This combo image shows first lady Michelle Obama as she arrives at the Inaugural Ball in Washington on Jan. 21, 2009, left, and Jan. 21, 2013, right. Michelle Obama made it a fashion tradition Monday night, wearing a custom-made Jason Wu gown to the inaugural balls. The ruby-colored dress was a follow-up to the white gown Wu made for her four years ago when she was new to Washington, the pomp and circumstance, and the fashion press. (AP Photos/Jacquelyn Martin, Pablo Martinez Monsivais) ASSOCIATED PRESS
First Lady Michelle Obama wore a custom, ruby red Jason Wu chiffon and velvet gown Monday night to the inaugural ball.
Her dress was fierce. The halter top was a great choice to show off Obama's sculpted arms and back. The waistline was in the perfect place while the color choice was radiant. Alicia Keys had it right - "Obama's on fire."
"I can't believe it. It's crazy," Wu told The New York Times Monday night. "To have done it once was already the experience of my life. To have a second time is tremendous."
Wu collaborated with jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald on the gown's jeweled neckline. And on the First Lady's finger was a handmade diamond ring by McDonald. Obama selected shoes by Jimmy Choo - a comfortable, yet-I-can-still-dance-heel. And on her left arm were stacked bracelets - the latest in bold accessories style. The splendid Jason Wu gown - as well the Thom Browne coat and dress from Monday morning's public, swearing-in ceremony - will be donated to the National Archives.
Which Inaugural gown designed by Jason Wu do you like better?
Four years ago, Mrs. Obama chose a white chiffon one shouldered gown by Jason Wu when her husband, President Barack Obama was first sworn into office. Since then, Wu has reveled in his successes by designing a sold-out-on-the-first day Target line, in addition to emerging as a household name in fashion - a major feat for a young, independent designer.
Michelle Obama, clearly a big fan of the 30-year-old designer, was introduced to Wu by Vogue's Andre Leon Tally. She also wore a black and white sheath by Jason Wu during a 2008 interview with Barbara Walters.
In Michelle Obama's eyes, Oscar da la Renta has nothing on Jason Wu - and that's refreshing.
In all, Monday was quite a fashion day: Allentown-bred designer Thom Browne went from a not-so-known, tight-fitting men's suit designer to the man behind the amazing swearing in ceremony coat. J. Crew continued to receive its Obama family due, and Kate Spade New York got the nod from 11-year-old Sasha Obama.
I think all of the first family's sartorial choices today worked. They were appropriate, celebratory, yet fun and representative of what the White House is - FORWARD. As for the ruby gown, it was the perfect choice for FLOTUS. I wanted her to veer in this fiery direction years ago. We love that she keeps us guessing when it comes to her choice in designers.
More First Family, Inaugural fashion:
Critic's notebook: FLOTUS' Thom Browne dress unveiled
Allentown native Thom Browne behind First Lady's look
Stars fete Inauguration in serious, powerful looks
The significance of the Obamas wearing shades of blue
Michelle, rhymes with belle