WashPost Hails 'Princely' $6,800 Jacket Michelle Obama Wears, While $990 Ann Romney Shirt Was 'Tone-deaf'

July 30th, 2012 7:54 AM

On Monday morning, Washington Post gossips Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger hailed Michelle Obama the fashion plate with the headline "Fit For a Queen (Truly)." For a reception at Buckingham Palace for heads of state, Mrs. Obama wore a "very fancy" jacket priced at  a "princely $6,800." Readers could exhale, the American now fits in.

The very same Washington Post greeted the GOP nominee's wife with a much different spin online, despite a lower price tag. The headline was “Ann Romney's $990 T-shirt is indicative of a tone-deaf campaign” and Suzi Parker began by asking “Does Ann Romney wear her $990 designer shirt while driving one of her two Cadillacs?” At least the Post alerted Washingtonians someone had critized Mrs. Obama for "not dressing up enough" in London:

Michelle Obama has been criticized for not dressing up enough for Queen Elizabeth II, so she stepped up her game Friday night at an Olympics reception for heads of state at Buckingham Palace. The first lady wore a very fancy J. Mendel capsleeve jacket — “white viscose techno crepe tailored jacket with overlapped side panels and silver embroidery” from the 2013 Resort collection, according to a press release from the company. It’s not in stores yet, but high-end retailer Moda Operandi listed the jacket at a princely $6,800. The White House declined to comment.

The print edition of the Post was a little gentler than Suzi Parker, with a headline "Even bird blouse is political prey." Dan Zak underlined the fashion faux pas in a faux-sympathetic tone that this wasn't an important issue, but here's 1,000 words on this "misdemeanor" of elitism: 

But in American politics, a $1,000 blouse is at least a misdemeanor. It is also grist for the 24-hour news cycle, which turns men into madmen and joy into sorrow. The Cut, a blog for New York magazine, first noticed the Krakoff [shirt] within hours of the Romney's appearance on CBS T his Morning.  On Wednesday, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell devoted several minutes of airtime to the blouse, which he called "a really ugly T-shirt" that is "yet another example of how out of touch the Romney family can be with how 99 percent of Americans live."

Despite her penchant for horse ballet, Ann Romney has been cast in the political narrative as the down-to-earth spouse. Her struggles with multiple sclerosis, identity as a stay-at-home mom and ease on the campaign stage have made her an asset to her husband. But the pricey blouse is catnip for critics, who've framed Mitt Romney as a rich guy whose beach-house renovation includes an elevator for his cars.

After laying out all the Obama spin, Zak did report Mrs. Obama had carried a $1,000 teal leather purse by the same designer to a parent-teacher conference in March 2011.

[Hat tip on the contrast to Tony]