Should the Price of First Lady Fashion Matter?
Both nominees' wives took to the national convention stages to speak on behalf of their presidential hopeful husbands. First, Mitt Romney's wife, Ann Romney, addressed the RNC in Tampa, and then Michelle Obama took to the DNC podium in Charlotte. But it's not just their words at these events that are being scrutinized; it's also their fashion choices. While Ann wore an Oscar de la Renta gown by the 80-year-old designer that retails at $1,990, Michelle chose to wear a custom dress by African-American designer Tracy Reese that will cost less than $500 (paired with J.Crew pumps that retail at $245). Even the color choices are being discussed, with Ann's frock in "Nancy Reagan red" and Michelle's in a feminine (politically-neutral) pink. But the big issue is whether or not these first ladies are making a statement with the cost of their clothing. With the DNC focusing on appealing to the middle class, it makes sense that Michelle would pick an "attainable" outfit for the speech, so was it a faux pas for Ann to pick a pricey gown?
Perhaps since they aren't the ones running for office, spouses should be off-limits when it comes to media scrutiny. But the question remains: whether they're wearing Target dresses or frocks straight from the runway, should the spouses of our world leaders be judged for what they spend on fashion? And is it really about the expensive clothing, or is it more about the context in which it's worn? Of course Ann isn't the only political wife to garner negative attention for her fashion spending habits; Michelle has had her fair share as well. Weigh in below, and click through to see more photos of the controversial first-lady outfits.