Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mrs. O's Style criticized by Paranoid Designers

The fashion world is in a quite tizzy over Michelle Obama's decision to not wear well known designers duds. Bearing claws and fangs, designers are ripping her selections worn last week to shreds with their commentary. "How dare the First Lady of the United States wear American designers’ clothes and American brands made right here in the United States," they are crying loudly. Who does she think she is buying brands that regular folks can pronounce and giving younger designers credibility that would have taken decades to achieve? These questions were being asked online, on talk shows and cable news by designers. Mrs. O has lost her mind , according to the fashion industry experts, because she wears sensible, stylish, chic and affordable clothes that everyday American women have fallen in love with in spite of the media’s criticism.

Designers' show rooms clothing racks are bare and showing signs of an economy in despair. The recession has not only hit Wall Street and Main Street, but 57th Street as well. The fashion district is hurting and designers are taking their frustrations out on Mrs. O and the political pundits are reporting their pain with glee.

But to the pundits surprise and dismay, Mrs. O has become an enduring figure in last the few months. Doing good deeds from planting vegetable gardens to reading to inner city kids, Mrs. O does it all while looking stylish at the same time. Mrs. O has admiring fans crashing J Crew's website daily and giving the world a taste of Nashville by wearing rhinestones before noon. And her shameless display of her fit arms have many pundits joining the NRA in protest. I keep asking why has her fashion style created so much discord among designers and political pundits. When political pundits take up the case for fashion designers and turn their critical lens on Mrs. O's apparel nightly, you know it is a slow news day.

The "poor me" attitude from designers who have made a living by devaluing American garments and creating a vacuum of sweat shops overseas to sell clothes that are not worth the thread that they are sown with, mirrors the elitists attitude that is prevalent on Wall Street. As the country has become sick of over compensated executives, folks are now showing distaste for designers who can not design on a budget and throwing hissy fits. As for Michelle Obama, she has not wasted her time answering her critics. Instead, she steps out day and night with not a hair out of place.

No matter what your politics, Republican or Democrat, Michelle Obama has shown the world that she is a strong, independent woman. Unlike women who have come into to fame quickly, she has not lost her head and gone Diva crazy yet. Her hair stylist for years is by her side and she is still wearing her belts and boots from the campaign trail as if she bought them yesterday. By her own account, she orders online and makes her choices herself when it comes to the clothes she buys.

I think back to Jennifer Hudson who was thrown into that hideous outfit with pockets for the Oscars because the designer and the editor at Vogue wanted her to wear it. What was best for Jennifer and her body type was not the focus, but how much camera time they got for being her stylists seemed to be the priority. When she landed on the worst dress list that year, the same crazy-spray-tanned designers got even more camera time discussing how bad she looked.

Of sound mind and confidence, Mrs. O has proven to us she will not be looking like a train wreck because of a designer with personality disorder. If her outfit is a disaster, she will take credit for it. Mrs. O knows what she likes and knows what compliments her body type. She spends her money and the clothes are not on loan for the ego of a designer or a publication. Change has come to the fashion world if not to Wall Street or Main Street.

Many of the whining designers are the same ones who have perpetuated stereotypes on the runways and in fashion magazines. During my days on the catwalk, I was often told only ONE black model is needed per show. You had to bone thin to be the one or kill off the other models trying out. Funny how the tables have turned since Michelle Obama has become First Lady. Designers who barely paid attention to diversity among the models strutting in their clothes are now begging a black woman to please wear their designs. God definitely has a sense of humor.

Thanks to Mrs. O, black models are in demand more than ever. Even broads over forty, like me, are getting work thanks to Mrs. O's influence. Since that sums up any stimulus I am going to get from her hubby's administration, I will count my blessings.

Speaking of designers, I would like to promote one of Nashville's youngest couture designers, Charles Brown of Charles Lord. Mr. Brown is gifted and talented. He has designed a line for Mrs. O that will be shown this fall. American made clothes from a young person raised and educated in Middle Tennessee. Keep your head up Charles, your time is coming. For those who would like to take look at his line, visit his website at

In the meantime, Charles, I need a head turner to wear for Divas Nashvegas. Please call me.

Green Dress by Charles Lord

prior post about Mrs. O:


Luvvie said...

All these designers need to cry me a river, build a bridge, and get the hell over it. Like really. This is sooo childish of them. They are throwing a collective tantrum and its leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

Latrice of Bridal Opulence said...

Great post!

Howerton+Wooten Events said...

This was an excellent post! You are so right on so many levels.

So often we must watch ball players wear sneakers that are entirely too expensive for a hardworking mom to afford for a child or the media showcase stars in clothes that we could never afford to buy ourselves. Everyone and everything has become so out of touch.

And here we have a positive role model wearing affordable, american made clothing and the famous (& wealthy) want to bash her for it.

Where are they when she takes celebrities to the DC public schools to encourage students to excel? And where are they when she (along with her beautiful daughters) work on projects for military families? I guess that isn't worth their ink.

These designers and the political pundits should take a moment to look within. Oh wait a second, they are too shallow to do that!

Thanks again for a great post.

Love & Soul Always, Kay

vgliatti said...

I love this post and your commentary, my only long overdue is this? How in touch you are with the average American woman who wants so badly to look good at work and at play but can't afford pricey designer clothes and doesn't know the first thing about who they are either! We want clothers that wear well, show our best assets and are affordable. I say Amen, thank you Mrs. O for showing classy doesn't have to be expensive. Maybe that attidude can be reflected in American government and we can get ourselves, as a country by making more sensible choices like you!

Veronica Gliatti

Anonymous said...

This is my first time being exposed to your blog! It is simply (GOD SENT) (smile) I am so delighted with this piece on Mrs O, and her choice in style! I am a Military Wife, and very proud of U
SA! In every way! Buy America! Soldiers Wife 1965

Anonymous said...

When I lived in New York, some of the chicest fashions and best dressed & best built were in the so-called "ghetto." used interchangeably for the Black community. Notwithstanding the fact that much of it is about compensations (i.e., taking control of what you can, when your environment is too big and weildy to be within your control), there is great pressure on ALL women to look good in a city that is so fashion- & looks-conscious, no matter what the cost. And for women in Black communities, the compensations have often brought out some of the classiest, most imaginative, and creative ensembles on the streets. It is well known that even "mainstream," couture fashion designers get their ideas from the street. Think hip-hop & how Tommy Hilfiger appropriated many aspects its style for his line when it was still considered an "up & coming." I'm glad to hear Michelle has upped the employability of Black models in a "down" economy--how ironic that fashion might be ONE of our saviours--even for older women. Folks have been saying for years that I should model & my response has always been that I'm well beyond the age to begin that, and I thought the din would die out, but it has yet to do so. In America, at least we can always count on what's hot in the moment to be a force for change. And right now Michelle is hot. May every Black woman benefit. Enjoy it while you can ladies!!

Sherryl said...

Duuuuuuuuudes!!! Quit your complaining!!! Get over yourselves!! Mrs O can wear whatever she pleases!!

photoroy77 said...

Would somebody PLEASE give those crybabies a pacifier to suck on. Maybe that will enable them to keep their mouths shut!!


one maestro said...

This was hilarious, and right on point, as usual!! She makes me proud.

Anonymous said...


If those designers wants free publicity they can call me and I will wear their clothing.

The reason these designers are upset, because they know women of color will purchase these items. HA! HA! the joke is on you (Designers)

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