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So What Exactly Was First Lady Obama Supposed to Wear to the Grand Canyon? An Ankle Length Skirt

Yes. yes. I've been in a cave somewhere for the past two weeks and apparently all Hades broke loose when First Lady Obama decided to don shorts to go visit the desert. GASP! The Horror!
"Michelle Obama: The Shorts Heard Round the World" — A headline in TIME magazine following the first lady's decision to — gasp! — wear shorts.

"Yes She Can! 59% of Readers Say Michelle Has Right To Wear Shorts
" — A Huffington Post headline on the same topic.

How dare she not don woolen slacks or an ankle length skirt when visiting a blistering hot national park with her school age children. After all, the most important thing when on vacation with small children is making sure others aren't offended at the sight of your legs. Oh get a grip people. Heaven help us if she goes to the beach and wears GASP swimwear.

At the end of the day, the message is the same, people don't think First Lady Michelle Obama is "worthy" of being First Lady of the United States. Well she is... and she wears shorts and occasionally goes sleeveless. BTW I think her outfit at the Grand Canyon was far more appropriate than this ensemble she wore to dig up the White House garden.

Who gardens in this get up with hair and makeup looking FLAWLESS? Happy vacay First Lady Obama, you deserve it after all of this foolishness!

Reader Comments (33)

Would these people be happier if she wore a burka?????

August 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLynn ~ Illinois

She has the body to wear what ever she wants. First lady does not mean to be a prisoner. She looks nice in her short and I'm sure Barack likes that too. And that is the most important person in her life. She is young, beautiful, first lady, mom, wife.... let her be also a person and do what she wants !!! Michelle you are great !!!! No skirt, a short is the best for the Grand Canyon!

August 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaitrie

If She Wears a Swimsuit To The Beach I Will Be Happy But The Rest of yall Need To Stop TRIPPING.

August 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

She looks great in anything. She's young and has got a fabulous figure, so she can wear pretty much anything!

August 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFrench armoire

This article said:
"How dare she not don woolen slacks or an ankle length skirt when visiting a blistering hot national park with her school age children"

"Blistering hot"? Actually, the temperature was mild/cool at the Grand Canyon during the Obama family weekend visit. On Saturday (Aug 15) the high was 83F high and 42F low. On Sunday (Aug 16) the high was 83F and 33F low. Check for Grand Canyon Natl Park, AZ.

Just use a simple litmus test for this situation... If Laura Bush or Cindy McCain (If McCain was president) walked off of Air Force One in shorts and t-shirt would you still applaud the "fashion statement" or would you say that the outfit was inappropriate?

Barack Obama wore long pants and a golf shirt for the Grand Canyon tour. If it was so hot that day, why didn't he wear shorts and tank top? Doesn't he deserve to be as comfortable as Michelle? Could it be that he thought it would not be appropriate?

August 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDee

I have to say, with the way the economy is, how our country is doing, why in the world would anyone need or want to hear about how the First Lady decided to go casual for a vacation?? Who cares!!! Worry about how to help the President solve our issue's, figure out how to help those who need it in this time of despair instead of constantly trying to tell the nation who needs to wear what when they are doing something. Sheesh people, part of the problem of this nation is because we are worried about how we look or how we dress. We need to figure out how to have jobs for American's, health care that everyone can afford, and bring our country out of the black we have put ourselves in!!

August 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeanne Nicoletta

LOL at Dee's comments - 83 degrees in the Grand Canyon is hot enough to wear shorts, dayum! Plus they were "Mom" shorts.

August 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersjm

Michelle Obama should dress appropriately according to the event. However, being the 1st Lady and representing the United States, I feel she should take a longer look in the mirror and at her husband who is the President of the United States prior to leaving the White House because the President always look nice. Let's be for real...Sometimes, she gets it wrong and I feel the shorts should have been longer (to the top of her knee because she has long legs) gym shoes, and cap OK, but perhaps a top with a square neckline and cap sleeves would have prevented this, (another issue to discuss). A little lipstick even without make-up goes a long way for a woman and is a hint she is concern how she is perceived. She is a public figure and should look presentable at all times because it goes with the territory. Moreover, and personally, I would not walk along the side of a man who stepped out looking more presentable than I did. "I'm just saying"

August 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterConnie

Dee is just exposing her hatred for our first lady because she is a BLACK woman, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

A White first lady could have showed up at the G8 summit in poom-poom shorts and a midriff, and she would be called a "Trendsetter" and the net would be going on and on about how "Hawt" She looks.

Jealous, petty, racist haters!

