Ann Romney

The style hits (and misses) of Michelle Obama, Ann Romney

Nov. 5, 2012 at 1:57 PM ET

As we reach the end of this election season, there's obviously been a lot of interest in the substance of the presidential campaigns... but there's also unyielding interest in the style. Both first lady Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, wife of GOP candidate Mitt Romney, seem to have a keen interest in fashion, and the American public has been fascinated by what they've worn at various events. Their interesting and chic outfits, created by variety of American and international designers, have impacted perceptions across the nation.

Many have applauded Michelle Obama for her dedication to up-and-coming designers — like Jason Wu, who was once only known within high-end fashion circles — as well as for now and then wearing a cardigan or skirt from affordable retailers like J. Crew or H&M.

As for Ann Romney, she's been praised for her sophisticated taste in designers like Alfred Fiandaca and Oscar de la Renta, while also taking a few fashion risks, such as mixing prints or wearing an all-leather outfit on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno".

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Michelle Obama, wearing Tracy Reese, waves to supporters at the Democratic National Convention while Ann Romney, in Oscar de la Renta, greets the crowd the Republican National Convention.
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At the same time, there has been a fair share of criticism, too. In January 2011, for example, Michelle wore British designer Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen to a state dinner honoring the People's Republic of China, which some, including Oscar de la Renta, thought was in poor taste. "My understanding," de la Renta told WWD, "is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade — American products in China and Chinese products in America. Why do you wear European clothes?"

As for Ann Romney, she wore a loud bird-print shirt by designer Reed Krakoff on "The Early Show" on May 1. The issue? It cost $990, which many thought an outrageous amount.

"[Ann] needs to be a little more cognizant of the message she's trying to put out, just given the economic recession that we're in and everything that's going on," Meghan McCain told Lawrence O'Donnell of "The Last Word" soon thereafter.

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Both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney go for a fit and flare style with their debate-night getups on Oct. 22.

Despite their occasional misses, one can't deny the two leading ladies certainly have a flair for keeping the public interested. (The final frontier: Who will be the first to wear a Snuggie?)

What do you think of their style? Let us know!

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