While it’s Barack Obama who will today take the oath of office as President of the United States, the broad-stroke Obama Style is clearly a partnership in which Michelle Obama plays a mega role. She’s the one whose high-low fashion mixes and savvy updates of time-honored (read safe) classics have telegraphed the family ethos to the world: This is a modern, busy woman whose stylistic choices, both in fashion, and one presumes, in decorating, will continue to be driven more by practicality than whimsy.

That said, it has become ever so clear that Michelle Obama recognizes the power of her photo op bully pulpit, and she intends to use it to advance a carefully honed image. Take, for example, today’s Inaugural wardrobe, which at press time remained a secret. As of late Friday afternoon, the soon-to-be First Lady had not yet made her final sartorial decision regarding her ballgown, according to her communications director, Katie McCormick Lelyveld.

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