August 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeznoire1973

I think capris would have been more appropriate.

August 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBabs

To Dee:

No, I would not care if Laura Bush or Cindy McCain (pointless since she was never a First Lady) wore attire like this b/c I'm frankly not that obsessed with anyone's clothing other than mine. Unless they are breaking laws or exposing their private parts, I could care less; I care more about their initiatives. I surely don't recall America dictating a First Lady's clothing this much, complaining that she doesn't know what to do and isn't exuding class or dignity. It genuinely is not that crucial especially if the woman is on vacation. I also don't consider First Lady Michelle's shorts a "fashion statement." They are simply and will forever more be shorts, period. Just shorts. And they were most definitely appropriate. The fact that certain people, you included, always use older, white republican women as your litmus test speaks volumes of your legitimacy. If your beef isn't with Michelle Obama per se (as many lying detractors state), why not use someone else a little closer to Michelle's profile? Someone of color, around her age, maybe even a democrat? At least mix it up sometimes as to not give yourself away.

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLeesa


I agree with you 100%. People just feel that they can dictate everything Michelle does and that she should fit into their standards, but she is her own person.

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpepper

Michelle always dresses to suit the occasion.However there are some well
known Americans who have more cash sense ;-)

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSuzan

Well, here's Dee from London just putting in my tuppence worth!

Wearing shorts for a trip to a blazing hot Grand Canyon, on a boiling hot day seems like sound sense to me.

(I know it's August, and maybe in some ways a slow news month, but goodness, TIME saw fit to comment on this?!)

August 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDee

To Leesa:
You said on AUG 26th... "The fact that certain people, you included, always use older, white republican women as your litmus test speaks volumes of your legitimacy".

With all due respect, we don't know each other and probably will never know each other. So, to claim to know what I "always" say/do is interesting.

I mentioned Laura Bush because she was the First Lady before Michelle Obama. I mentioned Cindy McCain because if John McCain had won the election Cindy would have been First Lady. They just happen to be Republican and white... What difference does that make anyway? I was talking about the First Lady position. I suppose I could have also mentioned Hilary Clinton so that a Democrat was included in my example of First Ladies.

I thought this comment section was for people to express their opinions/views of what may or may not proper attire for a First Lady in this particular circumstance. That's what I did... No more, no less. I'm sorry that you (And another poster) felt the need to bring race into the discussion.

Is this really what's on the top of everyone's mind. How long her shorts are.

They were longer shorts and she was on vacation, not walking into a dinner with congress. She put her hands down to her side they were like finger tip length. Her daughter was also wearing shorts about the same length on her, with a tank top! ~gasp~ should she not be able to wear it because she's the presidents daughter. Of course not. If she stepped out in some daisy duke cut offs with the pockets hanging out the front... yes super inappropriate. she was even wearing an over shirt. give her a break.

If anyone saw her 2 years ago picking up her kids at school, of on vacation not one person would say "man look at that women's shorts. Waaaay to short" Fact is she's younger then other wives have been, and the ones that were her age didn't have cameras everywhere all the time catching every move, meal and sneeze. So maybe others did wear shorts this long but it wasn't posted all over websites and talked about on the NEWS! Ya know why. Because it's not a big deal! it's not effecting my life, your life, honestly all that matters is the issues and how it's handled. And if we didn't have TV we wouldn't even of known, but the issues would still be the same.

Honestly, she can walk around in a gorilla suit for all I care, it doesn't change the war, medical, or the economy.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

I think this is so silly. She can wear whatever she wants as long as nothing is hanging out. She for sure has the right to "bare arms". As far as her hairstyles, look at Oprah, no difference. I am a black women who thinks she has beautiful hair. Let her get some braids or dredds and then see what people say. Duh!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterljcherry

wait a min, as i reading all the comments (especially CONNIE) i almost forgot that America is a Free country , thus we can say whatever we want, wear w,e we want to express ourself as long as it doesn't offense anyone.. So seriously, what is wrong with MOM Short and W/O make up. How about we let paris hilton be the first lady? will you be happy CONNIE? First Lady doesn't need to be an eyes candy...
................GO MICHELLE .........
seriously i am not a big fan of obama, but Michelle's character just amazed me pe@ce

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterelly

I think it is stupid that this made the news.

But, yes, as a public figure (democrate or republican) I think her shorts were too short--and a little too tight. I'm not saying that she had to wear a skirt, but she should have dressed a little better. Think of it this way, what would Oprah have worn?

