Kantor appears to me to have hidden behind the "sleeveless dress in winter" theme to attack Mrs. Obama in a rather catty way. For example, Kantor writes:
In two years, she has shown us a great deal of herself, more than most of us would share, and yet right now, we actually don’t know that much about her. What does she think of the White House, and what does she do all day? Does her husband consult her on any of the difficult decisions he faces? Is the “Mom-in-chief” really, totally confident that her children are going to come through this just fine? In a few years, will she still look as confident as she did last night, or will she reach for cover? And is she comfortable as she looks in those skimpy tops, or is she actually freezing?
What is she talking about? The media, including the New York Times, has covered Mrs. Obama from birth to yesterday. She has been profiled, criticized, and lauded. Sounds like Jodi Kantor requested an interview and was denied one. As for what does Mrs. Obama do all day, this does not deserve serious consideration. For starters, she's a mother, wife, director of her own White House operation, stand-in for the president, hostess of a Governor's dinner, visitor to several Washington schools, speaker at several cabinet departments, spent a weekend in Chicago and another at Camp David, gone to lunch.....
Oh heck! Why was this stupid column published anyway on a political blog instead of in the fashion section? Also, why is she focusing on what Mrs. Obama is wearing? It reminds me of the media's preoccupation with Hillary Clinton's pants suits during the campaign. Men don't get scrutinized for what they wear, so why would a woman reporter scrutinize the First Lady's bare arms?
As for how will Malia and Sasha turn out, I can only say that Jodi Kantor must not have children because a mother would never ask such a stupid question.
There is a generational and cultural element involved in Mrs. Obama's sleeveless style about which Kantor is clueless. Older black women tend to dress more modest and formal on occasions like the State of the Union address. Middle aged black women grew up at a time when customs dictated that they wear more modest clothing such as jackets with sleeveless dresses, stockings, and the like. Washington working women wear a lot of suits, both pressed down and high fashion, and a lot of St. John's knits with sensible punps. I call it the Washington women's uniform because the suit can be worn during the day, and to a fancy cocktail party or dinner at night.
Maybe Michelle Obama will ruffle things up a bit in the fashion department. Lots of color, beautiful fabrics, and a flair for the exotic from time to time might bring a breath of fresh air. More likely, her style will evolve over time and she will hold our attention because of our fascination with her.