By the time I reached my late teens, I developed such an extreme revulsion for tights that I decided to do away with dresses altogether. I have always been a bit on the clumsy side so my tights would often get caught on the corners of tables and the embarrassing runs inevitably followed.
Throughout my childhood and early adult years, tights and dress slips were mandatory accessories with a dress. White was not worn after Labor Day. Short-sleeved dresses were not worn in winter. Period.
The first day in my professional life that I decided to ditch the tights and walked into my office in all my bare-legged glory, I felt an immense sense of freedom. I was no longer bound by the constraints of traditional female fashion guidelines.
During the 2008 presidential election, I watched with extreme adoration when Michelle Obama made no apologies for her bare-legged appearances. I thought: Now, this is my kind of First Lady. She was not only sharp and smart but a woman that broke free from the fashion rules that mom always told you.
As First Lady, Michelle Obama represents the new young professional woman. She wears chic and fashionable short-sleeved dresses sans tights. She rejects the top fashion brands for no-name designers. She embraces colors like purple, orange and teal in lieu of the drab black and grey that is the fashion norm in the political and corporate worlds.
Even though her style is simple and elegant, Michelle is a fashion renegade in her own right. She assures women that they can be professional without adhering to the silly old-school rules that constrain them from being who they truly are.
Now, that’s change that I can believe in.
Cross-posted on Political Voices of Women