Inauguration Showcases All-American Prep Brands: Kate Spade, J. Crew, Reed Krakoff, Thom Browne & More

Hello-Hello, welcome to one of those quasi-holidays, here at the Prepatorium we are in the “of course it’s a work day” mode, but hope those with the day off are enjoying their time away from the workplace.

Today we talk Inauguration fashions, a politics-free look at what the First Family wore for official events in our nation’s Capital. We begin with the fashions seen on Mrs. Obama, Malia and Sasha at yesterday’s official swearing-in ceremony.

Via Mrs. O

Via Mrs. O

The First Lady wore Reed Krakoff, a custom silk dress in ultramarine blue with matching ultramarine cardigan. The designer is the longtime creative director at Coach and the brand’s president, he started his own womenswear line in 2010.  This image gives you a better look at Sasha Obama’s dress.

Official White House Facebook Page

Official White House Facebook Page

Mr. Krakoff spoke with Women’s Wear Daily:

He said he started working on the concept for the First Lady’s ultramarine abstract wash print silk shift more than three months ago. Krakoff has never met the First Lady but she wore one of his gowns to the Pritzker Awards ceremony last year.

He declined to elaborate about “the process” that went into the ultramarine shift dress out of respect to the White House. Krakoff did say the design idea stemmed from Michelle Obama’s sense of style more than the ceremony’s Blue Room location  – “the color of the room was a happy coincidence.”

Sasha wore the Mariposa Lace Dress in Plum from Plenty by Tracy Reese, the piece was made exclusively for Anthropologie.  The cotton/nylon frock has a navy underslip, it originally sold at $248 but is now on sale for $69.95.

Sasha Obama Tracy Reese Mariposa Dress

Mrs. Obama also wore Tracy Reese while volunteering for Saturday’s National Day of Service. I don’t yet know who designed the electric blue dress worn by Malia Obama at yesterday’s ceremony.

For this morning’s church service at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church the First Lady repeated the Reed Krakoff cardigan from yesterday atop a different dress.

Official White House Flickr

Official White House Flickr

For the church service and public swearing-in ceremonies at the Capitol Mrs. Obama wore a dress and coat by Thom Browne. Mr. Browne is a designer many Princess readers have heard about, among other things, he does the Black Fleece line for Brooks Brothers.  (He is also responsible for some of the wackiest runway shows in history, but we’ll stay away from that topic for the day.) This is not the first time the First Lady has worn Mr. Browne’s designs, she wore a dress by him for the third debate during the election.

Mrs. O

Mrs. O

More on how process of creating the ensemble via the On the Runway blog:

Mr. Browne designed the outfit specifically for Mrs. Obama after her office invited him to submit an idea several months ago, but he was not told in advance whether she would wear it. The coat and dress each have a fitted bodice and a slight flare below the waist.

The material is a jacquard weave based on the fabric used in men’s silk ties.  The fabric and lines of Mrs. Obama’s coat are similar to this dress from Mr. Browne’s pre-fall 2013 collection.

Thom Browne Facebook Page

Thom Browne Facebook Page

Mrs. Obama accessorized with J. Crew: the shoes she wore to church this morning were the low-heeled Valentina pump in the ‘aluminum’ color.

J. Crew 'Valentina' Pumps

J. Crew ‘Valentina’ Pumps

Crew also did her Portolano leather gloves (although Mrs. Obama’s color is no longer available) and the bejeweled belt worn atop her coat for the swearing-in portion of the day’s events was by J. Crew. She changed out of the Valentina shoes into Reed Krakoff boots for the Capitol Hill ceremony and parade. Mrs. Obama also wore earrings by Cathy Waterman.

Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert/White House Blog

Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert/White House Blog

The Obama girls were in brightly colored coats and scarves.

Via Mrs. O

Via Mrs. O

Malia Obama wore J. Crew, the label’s Double Cloth Lady Coat in plum.

