Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Michelle's Tab on the Entourage of Style

FLOTUS Michelle & FLOF Carla Bruni in the Rohan Palais in Strasbourg, France
A First Lady of the United States earns the same amount as a candy striper at a hospital - nothing. Not a hair out of place Upkeep and eyebrow Maintenance is quite expensive, borne straight from the presidential family's coffers. Just like each of their private meals; clothing, hair, make up and the rest of the daily living needs are purchased by the White House staff for the first family. The White House makes little bills that itemize all the stuff consumed in the private dining room of the residence or what was fixed for their guests as well as laundry services. It was well into the nineteenth century before laws were passed making the state occasions an expense of state. Presidents, Jefferson and Monroe had it rough. They lost their financial founding father shirts trying to entertain in Head of State style set by George W, the First President.

One of the funniest stories is of a son of President Ford's told a whopper about where he was going as his parents left for an official engagement. Instead, he brought the fellas over to the White House where pizzas with divine everything appeared with all manner of beverages. Next morning, Dad sees son and asked how was his evening out. Son: It was great. President: I know, I have the bill for it right here. Busted.

The White House does not hoard the bills, but ensures they are distributed in a timely manner. There are clear lines of legalese written in the Presidential Gifts Act, among others. That's why it was very carefully done how Bo Obama became the newest resident of the White House. All of his puppy paraphernalia is a direct expense. Clothing given to the first lady is very carefully accounted for as well. Just ask former First lady Nancy Reagan how much she still smarts over the questioning of how her gowns were purchased. Mrs. Obama has publicly stated she is picking up the purchase prices while telling her husband to stay out of her closet.

Clothing is one aspect that needs a full style framework. As a volunteer, Mrs. Obama does get professional staff for the management of the East Wing. Even with a full on cosmetics/beauty salon in the White House residence anybody doing the honors is paid by the family. Knowing that, it was the first time a First Lady picked up the airfare for both her man with the magical comb, Johnny Wright and a lady cosmetics guru, Ingrid grimes-Miles from Chicago station WGN to accompany her for a smashing European debut. They were part of her traveling entourage and just as important as the protocol official who gave her briefings aboard Air Force One. One little item Mrs. O is going to learn NOT to do while looking so fabulous is cross her legs. It hikes up her skirts, but more importantly both feet on the floor with knees and ankles together is old school classic. All in good time. She's got a terrific elegance with her hands. (Photo Grimes-Miles, traveling Make-up Aid)

Hair issues, especially for us ladies of color, rank at the top of being well dressed and making a statement. Her former Chicago stylist, Rhanni, had coiffed Michelle Obama since she was eighteen years old. Her new hair stylist just broke the thirty years on earth barrier not to long ago. Her hair will garner the same level of scrutiny that Hillary Clinton's did every time she changed the style, let alone when she finally had a three hanky burial for her headband. On the makeup or aesthetic side of things, Michelle had been accused of an angry countenance because of the sharp triangles of her plucked brows. On the campaign trail, there were days when Michelle gladly forwent makeup. During the summer of 2008, an Ebony stylist and her current hairstylist softened her appearance by rounding the edges. These things are expensive for a lady who is the Mom in Chief with a modern lifestyle. But goodness, First Lady upkeep is expensive.


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