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Men'sWeek issue 10/18/2012

Think pink! Pink ladies! Pretty in pink! Break out the Pepto and choose a predictably punny headline. Yes, it’s true that Michelle Obama and Ann Romney both showed up at their husbands’ second presidential debate Tuesday night in nearly identical shades of fuchsia — or was it magenta? Surely there was a message.

Some have speculated that Mrs. Obama and Romney were rallying behind Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Others have blithely interpreted the women’s matching palette as a sly, sartorial endorsement of their own gender — an issue at the forefront of the election.

This story first appeared in the October 18, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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WWD prefers to take a purely superficial look at the twinsies situation by asking the ol’ tabloid standard: Who wore it best? Truthfully, neither brought her “A” game, though Obama won by a voluminously blown-out hairdo. (We’re grading on a curve.) Her Michael Kors sheath and cropped jacket were a little ho-hum despite the bold tone, which looked dynamite with her complexion. Yet the impact felt bland, perhaps because of the single strand of pearls and conservative fit. Still, points to the First Lady for polish, simplicity and knowing the value of a tailor.

Romney, on the other hand, appeared to be having a little bit of “fun” with her outfit, accessorizing it with a green, double-stranded jewel necklace, blue nail polish and, at one point, a truly tragic dusty rose and ivory shawl. While the dress itself — a textured, short-sleeve pink dress by Oscar de la Renta — was completely fine, the shawl (also de la Renta) seemed like it wandered over from the lost and found. Maybe she borrowed it from a nice older woman in the audience when a chill hit the air. Meanwhile, the ship has sailed on her experimental nail polish days. The lesson to Romney: You can’t be fabulous at every age at once.

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