Magazine article The New Yorker

Baring Arms

Magazine article The New Yorker

Baring Arms

Article excerpt

When the history of this White House and its East Wing occupant comes to be written, it will be impossible to ignore the role played by fashion. Because of Michelle Obama's affection for independent designers with their own eccentric vision, and her willingness to go sleeveless in the most tradition-bound environments, her legacy may well be to show women how to move gracefully from the insecurities of youth into a sophisticated and stylish maturity. She will have proved, once and for all, that a woman can grow older without looking old.

There will also be a special footnote regarding her arms. They are not outlandishly sinewy Madonnaesque limbs. Obama's athletic arms are achievable--in between the kids' soccer practice, the executive suite, and the grocery store. Those arms represent personal time. They are evidence of a forty-five-year-old woman's refusal to give up every free moment in service to husband, kids, and all the nagging distractions that could have filled her days and left her tuning in to "Oprah," trying to figure out how she'd lost herself along the way. …

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