Michelle Obama reportedly wore a Carolina Herrera-designed $12,000 dress to the recent state dinner for French President Francois Hollande.
By some estimates, the White House dinner itself cost the taxpayers about $600,000.
This is happening while the Obama administration is trying to address “income inequality.” Given rampant unemployment and the fact that millions of Americans have had to engage in their own form of belt-tightening, is this designer gown inappropriate, even if was via a FLOTUS discount, rental, or gifted (assuming that is okay under whatever ethics rules that might apply)?
According to SandraRose.com, “It amazes me that Mrs. Obama doesn’t have better judgment when it comes to selecting her fashions. Why wear a $12,000 dinner dress when she knows it costs more than the U.S. poverty level? Did she honestly believe that dress was appropriate considering the economic situation?”
The right-of-center media took note of the gown’s price, but the cost itself was barely mentioned by most big media outlets.
Let’s face it; the kind of fashion statements individuals choose to make or not make should be a non-issue. Who cares?
That being said, the double standard in the mainstream media appears to be beyond self-evident by now. For example, remember the fuss that the media fashion police made about how much Sarah Palin spent on clothes during the 2008 presidential campaign?
If you were around during the Reagan administration, or read about it, President Reagan’s wife Nancy received a lot of criticism for her expensive tastes (some of which were freebies) and for entertaining Hollywood friends at the White House. Yet, today, celebrities seem to have an all-access pass to the presidential residence, and no one in the journalism world seems to mind that much.
In fact, after President Reagan left office, the IRS launched a probe to see if Nancy Reagan owed any back taxes on gifted jewelry or designer clothes.
More recently, the media mocked Ann Romney, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s wife, for her expensive hobby of riding horses, but failed to mention that it was part of her multiple sclerosis therapy. And how about this gem about the “tone-deaf” Romney campaign from the Washington Post circa May 2012: “Does Ann Romney wear her $990 designer shirt while driving one of her two Cadillacs? The very wealthy Mitt and Ann Romney have often been painted as out of touch with average Americans. Ann’s pricey shirt will not help her husband change those perceptions, no matter how many Laundromat photo ops are on the campaign’s daily itinerary…”
Commenting on the $12,000 Michelle Obama dinner dress, CNS.com noted that the dress was “more than the median annual household income worldwide of $9,733, and greater than the median income for households in at least 87 countries, according to data from Gallup.”
Added the White House Dosssier website: “I realize they are wealthy people, but does Michelle really have the money to throw down $12,000 for a dress? I mean, it’s not like Obama is an industrialist. Likely it was gift from the designer, Carolina Herrera, or at least provided at a steep First Lady discount. Still, in my humble opinion, WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY. The immodesty and decadence from the nation’s leading battlers for the poor continues. Imagine if Laura Bush walked out in a $12,000 dress with the economy continuing to swirl in the toilet? Or, God forbid, Nancy Reagan?”
A book published in 2012 claimed that the taxpayers spent $1.4 billion on staffing, housing, flying, and entertaining the first family in the year 2011.
@shawnanbcnews Thank you for this enlightening, informative, hard-hitting truth-to-power journalism.
— Nathan Edmondson (@nathanedmondson) February 12, 2014
— Michi I. (@michi83) February 12, 2014
Katie Pavlich of Townhall.com offered this assessment of the Michele Obama $12,000 dress worn for the Hollande official state dinner: “Here’s my bottom line, I couldn’t care less how much Michelle Obama’s gown cost. I’d love for every woman to have the opportunity to wear a gown like that in her life. Designer clothes are expensive because of the work that goes into them and I’m happy Caroline Herrera got paid for the work she did. Herrera reaped the reward of having a First Lady wear her art and product thanks to hard work. The issue is the Obamas and President Hollande lecturing the rest of us about how much money we should make, how we spend our money and how much of our money they are entitled to. People like Hollande and the Obamas are either elitist hypocrites or they don’t really believe in the socialist policies they preach about and implement for the rest of us.”
Hollande reportedly has the lowest approval ratings in his country of any French president in history, prompting former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who narrowly lost to Hollande in 2012, to strongly consider making a political comeback.
Does it matter at all how much First Lady Michelle Obama (or any past or future First Lady or First Man) spends on clothes or is it purely a private matter?