Thursday, March 15, 2012

New BFFs SamCam and Michelle Obama make the most of their spring wardrobes... but who wore theirs best?

By Daisy Dumas

If there is one thing the UK state visit to the U.S. has so far proved, it is that first ladies Michelle Obama and Samantha Cameron have both perfected the art of clever capsule dressing.

All it took was a simple removal of a jacket at lunchtime for the First Lady's outfit to be given a whole new feel, exposing her enviably toned bare arms and a brooch for a personal touch.

Speaking at a special preview for tonight's much-anticipated State Dinner, Mrs Obama looked polished and neat - and explained to the visiting school students that while the 'White House is a big place... the kitchen is really teeny... it's a little-bitty kitchen.'

Well dressed: The First Lady paired her white Zac Posen dress with a blue sash belt and a sparkling Kingfisher-esque badge

The Zac Posen dress, teamed with a sparkling Kingfisher-esque brooch and navy sash, is part of the suit she wore to this morning's official welcome ceremony and is from the American designer's spring/summer 2012 collection.

The First Lady, 48, described the planning that goes into the official dinner and treated the American and British students to a rare glimpse of the White House's behind-the-scenes goings-on.

In the meantime, the British Prime Minister's wife, 40, stayed in the same Roksanda Ilinic dress, looking demure as ever in the aqua-sleeved, navy blue and white number which neatly translated from the formality of the morning's welcome ceremony to a luncheon at the State Department.

She paired the dress with the same belt she wore yesterday and again wore the classic pumps that she has sported throughout her trip so far.

Picture of elegance: The First Lady removed her suit jacket to reveal a chic white dress with navy sash as she spoke to visiting school children at a special State Dinner preview

Sitting pretty: Samantha Cameron listens to her husband speak during the lunch hosted at the State Department

This morning delivered a dose of unseasonably warm sunshine - and fine fashion choices - to the capital.

SamCam took full advantage of the balmy weather, wearing the cleanly-cut, bold shift dress and no jacket to the UK state visit's official welcoming ceremony.

By her side, Michelle Obama wore her white Zac Posen suit, teaming its sharp tailoring and clever, pared-down feminine touches with a futuristic and eye-catching pair of silver heels.

Style stakes: Samantha Cameron, left, and Michelle Obama, right, laugh together at today's official welcome ceremony

The two looked fresh and modern - and sophisticated without being flashy - as they stood out from the backdrop of heavy security and the altogether softer pink magnolia blossom.

They seemed as relaxed and close as ever, laughing in the warmth - though sunglasses would not have gone amiss in the dazzling light.

Mrs Cameron's dress, which retails for around $1,500, is the third item the fashion maven has chosen by the London-based designer in the past four weeks.

Just yesterday, she wore a fuschia top by the label to the mini-Olympics event at DC's American University, again pairing the outfit with an Emilia Wickstead belt.

First wives' club: Looking relaxed and upbeat, the first ladies share a joke at the official welcome ceremony. SamCam, left, chose a Roksanda Ilincic while Mobama, right, wore Zac Posen

BFFs: Though relaxed in each others' company, the two stand to attention as part of the formalities. Their clean-cut outfits make a welcome contrast to the soft pink backdrop of blossoming magnolia trees

The two first ladies - known for their individual and confident fashion tastes - stood alongside their husbands on the White House's South Lawn as a 16-gun salute was fired to honour the state visit.

A crowd of 7,000 gathered to watch the formalities as President Obama quipped about the Prime Minister's British peculiarities and revealed that the PM has a basketball hoop at Number 10 Downing Street.

But it is not simply state relations that are close - the President laid a guiding hand on Mrs Cameron's arm at one point and David Cameron was unafraid of receiving a little public affection from his supportive wife as she laid a hand on his derriere.

Suits you! SamCam teamed her shift dress with LK Bennett pumps while Mrs O added a dash of futuristic silver with her pointed kitten heels

Indeed, the President made a special mention of Mrs Cameron on her first official state visit.

As dictated by diplomatic traditions, the two couples have swapped presents. The Camerons gave the Obamas a personalised table tennis table and in return received a BBQ grill and personalised chefs whites.

Other gifts included a Jonathan Saunders scarf from Mrs Cameron to the First Lady, reflecting her fashion-driven career and tastes as a flag-bearer for the British Fashion Council, a set of Penguin classics for the Obama girls and White House honey in a crystal honey jar for Mrs Cameron.

Dignitaries including Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton flanked the podium, where they were joined by Chancellor George Osborne and other senior members of the UK delegation.

Close relations: President Obama puts a guiding hand onto Samantha Cameron's arm while the reaches out to her husband - the two power couples seem at very ease together

Couples unite: SamCam lays a protective hand on her husband's derriere at the official ceremony

As much as the relationship-strengthening trip is about official state business, all eyes are bound to be on the wives tonight at the highly-anticipated black tie state ball.

Chosen gown designers, kept under wraps until the very last moment, can look forward to a flurry of attention following tonight's exposure and the First Lady has in the past been known to propel unknown designers into the mainstream - such as Jason Wu - by wearing just one of their creations.

Yesterday, Mrs Cameron and her American counterpart visited DC's American University where they took part in a mini-Olympics event.

A very presidential joke: The dignitaries laugh together, giving the occasion an upbeat air

Out in force: It's all smiles today in DC as the friendly foursome wave to the gathered crowd in the warm sunshine

The influential wives came together in a riot of colour - with the First Lady's bright yellow cardigan contrasting vividly with Mrs Cameron's fuschia number.

Saluting American designers, Mobama paired her L'Wren Scott cashmere cardigan with a floral ruffled shirt by the same designer.

A pair of wide-legged white trousers again contrasted with the form-fitting black cigarette trousers sported by SamCam.

Courtside view: At yesterday's mini-Olympics event, the two first ladies created a riot of colour, their bright hues contrasting vividly

Playing tennis in heels and looking as unflappable as ever, Mrs Obama impressed with her willingness to get involved in the activities.

The pair laughed with students and sports players at the event, a nod towards to forthcoming London Olympics Games and to the First Lady's Let's Move campaign.

SamCam paired her pink top and dark belt with the same Joseph cigarette trousers she wore as she landed in the country.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha walk down the stairs from the plane upon arrival their at Andrews Air Force Base in Baltimore

Earlier in the day, Mrs Cameron arrived with her husband David in the U.S. at Baltimore, Maryland Airforce base in a black $935 Burberry trenchcoat from the coveted label's 2012 spring/summer collection.

While a stylish - and ultimately, safe, choice - the coat may have been a questionable move given the unusually warm March day.



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