First lady fashions are more than trivial concerns: Their choices reflect on presidential campaigns and hold the power to spark new trends, writes Robin Givhan in the Washington Post. Cindy McCain "has endorsed the status quo" by turning to White House veteran Oscar de la Renta, while Michelle Obama "has shown her willingness to embrace a new generation of designers."
First lady fashion "is a troublesome combination of hostess, national Madonna and champion of some wholly uncontroversial cause," writes Givhan—but rather than play it safe, candidates' wives should shake up the industry. "With such a strong generation of new designers swaggering forth in New York over the coming week, it's disheartening to see such a lack of imagination." (Read more Cindy McCain stories.)