I don't know why everyone thinks she's such a style icon. Women have been wearing similar fashions for years--they call it business dress!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJLB

Dee I totally agree with you on this...but the truth of the matter is.. America shouldnt be worried about what The First lady is doing or wearing.. BUT they should be VERY worried about what her husband is doing! God Bless America!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRandi

I am so surprised how Americans are turning to be so stupid!!
Instead of discussing what she does and what she does not want YOU DISCUSS WHAT THE FIRST LADY WEARS?? do'nt you feel you look stupid at yourselves? (at least that will make you read your minds)...
Let Michelle live her life... what ever you talk about her you will not make her The Second Lady!!! SHE IS THE FIRST AND SHE WILL REMAIN THAT AS LONG AS HER HUSBAND IS YOUR PRESIDENT!!!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTANGYA

Well Dee, I don't think you'll hear much from the people that didn't like your comments from a few days ago. They don't want to hear the truth, their mind is made up!
I've noticed that if a person doesn't say all the right things at the right time about the Obamas' they are called everything from 'country haters' to 'racist'. So the backlash that you got for your statement the other day is understandable, even though you really did not say anything wrong.

I agree that the first lady should execercise proper judgement when deciding what to wear, even on a trip to the Grand Canyon. This was a photo op.(I'm pretty sure there were only select people allowed to take pictures. To even get close enough to take a picture.) The First Lady knew about it, and should have dressed appropriately. She has to know that she is held to a higher standard, now that she is 'First Lady'. She is representing our country, or does that even matter to some of you.

Back to the subject:
I don't think she should have worn those short shorts(practically daisies:(
Her thighs are a bit big and flabby. Just above the knee would have been more flattering!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRae

I agree with Babs. Capris would have been a better choice, or even a khaki-colored, buttoned dress, reaching slightly below the knees, with sandals, and a proper sun hat. The FLOTUS was viewing the Grand Canyon on an official visit, this was not a trip to Walmart in Illinois or Kansas.

Alternatively, she could have worn an ankle-length billowing sun dress, if it was a really beautiful designer item, made with great French material.

I also like the gardening outfit, by the way. People DO garden when they're dressed up, sometimes.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterClaire/ NYC

Leave it america to care.. we are so past it. Ilove michelle, i believe there are just people white and black who want to live int he past. so her hairs is long or short, get grip she wore shorts not a thong. americans will always find something to shit about. maybe if they got off their own asses stopped watching jerry springer or got a job they would not have so much time. Finally a strong black woman. America still can't stad that it took a black woman to move us into t he future. Many white woman, get tans listen to black music and still think they are the shit. well sorry but many of you have set the standard too low.(paris hilton, angelina Jolie have shown no class aka. Britney) Now we have Michelle can I say Jealous much?!!!

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjelica

The first lady can wear whatever she likes. She is still a woman. Most ppl take this thing to the extreme. What was she supposed to wear on vacation? Is she the only first lady that the world has a problem with? Every since her husband took office ppl have been commenting on her hair, clothes etc. Give the lady a break.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPhyllis

@"why didn’t he wear shorts and tank top?"

My guess is he just doesn't have the legs and arms for it. Simple. :P

As far as what she wore goes, what is the huge deal? As someone else said, it's not like she was walking around in a thong. 83 may not seem hot to some of us (I live in the southeast where it's hot and humid, usually closer to 100), it's still hot enough for someone to choose to wear shorts, especially if she's going to be hiking around out there a bit.

Until Ms. Obama lays out on the White House lawn in full view of everyone (not just our US stalker photographers) in the nude or a thong bikini, I say let the discussion of her clothes go. Unless you're wanting to discuss the style of what she wore, as opposed to its appropriateness for a given occasion.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterC.J.

"I am so surprised how Americans are turning to be so stupid!!
Instead of discussing what she does and what she does not want YOU DISCUSS WHAT THE FIRST LADY WEARS??"- Tangya

Oh, Tangya, I definitely understand where you are coming from. Appearance has its place, and is important, certainly, but when the focus on clothing far outweighs discussion of a person's accomplishments and what they're doing, you know that something has gone sadly awry.....

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDee

I think Rae may be even more ignorant than Dee. You call those short shorts. Where are you from, Amish country? She looks like any other mom on a family vacation to a hot dusty place. She is completely, appropriately dressed. Who calls 83 degrees, cool or mild? If you're out in the blazing sun, 83 degrees feels very hot.

