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Michelle Obama's Fashion Home Run

Michelle Obama's big speech at the Democratic convention Monday night was being anticipated not just for what she'd say -- but for what she'd wear.

The would-be first lady's fashion flair is already grabbing attention -- she's being closely watched as a possible budding fashion icon -- and most observers the outfit she selected for the big event clicked.

Among those whose keen eyes were trained on Michelle is Laura Schwartz, a former adviser to the wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Schwartz also worked in the Clinton White House.

In the convention hall Tuesday, Schwartz told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith Michelle "succeeded. (She did) exactly what she was going for, because today, we're talking about the message more than just the overall bling."

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Schwartz was guessing Michelle would wear a dress, despite talk she'd wear a suit. "She looks fabulous in dresses," Schwartz explained, "and you know she's going to wear something she looks great in, that she feels confident in. And that's what we saw. And she pulled it off very, very well."

The dress, Schwartz says, expressed confidence and a sense of humility: "She didn't want to look too blinged-up. She didn't want to be too bright. I thought she was very simple, very understated, which might be a good idea because, in this era of attack ads, the McCain people are saying, 'Hey, the Obamas are elitist. They're caught up in celebrity.' If she came out in a real fancy dress, that would just be more fodder for them."

The dress was striking, Schwartz observed, but very calming in color -- a shade of blue-green, which evokes calm and trust.

Maria Pinto, a designer in the Obamas' hometown of Chicago, created the dress. Pinto built her company from the ground up and is another Chicago success story. Schwartz says Michelle may have picked her as her designer in part because Pinto also represents achieving the American dream, which is what Michelle wanted to portray herself and Barack as having done. Michelle has used Pinto for a long time.

The large pendant on the dress, Schwartz adds, came straight from Michelle's jewelry box, and was reminiscent of Barack's rising sun campagn logo. The pendant was placed over Michelle's heart, so it might have symbolized that her speech was coming straight from her heart.

The pendant could start a trend, Schwartz speculated, saying, "It was inspired. ... It's a neat look. Women all across the country can do it. It's a simple, V-neck, three-quarter-length sleeve, woll dress, it can be a Jersey knit -- add a pendant, you've got something different."

Once again, Michelle reminded onlookers of Jackie O, Schwartz says. She was wearing long, clean lines again, the length of the dress and even the sleeves looked like something Jackie O would have worn.

Women such as Michelle carefully plan what they wear to events like this one, Schwartz points out. They look at the background first and the stage they'll be speaking on to make sure their outfit compliments the surroundings.

It's likely that Michelle won't change her style if she makes it to the White House, Schwartz says. She already looks like a first lady; her style is so clean and elegant, she won't need to change anything.

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