I like Michelle Obama’s clothes. And I really enjoyed reading about the Chicago fashion designer, Maria Pinto, whose styles she favors. But I wonder sometimes if the media makes way too big a deal over the dresses and suits Michelle dons. Of course in the long- and short-term it doesn’t really matter what I think, but it’s still intriguing to me that a dress costing less than $150 worn on “The View” makes headlines. So where am I going with this? To the closest White House Black Market store to buy one? No, I’m saving my money for gas and food these days (oh, and shoes). But seriously what needs to be said here is that while everyone is going nuts over her dress (actually, I do like the dress, but again, my fashion sense must never, ever be exposed in this blog . . . ) somebody, somewhere should be preparing for potential fallout.
Okay, so I’m the cynic in the room. But everyone needs a cynic, right? As publicists, it is our job to troubleshoot before it happens. Oh, wait; that’s what troubleshooting is really about. The potential problem we need to think about when everything is going so well is what happens when it doesn’t? You always need to be prepared. Call it the smug factor. If you’re too happy with the job you’re doing, you get distracted.
And problems and trouble can happen so quickly, especially in such a wired, viral (there goes that cynic in me again), and free-for-all (think: blogs and comments here) world. Okay, I admit it: I went looking for trouble this morning and gleefully (no really; I like the dress AND Michelle) found this nugget posted on Newsday’s’ Pet Rock: The Pop Culture Blog (Allbusiness: will you rename my blog to something cool like that?): “That dress is really ugly. People are such sheep.”
I doubt the momentum will slow down because “penny” who posted the comment offered us her opinion. But it’s still something to which the dressmaker should pay attention. Here’s another post, this one leaning toward the more political aspects of the issue and one that might have sparked more discussion (but I need to get to my pitching and that will have to wait another day . . . ): “This is what it has come down to? Analyzing a person’s wardrobe? So we are basically electing the next American Idol as opposed to the next president. Ridiculous. Obama = Fraud!!”
The point is this: don’t ever get too comfortable with the good news when you’re in PR. It could change in an instant and if you’re too giddy over some great placement, your judgment might not be as sharp. Sometimes it really is okay to think of the glass as half empty . . .