Inauguration Fashion: Highlights

by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

From E! Online.

Just a quick note (“quick” is a bold faced lie and I know it) to show you that we Racialicious denizens leave the roost sometimes and branch out!

Yesterday, we celebrated the swearing in of our first African American president, for the second time (woo!) We also celebrated the confirmation of four more years of Michelle Obama looking ferosh all the time in the public eye, so I was asked to participate in a Huffington Post Live hangout where a few people would talk about the highlights of the inauguration ceremony from various angles. The guests were:

  • Reverend Deborah L. Johnson, Founder of Inner Light Ministries, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Molly Darden, Managing Editor of Azizah Magazine, Atlanta, GA
  • Dr. Christopher House, Dir., African American Worship Service at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • Tim Byrnes, Professor of Political Science at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY
  • J.J. Colagrande, Professor at Miami-Dade Wolfson and HuffPost Blogger, Miami, FL
  • Joseph Lamour, Fashion & Entertainment Editor at, Washington, DC
C’est moi! The drawing behind me is by yours truly as well. Cross promotion!

Let me just tell you: I did not expect to be seated amongst tenured professors and ministers. I was taken aback (and feel honored to be even thought of for the same discussion as the above people). I was so taken aback that I forgot my opening line! I had dubbed yesterday African American Awesomeness Day, and it really was. I promise I’m not talking about myself, either. I’m being humble (for once). To have Martin Luther King’s birthday fall on the same day as the re-inauguration of an African American President with his African American First Lady at his side was truly, truly, awesome.

I had mentioned in the hangout that her coat was by Thom Browne–and that Thom Browne is prohibitively expensive–because everyone has been talking about whether she would tone it down today because, like, no one in America has a job. Well, as the fashion expert, I decided to confirm that she did not in fact tone it down, J. Crew belt and pumps or not. That didn’t mean I didn’t like the outfit–I thought she looked fabulous as well. I especially like how the fabric Browne chose was meant to reflect a man’s tie and, thus, Barack’s tie. It’s a pretty genius way of saying, “We’re a unit and don’t you forget it.” Then we started talking about something else, and as a new television personality (I’m kidding again) I didn’t see a chance to shout, “But, who cares how much that coat was anyway? I certainly don’t!” I digress.

Can I just say, as a fashionisto, I am beyond happy that the Romneys were not on that podium yesterday–for many reasons (obvi), but also or the fact that Ann Romney would have signaled a change back to the fashion status quo of the DC politician’s wife. Something rooted in traditional housewife aesthetics–Ann Taylor Loft, sweater sets, and pearl necklaces. Just google “Ann Romney” or “Calista Gingrich” and you’ll see what I mean. The reason Michelle Obama is such a fashion icon is she doesn’t dress that way in this place, and that in itself is a defiance to the stolid convention of this town.

Getting back to HuffPo Live, I ended up talking about gay rights for most of the segment, which is fine, because I am an expert in fashion, entertainment, and being a big smoothie, but I wanted to point out a couple stunning outfits from gorgeous American ladies (and one fella) that I didn’t get to yesterday, namely coats and extravagance:

Image via E! Online.

Sasha Obama (who looks so much like my cousin Fabya I am forcing her to be Sasha for Halloween) is in a purple Kate Spade design–click here for something similar. Malia Obama was in a plum J. Crew coat. Since Malia’s coat was they only affordable fashion (for most) on display, it’s obviously sold out. Sorry!

Image via

Jay-Z’s suit and scarf made me want to run out of my home and down Connecticut Avenue into downtown to ask him if I could have it when he was done. Later I found out it was by Tom Ford, and it all made sense to me. Beyonce wore a Pucci dress. A little too evening for the venue (and not an American designer), but I mean…it’s Beyonce; of course, she looks beautiful. I’m pretty sure she considers every moment in life a nighttime performance at Radio City, so I bet this glittery black dress for 11:30 in the morning made sense to her. I’m glad she is upholding the recent inauguration tradition of fabulous black ladies in fur coats–it was Dior, by the way. PETA would likely disagree with me on this opinion. Jay even had a matching Dior fur coat. Twinsies!

Image via Tom and Lorenzo

Later Michelle took off the Thom Browne coat to reveal an almost identical dress underneath, which she layered with boots and a cardigan by Reed Krakoff–who is also the designer of Coach, which I know some of you have. Now you can say you and Michelle wear the same things…like a matryoshka doll, this outfit. I like how it still calls back to Barack’s tie.

Image via iamyardrock

At the Inaugural Ball, Michelle Obama later wore Jason Wu for the second time. You may be wondering why fashion people are freaking out about this. First, I need to share a quote from my blog boo, Michael K of DListed, about what my Twitter looked like into this morning:

Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan and a bunch of fashion-loving queens of CNN lost their minds, found their minds and lost their minds again when Michelle Obama sashayed out tonight wearing a dress by designer Jason Wu! Michelle Obama chose a Jason Wu dress for her last Inaugural gown, so how could she wear a Jason Wu dress again?…This has never happened! This is history in the making! This changes everything! The world stopped, Mel Gibson hugged a Jew, Lindsay Lohan put down the vodka bottle for a second, John Travolta slipped Kelly Preston the tongue without getting the heaves, and it’s all because Michelle Obama wore Jason Wu again!

Basically here’s an analogy: Jackie Kennedy is to Oleg Cassini as Michelle Obama is to Jason Wu (now). This has basically cemented a 30 year old in fashion history and set him for life. It’s like when Oprah would say she liked something and the sales would skyrocket so much the company that made the product couldn’t handle it. Fashion people are all in the midst of their own permanent Cinderella complex (I’m no different–where’s my Prince Charming?) so the fact that she gave Jason Wu one glass slipper four years ago and the other glass slipper today is so great for him we don’t know what to do.

I know I talk about fashion and entertainment (and being a big smoothie), but let me leave you with one thing:

Image via Tom and Lorenzo

How undeniably lovely is their love? It’s awesome.

About This Blog

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves John Cho newsflashes.

Latoya Peterson (DC) is the Owner and Editor (not the Founder!) of Racialicious, Arturo García (San Diego) is the Managing Editor, Andrea Plaid (NYC) is the Associate Editor. You can email us at

The founders of Racialicious are Carmen Sognonvi and Jen Chau. They are no longer with the blog. Carmen now runs Urban Martial Arts with her husband and blogs about local business. Jen can still be found at Swirl or on her personal blog. Please do not send them emails here, they are no longer affiliated with this blog.

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