Americans have found not only a humanitarian First Lady in Michelle Obama, but also a bona fide trendsetter. When she speaks, we listen; when she takes the red carpet, we are awestruck. Everyone remembers the red Narciso Rodriguez dress she wore Election Night, or the brilliant Jason Wu gown that stunned both politicos and fashionistas alike at the inaugural ball. Not since the days of Jackie O has the public been so interested in what the President’s arm candy is wearing. Such inarguable style has landed the First Lady on countless Best Dressed lists, but it was a wardrobe choice last December that really made a statement: a black vintage couture Norman Norell from the ’50s worn for the White House’s broadcast event Christmas in Washington.
Although it’s believed that Michelle’s choice was the first vintage premiere donned by a First Lady, it came as no surprise to Shannon Hoey, co-owner of New York Vintage, the NYC boutique where Michelle found her special gown. “It’s green, economical, personal and political all at once,” Hoey explains. Hoey also notes that the trend toward vintage gem for Hollywood red carpet affairs was bound to find its way onto the radar of the ever on-trend First Lady.
Once considered a symbol of low social status, it seems that any negative connotation associated with going second-hand has been completely eradicated in one fell swoop, courtesy of our First Lady. And walking into New York Vintage, you’ll understand that it’s nothing like the thrift stores you’re used to. The upscale shop features vintage Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Halston, hand-beaded gowns from the ’30s, authentic flapper dresses and countless classic handbags, jewelry, shoes and ornate hats you thought only Barbie had the privilege to wear. Yes, it’s like playing dress up in your mother’s, grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s attic all at once, only here you’ll need your AmEx to help live out your dreams.