J. Crew Double-cloth Lady Coat with Thinsulate®

J. Crew Double-cloth Lady Coat with Thinsulate®

The coat is an Italian wool and nylon blend, it features a high waist with inset waistband, rounded collar, on-seam pockets. With today’s nippy temps in Washington, perhaps the best part of the coat is its lining: Thinsulate®. It looked like her dress is Crew’s Teddie in Byzantine Blue.

J. Crew "Teddie" Dress

J. Crew “Teddie” Dress

The Teddie is a wool crepe with distinctive darts and shirring at the waist, three-quarter sleeves and an exposed back zipper. The dress is available at J. Crew as of this writing (5pm EST) in three colors, it is priced at $198.

Win McNamee/Pool

Win McNamee/Pool

Sasha wore a Kate Spade coat with a striped purple dress underneath. From what I could tell it appeared to be the label’s ‘Patrice’ coat and Carolyn dress. We show the Patrice in black at Neimans (where it is sold out) and the Carolyn in another colorway at Kate Spade. Both pieces showcase a fit and flare silhouette, the sleeveless dress is a silk/cotton blend while the coat is all wool.

Neiman Marcus/Kate Spade

Neiman Marcus/Kate Spade

Both girls were in flats.

It is amazing to see how the Obama girls have grown in four years, on the left we see them in 2009, on the right, today’s young ladies. Some may recall that both Obama girls wore Crewcuts for the first Inauguration.

Justin Karp Twitter Feed

Justin Karp Twitter Feed

Dr. Jill Biden was in Lela Rose, the designer’s Silk Bow Coat.

Pool photo by Win Mcnamee via The NY Times

Pool photo by Win McNamee via The NY Times

Eric Wilson from the Times has more:

Lela Rose…said Mrs. Biden came to her in an unexpected way. Mrs. Biden bought her dress at Neiman Marcus, and the store called Ms. Rose about a week and a half ago, looking for a matching coat.

“I wanted to create a coat that looked good with the dress without being exactly a matching look,” Ms. Rose said in a telephone interview from her home in Sullivan County, N.Y.

Here we see the coat in another color.

Lela Rose 'Silk Bow Coat'

Lela Rose ‘Silk Bow Coat’

The piece is lovely but not terribly warm, back to Eric Wilson’s post:

The coat is made of a shimmering silk and wool fabric, but, Ms. Rose said, “I’m sure she’s cold. The coat is not all that warm.”

A quasi-similar and much less expensive version of the coat is sold via HSN.



Keep in mind this is not the same as Jill Biden’s, it merely shows similar lines. When we say less expensive, we mean it: $14.98.



Be advised the piece is similar in design only, the quality cannot be anywhere near that of the coat worn by Jill Biden.

As for the man of the hour, President Obama was in the same Brooks Brothers coat he wore four years ago.

That’s it for today, we’ll have an update on the Inaugural Ball party frocks tomorrow!


Filed under preppy

9 responses to “Inauguration Showcases All-American Prep Brands: Kate Spade, J. Crew, Reed Krakoff, Thom Browne & More

  1. MCW

    Such a stylish family!

  2. The colors worn by the First Family were just stunning.
    The girls were dressed elegantly but age appropriate as well.

  3. Amy

    Love their looks, so classy!

  4. Lucy

    Wonderful post, Susan! I love that we are now IDing Malia and Sasha’s clothes too! Malia has become absolutely gorgeous.

  5. I loved her gloves today. Such a cute way to add a pop of color! And the girls are always lovely. The cut of the pink coat was my favorite of the day.

  6. I thought they looked really “first family ish”, classic American looks. I did not care for the very cropped cardigan over her a line dress, felt the proportions were a bit off but everything else I thought looked great, loved all three of their coats, very chic. The girls are beautiful young ladies and its been fun to see them grow right before our very eyes they do seem like really great, very poised sweet girls. Lets hope our great nations’ economy will look as bright and good as all these clothes!

  7. Niki

    My question: who pays for these clothes? The first family, tax payers, or the re-election campaign? Does anyone know?

  8. Items like this are not paid for by taxpayers. Whether or not the campaign is legally able to cover costs, I don’t know. Hope this helps! 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for writing this up!

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