Michelle Obama's striking fashion choices make her the most glamorous first lady America has seen in a while, Cathy Horyn writes in the New York Times. Her vivid, Isabel Toledo-designed inaugural outfit stood out against the sea of red and black coats on the Capitol steps, Horyn writes, outshone only by Aretha Franklin's spectacular crystal-studded hat.
Michelle's many-layered, one-shouldered gown for the inaugural balls, from another up-and-coming designer, may not have been as sophisticated as the inaugural outfit but it still made a bold statement, writes Horyn. "(Jason) Wu's dress bares Obama's arms and shoulders and brings the first lady into the modern era, in which glamour is defined by Hollywood and the red carpet rather than protocol and tradition," writes Robin Givhan in the Washington Post. The adventurous choice of outfits shows the first lady is "not afraid to express herself with fashion," Horyn adds, "and it is the kind of confidence that many women will recognize in themselves."