#1  
Old 02-16-2014, 07:20 PM
dflower dflower is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: costal carolina
Posts: 203
Mrs. Obama's dress

I need the facts. Who paid for that dress?
Yes the one she wore to the state dinner for the French president.
It seems to have angered many people that she wore and expensive ball gown to a formal dinner. Why? One person told me that it was paid for with tax money. I can't find a site that gives me the facts.
Do you know?
  #2  
Old 02-16-2014, 07:57 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 26,687
Quote:
Originally Posted by dflower View Post
I need the facts. Who paid for that dress?
Yes the one she wore to the state dinner for the French president.
It seems to have angered many people that she wore and expensive ball gown to a formal dinner. Why? One person told me that it was paid for with tax money. I can't find a site that gives me the facts.
Do you know?
Short of it being given or loaned to her, it's probably an argument not worth getting into. Think about it. If you can prove that she bought it with 'her own money' (which I assume would be Barack Obama's Salary), the person is still going to argue that his salary is tax money and therefore the dress is paid for with tax money...right.
  #3  
Old 02-16-2014, 08:02 PM
Jophiel Jophiel is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Chicago suburbia
Posts: 17,065
Even if it was paid with tax dollars for the White House, it would have been out of a discretionary fund for entertainment and the like. So that's what that money is allocated for. Unless she bought it using Veterans Administration funds or something, I fail to see the point of the outrage (well, beyond partisan reasons, natch).
  #4  
Old 02-16-2014, 08:37 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,154
Because Mrs. Obama is black and her buying a dress with tax money (no matter how many steps occur between the person paying taxes and Mrs. Obama paying for the dress) is just high-end welfare, after all...
  #5  
Old 02-16-2014, 08:45 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: The Island of Misfit Toys
Posts: 10,305
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
Because Mrs. Obama is black and her buying a dress with tax money (no matter how many steps occur between the person paying taxes and Mrs. Obama paying for the dress) is just high-end welfare, after all...
Well, if she's gonna be a welfare queen she might as well dress the part.
  #6  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:02 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 13,688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Short of it being given or loaned to her...
And if it was given or loaned to her*, she may not get to keep it when the Obama's leave the White House.

There is a federal office** that decides if gifts given to the President & his family are personal gifts that they get to keep, or gifts given to them as representatives of our country, that are the property of the country and stay in the White House when they leave. Or sometimes the gifts go to other parts of the government. For example, I believe the Smithsonian has a big exhibit of dresses worn by First Ladies over the years.

* That's a common practice for fashion designers -- they give or loan things to celebrities who wear them at public occasions. See many of the dresses & jewels worn at the Oscars, or the races at Ascot, for example. The magazine coverage generally mentions the designer of these items, so they get free publicity from their donation.

** As I recall, this was set up when one President leaving the White House took with him a whole lot of such gifts, and later sold them. I think it was Nixon.

Last edited by t-bonham@scc.net; 02-16-2014 at 09:05 PM.
  #7  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:22 PM
Rick Kitchen Rick Kitchen is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Citrus Heights, CA, USA
Posts: 13,893
Why is Mrs. Obama the only one who gets criticism over dressing for a formal state dinner? Mrs. Reagan didn't do it? Mrs. Bush (either one of them) didn't do it?

And now a Republican Congressman has introduced a bill requiring the White House to serve school lunches at formal state dinners.
  #8  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:28 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 26,687
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
And if it was given or loaned to her*, she may not get to keep it when the Obama's leave the White House.
What difference would that make. If they were given to her, whether she gets to keep them or not, that's about the only way (that I can quickly think of) that they wouldn't have been bought with 'tax money'.
  #9  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:31 PM
running coach running coach is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Riding my handcycle
Posts: 33,083
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Kitchen View Post
Why is Mrs. Obama the only one who gets criticism over dressing for a formal state dinner? Mrs. Reagan didn't do it? Mrs. Bush (either one of them) didn't do it?

And now a Republican Congressman has introduced a bill requiring the White House to serve school lunches at formal state dinners.
Good Lord, I thought you were kidding.
  #10  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:38 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Flavortown
Posts: 34,324
Quote:
Originally Posted by dflower View Post
One person told me that it was paid for with tax money.
I heard it was made from thread spun from aborted fetuses. Had you heard that?
__________________
“If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let 'em go, because man, they're gone.” ~~Jack Handey
  #11  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:39 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,991
That's hilarious, as is the OP's mention that people were angry that the First Lady wore a formal dress to a formal dinner. I'm not sure what they think she should have worn.
  #12  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:44 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 13,730
If someone makes the argument that the Obamas are spending more money on entertainment or that they are getting more valuable items given to them that they can keep than other Presidents, tell this to that person, "How much did the second Bush spend on entertainment? How much did Clinton spend on entertainment? How much did the first Bush spend on entertainment? How much did Reagan spend on entertainment? And so on. How valuable were the items that the second Bush kept? How valuable were the items that Clinton kept? How valuable were the items that the first Bush kept? How valuable were the items that Reagan kept? And so on." If the person answers, as I suspect is likely, that they have no idea, then tell them to find out and get back to you. Otherwise they are just wasting your time. If they actually have an answer to those questions, you've got the beginning of a real discussion.
  #13  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:45 PM
Simplicio Simplicio is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Vermont
Posts: 11,805
So anyone have any actual factual information regarding the OP's question?

