Yesterday on facebook, I promised a rant.  I knew it was coming because I saw the pictures on Wednesday – I just didn’t have enough time to get up a post for yesterday.  So, a day or two late, but here it is.

If you know me at all, you know I get pretty passionate about society’s tendency to refer to Michelle Obama as a style icon.  Politics completely aside, it’s not that I think she’s an unattractive woman – clearly, she is quite pretty.  And, I do usually think she dresses nicely.  But, to be an icon – to have words like “radiant” and “stunning” regularly tossed in your direction – you need to be a bit of a cut above.  And, you need to dress appropriately for your age and the occasion – an area where Mrs. Obama frequently falls short.

Take, for example, her clothing choice for the US-African Summit on Tuesday night.

Obama neon dressFlickr/Amanda Lucidon/U.S. Department of State

Now, I happen to hate neon yellow – I think it’s an ugly color in anything but a highlighter.  But, that is a personal opinion, so I’ll set that aside for the moment.

What bothers me more about the dress color is that it’s neon at all.  While neons are fun for high school girls, I struggle with wearing them even as an accent color at my ripe old age of 29.  At 50, this bold of a statement is too much, especially for someone in a dignified position, such as First Lady of the United States. (The dress also looks like it has wings, but I’ll just leave that alone.)

Next is the bracelets.  You all know stacking bangles is one of my favorite things, but I can’t help but imagine that the noise they make would prove a bit distracting when conversing with world leaders.  A stack this big also seems too youthful and trendy for a woman of her age and position.

Lastly, I have to comment on the hair.  I think top knots are cute – I’m wearing one right now – and really, I wouldn’t even be opposed to the First Lady sporting one.  But, this particular top knot seems to be so tight as to pull Mrs. Obama’s skin.  And that’s not flattering on anyone.

Bottom line, I would be the last person to say someone in an important position or of a certain age should stop dressing pretty.  I love color, and I think women of all ages, shapes, and sizes can and should be fashionable!  But, when you try so hard to look young, it tends to have the opposite effect.  And when you are First Lady of the most powerful nation on earth, there is a higher level of expectation that sometimes demands setting aside trends for the sake of respecting the position – something a true style icon would know.

Pretty, she is.  A good First Lady of the United States?  That’s a debate for another post.  But a fashion icon – I just can’t get there.  (See also: meeting the queen in a cardigan; this ugly, ill-fitting number; and whatever is happening here.)