thom Browne,Barbara Tfank and Laura Smalls.
And others have sent sketches of what they think the first lady should wear. Mostly in shades of blue, the sketches illustrate some wonderful designs from designers including Monique Lhuillier, Alexis Mabille and L'Wren Scott. Nanette Lepore even sketcehd what she think the couple's two daughters Malia and Sasha will be wearing (see picture below).
But while Michelle is, no doubt, considering new designs, we can't rule out the possibility that she may recycle a previously-worn dress. In a move considered to be especially savvy given the austere economic times, the 49-year-old has been celebrated recently for re-wearing some of her designer gear.
Most recently, Michelle stepped out on Election Day and kicked off her husband's second term in style, joining him on stage sporting a burgundy brocade Michael Kors sheath A-line dress that she topped off with a black tailored stretch shrug.
But more astute fashion watchers recognised the dress – she has wowed in the designer creation twice before. She showed off the simple yet stunning design in December 2009, for a White House holiday party. And In November 2010, she chose the frock for the Medal of Honour presentation ceremony.
The fashionable first lady has already earned herself quite the reputation in the fashion world thanks to her stylish selection of ladylike, elegant ensembles that emcompass a wide range of designers – from new, up-and-coming talents like Jason Wu and Thakoon, to more classic fashion houses such as Michael Kors, Vera Wang and Calvin Klein.
And she also boosted her credibility by sporting affordable, accessible American high street brands including J. Crew, Tracy Reese and White House Black Market.