Michelle apparently doesn't get a clothing allowance as part of her Office. Since the dress is supposedly 10k, I kinda doubt she paid for it out of pocket (the Obama's make 400k a year, which is good money, but probably not good enough that they'd be blowing 10k on a single nights evening wear).

So the designer donating or loaning it seems like a more likely answer.
  #14  
Old 02-16-2014, 09:47 PM
Rick Kitchen Rick Kitchen is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Citrus Heights, CA, USA
Posts: 13,893
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
That's hilarious, as is the OP's mention that people were angry that the First Lady wore a formal dress to a formal dinner. I'm not sure what they think she should have worn.
She should have worn shorts and a T shirt, so they can criticize her for not dressing for a formal state dinner.
  #15  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:34 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 13,688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
What difference would that make. If they were given to her, whether she gets to keep them or not, that's about the only way (that I can quickly think of) that they wouldn't have been bought with 'tax money'.
Not even then.

If they were given to her, the designer classified that as either donations or advertising, and deducted it from his business taxes. So it still comes out of tax funds.
  #16  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:45 PM
GusNSpot GusNSpot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: N/W Arkansas
Posts: 8,182
I am much more interested in the number & size of the vacations he is taking & the numbers he takes on trips that seem to be way more than other presidents.

"Much more interested" is really not much because anything they (First Lady & President) do is not news worth. They are all crooks and out for only themselves. {/rant]
  #17  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:54 PM
running coach running coach is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Riding my handcycle
Posts: 33,083
As of Aug. 2013
Obama 92 days, Bush 367. Same time frame in their respective Presidencies.
  #18  
Old 02-16-2014, 10:59 PM
Enginerd Enginerd is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
That's hilarious, as is the OP's mention that people were angry that the First Lady wore a formal dress to a formal dinner. I'm not sure what they think she should have worn.
Sackcloth and ashes. After all, state dinners aren't for the likes of those people.
  #19  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:04 PM
Rick Kitchen Rick Kitchen is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Citrus Heights, CA, USA
Posts: 13,893
Quote:
I am much more interested in the number & size of the vacations he is taking & the numbers he takes on trips that seem to be way more than other presidents.
Not even close.
  #20  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:18 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 36,154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enginerd View Post
Sackcloth and ashes. After all, state dinners aren't for the likes of those people.
For most of the people who are "concerned" about the dress, and about the First Family's vacations and crap like that, they'd be much more comfortable seeing the President in a waiter's uniform and the first lady in a maid's. And GusNSpot, you've just completely destroyed whatever goodwill I might have had toward you. Just FYI. That position is a Fox News/rightwing nutjob position that's been debunked numerous times but still keeps coming up because ignorant people would rather stay ignorant than actually look up facts.
  #21  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:24 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 37,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusNSpot View Post
They are all crooks and out for only themselves. {/rant]
Moderator Note

GusNSpot, let's refrain from political jabs in General Questions. No warning issued.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
  #22  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:26 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 37,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
For most of the people who are "concerned" about the dress, and about the First Family's vacations and crap like that, they'd be much more comfortable seeing the President in a waiter's uniform and the first lady in a maid's. And GusNSpot, you've just completely destroyed whatever goodwill I might have had toward you. Just FYI. That position is a Fox News/rightwing nutjob position that's been debunked numerous times but still keeps coming up because ignorant people would rather stay ignorant than actually look up facts.
Moderator Note

jayjay, let's refrain from personal remarks about other posters in this forum, as well as political commentary. No warning issued.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
  #23  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:36 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 13,230
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Kitchen View Post
She should have worn shorts and a T shirt, so they can criticize her for not dressing for a formal state dinner.
IIRC, weren't some very nasty things said about Malia Obama a few years back for daring to appear in public in shorts and a t-shirt?
  #24  
Old 02-16-2014, 11:40 PM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 37,785
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
IIRC, weren't some very nasty things said about Malia Obama a few years back for daring to appear in public in shorts and a t-shirt?
Moderator Instructions

Let's stick to the specific issue of the source of the funds used for the dress. Otherwise this thread is going to get increasingly derailed. I note that some of the other posts above weren't appropriate for GQ either. If you want to comment about the politics of the issue, or other side issues, please open another thread in an appropriate forum.

