When the Obamas announced that the New Orleans native with the platinum resume and the knack for glamorous style would be the White House's first African American social secretary, the fashion industry practically swooned. The nation's capital, dominated for 20 years by administrations that, at best, endured fashion, now had a first lady who chose her designer wardrobe like a savvy insider. She and her husband hired a host of attractive young staffers who didn't mind posing for the occasional fashion spread -- Birkin bag in hand, feet shod in trendy platform heels -- and a social secretary who knew the difference between Nina Ricci and Lanvin and regularly wore both.
Rogers showed that one could be fashionable and work in federal government. According to Givhan, Rogers ripped apart the stereotype of the "dowdy political appointee." But what about Julianna Smoot? It seems the fashion world is sharing a collective yawn.
Glamour's Cindi Leive tried to see the style upside, saying:
"I think it would be sad if we all decided to bury Washington fashion now that Desiree's left town and to conclude that every ambitious woman inside the Beltway should just pull on her pantsuit and her sensible shoes from here on out. I'd like to think that we're a little past that and that we realize that the average person is capable of caring about what she wears to work and still doing a good job when she gets there."