TODAY | November 05, 2012
>>> of interest in the candidates of the campaigns, but there's also some fascination with style. it's the focus of our attention every four years, who will make history? who will win over the nation? we're not talking about the presidential candidates . we're talking about their wives. and let's face it. when it comes to first ladies, we've got a fascination with fashion , from dolly madison to mary todd lincoln , from grace coolidge to nancy reagan . many first ladies have been celebrated for their style. perhaps no one more than jackie kennedy .
>> right out of the gate she hit it with her inaugural ball outfit, the way she stood out with the crowd, the freshness of that white color, new beginnings, her youth. it spoke on so many levels to so many people.
>> yet, others have been criticized.
>> with hillary the problem was that she didn't define her own style, and she kept changing. i mean, her hairstyle is the perfect example of that.
>> for this election it's a fashion face-off between two formidable contenders with two distinctive styles.
>> michelle obama wears h & m , things that the normal person could buy, even though the majority of the time she is dressed in high-end designer clothing . she still that has that relatable touch to her.
>> ann romney typically favors more high end .
>> ann romney dresses in a very refined, expensive looking way. she wears a lot of designer clothing , but she still has fun with her style. she mixes prints. she loves a bright red dress.
>> while both women received high praise for their convention attire, they have also faced criticism for some of their wardrobe choices. michelle obama for not wearing an american designer to a state dinner last night and ann romney ruffled some feathers when she word this $900 bird print t-shirt earlier this year, but regardless of the highs and lows, it's not just about who wore what about you how these women will leave their mark.
>> well, avril graham is executive fashion and beauty editor for "harper's bazaar." good morning to you.
>> good morning.
>> with all the stress of the campaign it's fun to talk about something like fashion and these ladies get so much scrutiny about their choices.
>> this day and age where it's a digital day and age, every angle is scrutinized, every single thing you wear, every blogger has something to say. it's a defining role. the new first lady does have to sadly look really good.
>> one thing we're not doing is comparing or making this a competition between the two first ladies, because we agree both look fabulous.
>> let's start with ann romney . what do you think of her style?
>> interesting to see how she's evolved since she began the campaigning moments. wore bright jackets, a boxy looking and a bit touch unfinished. as the whole presidential situation has emerged she's really developed a much more of a polish. wearing designers that are absolutely perfect for the world stage. oscar did a la renta, wears his designs beautifully, doesn't pretend to shop at kmart. her husband is wealthy. she's wearing good clothes. this is a moment where a mistake is going to be there forever, where everybody is look back at a hideous mistake but good ones will be talked about.
>> and she's willing to go casual, too.
>> she looks fabulous in a pair of jeans. for anyone age 63 to look fabulous in a pair of jeans, i salute her. swimsuits on del rey beach the other week, looked amazing, but it's not a beauty competition and it would be a hideous thing to set women back like decades to think we're judging them that way, but it's the world stage. it's a global role.
>> let's talk about michelle obama , somebody who has been followed. whole blogs devoted to cataloguing her every outfit. what do you think about her that's created such a fascination?
>> you know, she has been absolutely the darling of the fashion community, and i think mainly because she's championed young new designers. look at jason wu , well new in the designer set, since he designed the inaugural dress, hits have blown up. challenged a lot of young designers, home grown and foreign and wears them really well.
>> also designers that you find at the mall and high-end ones, too.
>> let's not remember, she actually wore a cardigan to meet the queen, every brit gasped, a cardigan to meet the queen but she pulled it off. she looked fantastic. we have to remember that this is a role you can make your own. we remember sleeve-gate, started to wear the sleeveless gowns, great buff arms, why not.
>> and both of these ladies seem to enjoy fashion .
>> that's not always the case with first ladies.
>> not always, you know, but, again, you're true to your own sense of self. hillary clinton tried very hard, just at the end of the day an intellectual woman who is a brainy girl. she doesn't have to fly the flag for fashion .
>> avril graham, fun to have the conversation and look at the pictures. both of them look great. appreciate it very