Fashion Comes Home to the White House - Creating Your Own Fashion Legacy

There is an enormous buzz around our nation, and even perhaps around the world, about what Michelle Obama will wear to the inauguration today.  It's an amazing piece of a historic event - the role that FASHION will play - and rightfully so.  The endless newsreels playing for the last few weeks have been looking back at past first ladies and the styles and colors of their inaugural ensembles.  And, of course, in this case, there are two little girls to "ooh and ahh" over as well.  What a day to be a dress maker! 

By now, if you were up early, you saw Michelle Obama leave her (very) temporary residence in a golden yellow brocade dress with a matching long jacket and long silk scarf - smiling and waving to news crews as she entered St. John's Church in Washington DC with her husband - the 44th president of our country.  It felt like every news channel you turned to did a critique of her outfit - how it seemed to match the color of the church - that it was a "happy" color and embraced Mrs. Obama's joie de vivre when it comes to fashion.  That it was classic, and yet still her own.  (Who can forget the amount of commentary about her daring black and red ensemble on the night of the election?)

I, for one, love the acknowledgment that the media is giving to fashion today.  For those of us in the clothing industry - from fabric designers, to boutique owners, to seamstresses and tailors and factory workers - well, this is a really great day for us.  We are center stage all day today - and we know it! 

But truthfully, we know something that everyone else might NOT know.  We are center stage EVERY day - and it's not just for the big occasions.  (Okay, we don't all have an inaugural ball to go to, but we all have those once-in-a-lifetime events - like weddings and proms - where we have that "perfect" dress that gets a million photographs.)  Rather, it's the smaller occasions where WE know that we literally make or break people.  It's the first date with the best looking guy in the office.  (And it's the dinner where you meet his parents.)  It's every single day that you go to work.  What we do matters.  It really matters.  We are literally the thread that ties us all together, from generation to generation. 

Clothing isn't just something to buy, wear, and toss away.  Be sure to save those special pieces to hand down to your daughters and nieces.  Fashion has a way of coming around again and again (can you say skinny jeans?).   And what doesn't come around becomes great stuff for school plays and Halloweens (poodle skirts and white leisure suits, anybody?).  For plus size women, there's also the tremendous honor of having some great fashion in the right size when the young women in your life are struggling - both financially and with their identities.  Even plus size women like Oprah Winfrey have shared that finding the right dress in her size has driven her to tears on the MOST special occasions, like the Emmy's. 

You will be more than the hero when you have that gorgeous plus size little black dress for someone's special New Year's Eve - or a beautiful plus size blouse to accent a great suit for that big interview.  As plus size women, we KNOW how important it is to dress to impress and dress for success!  Having those special wardrobe pieces to pass down is pretty wonderful.

I have visions of Michelle Obama's daughters, one day in the far future, unwrapping beautiful dresses from some treasured garment bag wrapped carefully in tissue paper, and saying to their own daughters, "This is the dress your grandmother wore to meet the King of England, and this is what she wore when she met the President of France."  Our clothing is far more than what it seems; it's part of our life story.  So the next time you have a great dress that you adore, take a picture of yourself in it at the occasion and then, when you save that dress and wrap it carefully in tissue, throw the picture in the box too.  We aren't all "The First Lady" but we ARE all part of a very intimate history to be treasured as part of our own legacy.


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