Michelle Obama’s at the 58th U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., this morning, wearing what at first glance appears to be a long-sleeved purple dress. However, closer inspection reveals that those sleeves aren’t attached to the dress. Rather, she appears to have worn a long-sleeved shirt under the purple Narciso Rodriguez dress she last wore publicly on February 24 of last year to watch the president address a joint session of Congress. This was the dress that arguably sparked a mass freak-out over her preference for sleeveless dresses, which thereby bore her nickname “First Arms.”
Right after Michelle wore the dress in the Chambers, the Times wondered what her bare arms could mean. Maybe, they wrote a year ago when she was new to the White House, they symbolized “everything about her we can’t see.” Then Maureen Dowd wrote that Michelle’s bare arms symbolize America’s can-do spirit. Dowd also noted that the dress prompted one congressman to call her “babe.”
So now what, Times? What do Michelle’s covered arms say about the state of our nation and the state of the nation’s feelings about her? Maybe she thinks we know too much about her. Maybe her sleeved arms prove the nation’s can-do spirit is dashed in the face of floundering health-care reform. Or maybe she’s just tired of getting cold.