There can only be one: Killer Bob Condi Versus La Femme Obama
This may surprise some, but while I pretty much believe Condoleezza Rice was an abysmal National Security Adviser and Secy. of State, I don't dislike the woman. She is smart and seems nice outside of her world-wrecking job. I can also relate to her middle class, classical piano playing upbringing and lifetime of having to compete against white peers, expected to be the best of the best, and dealing with that pressure.
So in that respects, I tip my hat to her accomplishments, but shake my head to uber-allegiance to her BFF-in-chief. She was more an enabler than adviser with Dick Cheney taking on that role and muscling her, as well as then Secy. of State Colin Powell, out.
That said, I've enjoyed how Condi Rice's wardrobe drastically improved after she became Secy. of State. A lot of women struggle to balance power with femininity (see Clinton, Hillary and "pantsuits"), but Condi seemed to find that yin and yang quite gracefully, whether dressing like a chic Darth Vader in knee high black boots to address the troops, or a pastel and tan arrangement of designer and tailored suits.
While I adore Michelle Obama and her often eclectic yet classic fashion sense (which also balances femininity with family and business), the two have very different looks -- even when wearing similar duds. And while they're playing on different sides of the political aisle I'd love to see them go shopping together. If only because I want the answer to this question -- who rocks it best?
Let the fashion-off begin!
CONDI'S CREME A LA MINT TWEED VS MICHELLE'S PINK TWEED POWER
This is a hard one. I'm a big fan of the Maria Pinto designed pink tweed suit Michelle rocked earlier this year. I love the cut, the pearls, but there is something adorable yet tough about the mint and tan ensemble Condoleezza is wearing. Michelle is at a slight advantage in the way her suit is cut because she is curvy and statuesque while Condi is a tough, shorter skinny mini. I almost want to call this a tie, but I gotta tilt the tweed suit game to Michelle.
THE BASIC PANTSUIT
Michelle and Condi obviously have different ideas on what a pantsuit should look like. Condi goes for the Hillary Clinton specials, light colored tailored pantsuits whereas Michelle goes for something that's more casual, yet professional. Michelle's first brown suit is not a favorite of mine because it's baggy and makes her look a little slouchy/sloppy, but the second khaki suit is a must have. With a zipper front and that little flare around the bottom of the jacket, Michelle is easily the winner. She found a better alternative to the traditional business suit.
BLACK AND BLUE FOR TWEED
Condi's tweed: Dark with a wide, flat black lapel. Very flattering. Very dominating. It says, "I'm ready for business, I'm pretty and I can totally destroy you." Michelle's tweed is a throwback with two strands of pearls. It's very vintage, but doesn't flatter her usually fashion risk-taker spirit. Condi wins the battle of the black and blue tweeds, recovering handsomely of her loss in the pastel colored tweeds.
Houndstooth is a designer staple. It's been around forever and never goes out of style. If you're a business woman you should own a jacket or suit that is houndstooth. Condi's is a bright yellow with frayed edges, buttoned up to the top button. Michelle is more casual -- even sexy. How can one make houndstooth hot yet professional? Michelle found a way and it works in the skirt and jacket combo. Game, set, fashion -- Michelle.
RED RED RED
In the red wars this is a matter of taste. Do you like your daring red conservative? Red is already a powerful color. There's no need to dress it up. Condi dominates in her red. It says, "Subpoena this, bitches!" Michelle's red suit with the bunched up sleeves is a flashier, "I'm gonna be fierce for the Lawd this Sunday" suit. Something the pastor's wife would rock or the leader of the women's Bible study. Michelle's suit would be much more popular with certain black women, but may be a little too avant garde for the conservative dresser. I really don't know how to rule here. Condi's is more appropriate for work. Michelle's is more appropriate to show-off. Draw.
THE GRAY PINSTRIPED PANTSUIT
I couldn't find a full picture of Michelle in her gray pinstriped suit, but she looked great it in. I promise you. The cut was adorable while Condi's, per usual, was more traditional and Hillary Clinton style. It looked like it could be bought at a generic department store near you. Michelle's had a more flattering cut and shorter jacket. Michelle wins.
I gave an array of color key assortments, mixing black with another solid color. While both Condi and Michelle's outfits are pretty awesome here I'm going to give Condi the edge based on her adorable yellow jacket and black, A-line skirt mix-n-match. That look is hot. And Condi gets to show a little leg. And isn't it fascinating that both Condi and Michelle aren't ashamed of showing off their gams, although Condi is always pantyhose clad and Michelle doesn't bother with them.
FEMININE NATURALS AND NEUTRALS
This was also a tough one. Michelle's look is effortless and casual in her neutrals and browns. And I love the assortment of dark pearls with the long pleated skirt. But Condi is killing in her first outfit from the jacket to the skirt to the shoes. It is a rocking number that is all hotness. I love "Starfleet captain" style jacket with the off-center buttons and jacket flap, the flare of the beige skirt and those shoes, which she breaks out again in a burnt orange tweed suit identical to her mint-tan tweed shown earlier. I like both, but Michelle's look is really laid back whereas Condi's is sharper than a knife. Go Condi.
What to wear when meeting with heads of state or when your husband is sworn in at the Senate? Condi goes for power suits, some bright like that stain, blazing blue. Others plain and unassuming. But Michelle is the winner with a different daring look for every serious show down. A boldly striped, boxy suit for a women's group meeting, a tailored navy, sleeveless dress with a crystal pin for the DNC, sweater dress knit set for kicking it with the kiddies and a gorgeous striped suit with a magenta ruffled blouse underneath at the swearing in. Michelle's got a different look for every strictly business situation.
Condi is boxy and basic. Michelle is pretty, but the suit is similar to the baggy brown one where she looks a bit sloppy in it. I like Michelle's look more (as Condi looks a bit like a linebacker in her jacket), but I'm going to call it a draw.
You can always bet on black to be a winner and Condi and Michelle placed their bets well. Condi goes simple, but Michelle, per usual, can't just wear any black suit. She needs richness, boldness and in a few cases pinstripes. She makes black the new black. Michelle wins. (Although, Condi's dotted suit with the flared skirt is very stylish.)
STORMTROPPER CONDI VERSUS MICHELLE'S SUEDE SUPERWOMAN
Michelle's jacket dress is hot. Condi's is not, making her really look like the dark lord of the sith. But this competition is all about the boots and Condi's dominatrix boots win. I always said that Michelle betrayed her cute coat dress by paring it with some tepid brown suede boots. She needed something black, tough with an exclamation point at the end. Condi's sexy stiletto boots do just that. Boot Battle goes to the dominatrix!
The overall winner of the fashion challenge is Mrs. O with six wins to Rice's four, with two draws. How would you score the leading black women of political fashion?
* For more Condi fashion watching (and other political fashion snark) check out the Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog.