Michelle Obama: The right to bare arms

Feb. 25, 2009 at 4:55 PM ET

From Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor

Image: Michelle Obama sporting sleeveless dresses.It's not yet spring and yes, Michelle Obama has gone sleeveless (again), this time in the House chamber during President Obama's first address to Congress. Shock and awe!

We all remember the buzz about her Narciso Rodriguez dress on election night ... well, the cardigan has come off. Her husband's whole campaign was about change, and with a new president comes, of course, a new first lady.

Whether or not you agree with her right to bare arms, can you say she looked inappropriate? Uncomfortable? Vulgar? She didn't need any flashy baubles or shocking color to stand out; her rich deep purple looked regal. Michelle looked fresh and age appropriate. She came across chic, sleek, modern, poised, confident and vibrant. After all, if we've been able to get past wearing white after Labor Day, maybe it's time to embrace exposed arms (even in Washington)?

While dress codes may be a factor at times, most women opt to cover up out of self-consciousness. The fact that Michelle is confident and comfortable showing off a part of the body that many women loathe to expose (especially after our twenties), may in fact be inspiring. In modern times when we are dealing with headlines about obesity epidemics to anorexic models on the runway --  a first lady who is fit, healthy, active and takes pride in working out should be a role model.

Considering we elected President Obama -- who has no problem calling attention to how great his wife looks, and who clearly has confidence in her decisions -- shouldn't we?  

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