On Friday night, the First Lady stood by her man to host a Travel Bloggers Summit at the White House to highlight the Study Abroad and Global Citizenship program. Of course, Mrs. Obama’s festive dress caught our eye. It turns out, it was customized Talbots. The particular red and black silk floral dress she wore isn’t available yet (though a similar black and white version is), but upon careful inspection we realized she pulled off a styling trick that us fashion editors—and Carrie Bradshaw—have been doing for years.
Mrs. Obama transformed what would be a classic work dress into a party frock with one simple detail: she crinolined it. Crinolines, stiff skirts that have been adding volume to ladies skirts since the 19th century, used to be made of horse hair and remain very hidden under full dresses. Now they’re made of tulle, and in every color of the rainbow. The black net peeking out underneath Mrs. Obama’s skirt adds fullness, fun, and frivolity all at the same time. The best part is that anyone can DIY this trend. Crinolines are easy to find and priced affordably. My personal favorites come from Capezio—they’re delicate and voluminous, striking a balance between sheer and structured.
Theres one rule to remember before you party-fy your office dress: make sure it has a fitted waist (or create one with a belt). You need enough of a flare around the hem to allow the fabric to stretch around the crinoline, and don’t worry if the tulle peeks out below the hem—that’s an added bonus.
The lesson here is clear: stash a tutu under your desk.