This goes for everyone.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator

Last edited by Colibri; 02-16-2014 at 11:42 PM.
  #25  
Old 02-17-2014, 12:38 AM
bengangmo bengangmo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,823
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamia View Post
IIRC, weren't some very nasty things said about Malia Obama a few years back for daring to appear in public in shorts and a t-shirt?
Well....there is this (Michelle wearing shorts on vacation)
  #26  
Old 02-17-2014, 02:20 AM
Monty Monty is offline
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 21,388
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusNSpot View Post
I am much more interested in the number & size of the vacations he is taking & the numbers he takes on trips that seem to be way more than other presidents.

"Much more interested" is really not much because anything they (First Lady & President) do is not news worth. They are all crooks and out for only themselves. {/rant]
Maybe you should be much more interested in realizing that a presidential vacation is much different than a vacation from, say, your job. When the President is "on vacation," he's still functioning in the office he holds.
  #27  
Old 02-17-2014, 07:08 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Deepest South London
Posts: 20,252
Fun fact: apart from State dinners (which are "working dinners", after all) the President pays for his and his family's own food. So I'd be surprised if the First Lady is getting free designer dresses courtesy of the taxpayer.
  #28  
Old 02-17-2014, 07:19 AM
Charlie Wayne Charlie Wayne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,665
Mrs. Obama dresses right out of the 1950s.

But only the "ugly section" of the dress catalog.

The clothes this woman wears are a huge embarrassment for herself and for the country. It is so unbelievable that any woman would wear such ugly clothes that it is to laugh.
  #29  
Old 02-17-2014, 07:28 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Deepest South London
Posts: 20,252
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne View Post
Mrs. Obama dresses right out of the 1950s.

But only the "ugly section" of the dress catalog.

The clothes this woman wears are a huge embarrassment for herself and for the country. It is so unbelievable that any woman would wear such ugly clothes that it is to laugh.
You are of course entitled to your opinion, and in fact I don't think this dress is particularly flattering (nor indeed the hairstyle), but Michelle Obama usually dresses quite well in my view.
  #30  
Old 02-17-2014, 08:02 AM
brujaja brujaja is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: the front of beyond
Posts: 4,031
Well, the fabric of the skirt portion seems a little too stiff, and I think there's too much of it; but the bodice is just great, and she looks terrific in periwinkle. While I understand how much fun it is to occasionally sweep around in a fancy taffeta formal dress, I can't help wondering if it mightn't have been better without those extra folds of fabric on the sides, or perhaps just some other way of making the skirt portion full.

But again, that's a wonderful color on her. I would even say it's the ideal shade of blue for her to wear.
  #31  
Old 02-17-2014, 08:09 AM
brujaja brujaja is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: the front of beyond
Posts: 4,031
Check it out here.

In the top picture (fourth picture down), taken from the side, it looks just beautiful. In the second picture, from the front, it seems a bit bulky. Great color though.

...And when did periwinkle become "liberty blue?"

Last edited by brujaja; 02-17-2014 at 08:09 AM.
  #32  
Old 02-17-2014, 08:12 AM
Accidental Martyr Accidental Martyr is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,143
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne View Post
Mrs. Obama dresses right out of the 1950s.

But only the "ugly section" of the dress catalog.

The clothes this woman wears are a huge embarrassment for herself and for the country. It is so unbelievable that any woman would wear such ugly clothes that it is to laugh.
Please tell us your opinion on how all the previous First Ladies dressed. I'm sure everyone can't wait to hear.
  #33  
Old 02-17-2014, 08:26 AM
Gyrate Gyrate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Deepest South London
Posts: 20,252
Quote:
Originally Posted by brujaja View Post
But again, that's a wonderful color on her. I would even say it's the ideal shade of blue for her to wear.
Oh yeah, periwinkle suits her. But there's way too much going on in the bottom half of the dress. It looks like they used about twice as much fabric as necessary, and it probably weighs a ton. Simpler would have been much better.
  #34  
Old 02-17-2014, 08:38 AM
elbows elbows is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 12,959
In exactly the same way that TAX dollars bought Mrs Reagan's and Mrs Bush's gowns.

There is existing protocol, in place, to cover the acquisition of expensive fancy dress for state functions. Because American's long ago decided they wanted their First Ladies to look good on the world stage. Most nations have a similar protocol.

How is it anyone needs this explained to them?

When that Republican fellow got up and said, "We need to stop being the party of stupid!", I'm pretty sure this is exactly the kind of nonsense he was referring to.
  #35  
Old 02-17-2014, 08:48 AM
Joey P Joey P is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 26,687
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-bonham@scc.net View Post
Not even then.

If they were given to her, the designer classified that as either donations or advertising, and deducted it from his business taxes. So it still comes out of tax funds.
Are you sure about that? I really don't know, I'm asking. I'd be surprised if giving a dress to the first lady is considered a donation. The White House probably isn't a charitable origination. Also, as you said yourself, they do it for the publicity (advertising).

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that I don't think just because you gave something to Mrs. Obama you get to write it off.

If you're saying that it's because it ends up in the Smithsonian, then one could make the argument that it's no different then taking stuff to Goodwill and writing it off.
  #36  
Old 02-17-2014, 09:04 AM
lost4life lost4life is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Southeast of something
Posts: 3,601
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Wayne View Post
Mrs. Obama dresses right out of the 1950s.

But only the "ugly section" of the dress catalog.

The clothes this woman wears are a huge embarrassment for herself and for the country. It is so unbelievable that any woman would wear such ugly clothes that it is to laugh.
WTF?
  #37  
Old 02-17-2014, 09:16 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
Well, one out of four sentences is accurate. She does favor 1950's shapes in her dresses, and it has definitely trickled down to Target-level fashion (those of us without fantastically toned upper arms have noticed, believe me!) I'm not sure what's supposed to be wrong about that. I hear Jackie Kennedy was partial to much the same look, and she's widely considered one classy broad.
  #38  
Old 02-17-2014, 09:46 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 24,534
Well, I do think she often makes shape mistakes with belts. But on the whole she looks a hell of a lot better than I do, so it's a good thing it isn't my job to be the nation's hostess. A job at which she's done as well as anybody does. (It's a tough one - it's completely undefined, so really it's difficult to "succeed" at but very easy to catch a ton of criticism for.)

That IS a great color on her but the overall effect is awfully... first-ladyish. In the Nancy/Barbara mold.
  #39  
Old 02-17-2014, 09:47 AM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Greenbelt, Maryland
Posts: 13,730
To repeat what I said before, do not waste any time arguing with someone who claims that Obama spends too much on entertainment or acquires for free items like clothes that he'll keep after he leaves office or takes too much vacation time, unless the person you're arguing with gives you the comparable numbers for the previous four or so Presidents (and gives you a cite for those numbers). They are the one making the statement that Obama's expenses are untypically large, so it's their job to come up with those numbers. Forcing you to come up with the numbers is merely their way to waste your time, and they will in any case ignore you if you find out that their claims are false.

And never argue with anyone about whether any member of the First Family dresses in an ugly fashion or is ugly themselves or about whether they are too short or too fat or about anything else about their looks. It's reasonable to argue about how much a President should spend in office, but a President's job doesn't depend on whether we think that he or his wife is particularly handsome or tall or thin or a snappy dresser. Even to start to reply to such arguments is to concede their validity in some cases, and they're never valid.
  #40  
Old 02-17-2014, 10:03 AM
El_Kabong El_Kabong is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Smack Dab in the Middle
Posts: 14,381
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
Fun fact: apart from State dinners (which are "working dinners", after all) the President pays for his and his family's own food. So I'd be surprised if the First Lady is getting free designer dresses courtesy of the taxpayer.
Another fun fact: the White House (during the Clinton and GW Bush years, at least) employed professional calligraphers to hand-write the menus for state dinners. Cite:
Dining at the White House: From the President's Table to Yours, by John Moeller, 2013.

Not that I think there's anything wrong with that per se, but I suspect people who don't know otherwise realize just how much effort (and therefore money) goes into White House entertaining as a political and diplomatic tool.

Last edited by El_Kabong; 02-17-2014 at 10:04 AM.
  #41  
Old 02-17-2014, 10:56 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 24,991
And of course the clothes worn by the First Lady serve to promote the fashion industry. (In trying to find an answer to the OP, I found a fashion industry article criticizing her for wearing clothes for a particular event from a French designer.) As said upthread, designers loan gowns to her for much the same reason that they lend clothes to actresses to wear to award shows; it's good for business.

Last edited by Dewey Finn; 02-17-2014 at 10:57 AM.
  #42  
Old 02-17-2014, 11:26 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 37,785
At this point, it doesn't look like we're getting any closer to a factual answer to the question in the OP. Those who wish to discuss the First Lady's fashion choices may open a new thread in IMHO.

If someone has some factual information to add regarding the OP, PM me and I will reopen this.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator
Closed Thread

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:29 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017