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Michelle Obama’s Arms

cycler1729 | Posted in General Discussion on

It’s absurd considering everything that’s going on in the world but my local news had several segments about the fact that Michelle Obama’s dress had no sleeves (somehow this is controversial?!?) and that she has great arms (which she does). 

I remember when everyone wore dresses that had short or no sleeves even in the winter.  Jackie Kennedy always wore them!  It wasn’t until the 70s when girls began competing in the professional fields that someone had the misguided idea that in order to work in the same jobs as men we had to dress like them – only a lot worse!   Men look great in a well-cut, tailored suit but the “professional” suits that they wanted us to wear flattered no one.  Before that ladies even in the higher levels of business wore beautiful, flattering dresses and they were still taken seriously. 

I love that she is strong and has a mind of her own and doesn’t follow what everyone else is wearing.  And I hope that her choices bring back dresses as accepted professional attire. 




My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library. —Peter Golkin


  1. sewfar | | #1

    Perhaps it is not so much that she showed her bare arms but that it is still winter particularly in the D.C area and she looked incongruous among those dressed in keeping with the colder weather. I am sure those of us with hot flashes have on more than one winter's day wished we could wear that sleeveless summer shift but thought better of it. Comfort and/or a desire to highlight a particular asset is sometimes trumped by style and the particular occasion.

    1. Ceeayche | | #2

      Some of our sisters of a certain age are simply more confortable without the sleeves and that maybe just maybe she does carry a cardigan/jacket and that the sleeveless dresses make it a little easier to weather her "private summers". 

      For that possibility I can be generous and leave her alone.  She nails so many other things and knocks others out of the park.... And, her upper arms are toned and attractive. So I'm not "hating" on her for doing what works!

    2. cycler1729 | | #3

      I guess what I wanted to say was who decided that "only" this or "only" that is proper?  As I said, years ago we all wore no sleeves in the winter in New York and it was perfectly all right no matter what the occasion.

      If a designer had shown a line of untraditional winter dresses he'd be praised for being different.

      1. sewfar | | #5

        I think I was wrong and you are right. Upon reflection I think I had my share of sleeveless winter dresses. Its just that I have not seen much of it lately

        1. GailAnn | | #6

          Exactly.  Short sleeves, too.  Ladies used to wear them all the time......Until it was  decided that since well-dressed Gentlemen wear long sleeves, even French cuffs, even in the heat of the Summer.  Women must follow suit.

          Yes, those 80's power suits were awful!!!

          I don't know when I stopped wearing sleeveless and/or short sleeved blouses/dresses??????????   Sometime after I stopped changing diapers, but before I entered the business world.

          Silly, now that I think about it - I never stopped doing the dishes and long sleeves are ALWAYS in the dish water!  Gail

          1. courgette | | #7

            I really like the look of a sleeveless dress with matching/coordinating jacket.


          2. GailAnn | | #8

            Me too!  Or a feminine shawl.  Or a shrug.  Or even a short sleeved jacket. 

            I believe we used to call those ensambles, sometimes a sleeveless dress and matching coat. 


            Edited 3/4/2009 3:13 pm ET by GailAnn

          3. cycler1729 | | #10

            I loved the "ensembles".  It was so easy to get dressed and feel coordinated.

            And do you remember when winter coats were 3/4 sleeved and we wore long unlined leather gloves?  I'd freeze now! 

  2. goodwife | | #4

    I love the idea, - libraries and bicycles.  However I can't ride a bike anymore, bad knees and we live at the top of a steep hill.  I could go down but never get back home...... but I love my library.  (and walking is ok, doesn't waste anything either).

  3. WandaJ | | #9

    For what it is worth...have any of you seen the McCall Spring/Summer Pattern Catalogue, particularly, the 'Dresses' section? If not, take some time to look as there are several 'sleeveless' dresses with lots of style.

    For me, I need to not only tone up my arms but, loose a lilt' gut too! None-the-less, I plan on making a few of them as I purchased 5 patterns @ $0.99 during Hancock's Pattern sale last weekend. If you do take a look at the 'sleeveless' dresses let me know what you think.

    Edited 3/4/2009 10:12 pm ET by WandaJ

  4. moushka | | #11

    I can't believe anyone would be criticized today for wearing a sleeveless dress anywhere, except maybe to a cathedral for a state funeral, and even then....? This is 2009, for goodness' sakes, not 1899! Michelle Obama looks terrific in her sleeveless dresses. More power to her for keeping in the shape to wear them. Her arms are one of her biggest assets; why shouldn't she show them off? Whoever wrote the newspaper article should remember that Michelle holds no official position whatsoever, and is not "employed" as First Lady. What she wears is strictly up to her. I can only suppose that it must have been a slow news day and the reporter couldn't think of anything else to write about.

    1. cycler1729 | | #12

      I agree completely but it was on every television news report in NYC that I saw and there was even a mention that there had been a "controversy" on NPR (although they had the right attitude - they were mocking the reporters for even mentioning it!)

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