After a long day watching inauguration coverage, I couldn’t go to sleep Tuesday night. It wasn’t because I was tired — I simply had to see what gown First Lady Michelle Obama chose for the inaugural balls.

Fashion experts for weeks had been speculating about which mainstream designer she would choose. Would it be Tracy Reese, Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg or Carolina Herrera?

I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t pick either of them.

The ivory colored dress by designer Jason Wu was stunning. Wu, 26, has been designing professionally for only 3 years. I loved his choice of ivory silk chiffon fabric (Chiffon is so light it makes a gown move as if a slight breeze is blowing beneath you) organza and Swarovski crystals.

My only disappointment was that he didn’t design a dress for Mrs. Obama that was also colorful, like some of those in his Spring 2009 collection.

I got my color fix earlier in the day with Mrs. Obama’s sheath dress designed by Isabel Toledo. I think the first lady looks great in vibrant colors.

I’m glad she chose the yellowish gold two-piece wool laced ensemble. The cut and fit complimented her figure and dark skin tone. I loved the simplicity of her green J. Crew gloves and green Jimmy Choo pumps. They were the perfect unexpected addition of color to set off that suit.

I felt so proud watching her throughout the day in both of her one-of-a-kind dresses; it was as if she were my favorite auntie.

Critics are keeping close watch and will continue to critique every outfit she wears, whether it’s custom made or comes from Target. Some say her style reminds them of Jacqueline Kennedy. Others suggest she tone down the colors and dress more conservatively.

I say Michelle Obama is a leader, not a follower. She’s making her own rules and wearing things that fit her body type — things that make her feel comfortable and beautiful.

America has never seen an African-American first lady, so how would we know what she should or should not wear?

I’ll be watching her, too, waiting to see exactly how “our” first lady sets the tone for what a true style icon is.

What do you think?

(Lashawnda K. Becoats is a lifestyle consultant and owner of La Concierge in Charlotte. Email her at la@concierge.la. Read her column here each Thursday, only on Qcitymetro.)

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