I don't think any of you naysayers could possibly put on a fake, made- up image 24/7 for 4 yrs. It's so unnecessary! No one with a brain wants a Barbie doll for a first lady. She should be who she is, every day. And you ignorant haters should jump off your hate wagon, and try to spread some love around for once. Michelle Obama is beautiful, smart, accomplished and a wonderful mother, and wife, something most of you haters will never be. You know envy is a sin......... I'm just saying.

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

She is a mom with two young children. Also she is a younger mother. If you look at some of the other first ladies, they were roughly the same age as Michelle is now. Rosalynn Carter was 40 when Jimmy was elected, Hilary Clinton was 45 during Bill's first term, Jackie Kennedy was 32 when JFK took office. Those times were all different, and most of the former first ladies average age was between 50 and 60. We tend to look at Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and some during the 60's and think all first ladies are old, therefore, not likely to wear shorts or even capris. Jackie did wear capris in some photographs while JFK was in office and probably then that as a "no-no" and she had two younger children as well.

Basically - who cares...

September 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

@Trish. "Who calls 83 degrees, cool or mild?" Hehe, some of us southeastern (or southern in general, note Texas) folks consider it cool/mild. But we're also usually smart enough to realize that for people from different areas of the US, that -is- really blazing hot. I recall a trip to Maine where the weather was in the 70s for a week. To me, it was wonderfully cool as I'd just come from 100+ weather. For the locals, it was a heatwave and they were nearly roasting to death!

@Steve, yeah, Jackie caught a lot of griping about her style choices, which is insane as she's now the ideal of how a First Lady should look (though I wouldn't be surprised if Ms. Obama replaces here before too long). Both ladies have a tremendous sense of personal style, as well as a no-nonsense approach to mothering and comfort.

September 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterC.J.

I think a lot of people are missing the boat. First, of all the topic is about fashion. I don't think we are spending too much time talking about Michelle's fashion sense. If you want to know about the political goings on their are plenty of websites to address that.

As First Lady representing the United States of America. Michelle is put to a higher standard. Period. As should any lady who takes on that role. Therefore you have to dress the part. Honestly, I wouldn't have a problem with Michelle wearing shorts if she was not the "First Lady..." If it was Michelle as an ordinary citizen. Fine. I felt that regardless of the weather. I would have preferred to see Michelle in some very attractive "fashion forward" capris (up to her knee or ankle) and a really "sharp" lightweight top. There are plenty of designers out there with excellent "taste" that Michelle could have at her disposal.

I think that sometimes Michelle's fashion is on point but sometimes she misses the point too. She's a very attractive women and very fit. I hope that she will start using more American established designers out there (Micheal Kors, Donna Karan, Bill Blass, Calvin Klein...etc). I read that she is using some pieces by Micheal Kors.

I still would put Jackie Kennedy as the first icon of First Ladies when it comes to dressing the part. Most of the ladies in the past dressed too matronly and old. I thought Nancy Reagan did okay but then she had good friends like Betsey Bloomingdale of Bloomingdale's and host of New York ladies that lunch society as friends. I do notice some similarities in Jackie and Michelle in terms of their dress. Jackie too was known for wearing simple, elegant and chic dresses with no sleeves even during the winter.

Lastly, I think that Michelle may also want to take a que from her own cabinet (Desiree Rodgers and Valerie Jarrett). Both have impeccable taste.

Footnote: Michelle and the kids were on vacation. Pres. Obama was not that may explain his attire that day.

September 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKandace

Gracious poeple, if i get to her age and have abody like that i'll be running around it HOTPANTS!! yes she is a public figure and yes she should be 'appropriate' but if you take a careful look at all previous first ladies Jackie O is the only one who would come close on a physical level so theres no use drawing comparisson along that line, plus whoever wrote that 'her man looked better than her' needs glasses its not Mrs O's fault that the man probably doesn't have the calves for shorts, if she has the leg for it then hell let her show it! and whatever else she feels like showing she has done so tastefully until now and i don't think any of the negative commentators posting here would hold up so well under similar scrutiny.

if i dont stop nw i never will.

September 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHoney

Well let me see you wearing shorts I bet your legs are pasty and full of cellulite dont compare yourself with hershes stunning has a body to die for and I realise you envy her. Let e ask you something have your ever heard of a weak black women affected by your words I think not if she was not in such a public eye she would kcik you with her athlete legs back to your narrow minded small minded town you bigot. Its amazing what peple will say behind a computer well thats what you are a coward and a hater. Michelle Obama is a revololutionary woman soon more and more men will replace dumb bimbos for somone as intelligent and sexy as her, what are you afraid somhow your husband might find his very own Michelle lol?

September 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaria

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