Michelle Obama's blue dress by Maria Pinto draws fashion raves

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In her speech last night at the Democratic convention, most critics agree that Michelle Obama came off as warm, human, poised, non-threatening, talking mostly about her husband Barack Obama's character, their close-knit family and basic moral beliefs.

But how did that blue dress fly?

82549772First off, the dress, thankfully not a skirt suit, was sleek and minimal. The hem length was appropriate, but not dumpy. It had a flattering V-neck with three quarter-length sleeves that made Michelle's broad shoulders and strong arms look less threatening. And the teal blue color coordinated nicely with the blue/violet hues of her daughters' outfits.

I even liked the turquoise and silver star pin (reportedly from her jewelry box) that reminded me of Barack's Rising Sun campaign logo.

Others are also calling the blue dress a home run.

Laura Schwartz, former advisor to Sen. John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, and who also worked in the Clinton White House, gave the dress two thumbs up for style and for message, telling CBS News, "I thought she was very simple, very understated, which might be a good idea because, in this era of attack ads, the McCain people are saying: 'Hey, the Obamas are elitist. They're caught up in celebrity.' If she came out in a real fancy dress, that would just be more fodder for them."

Michelle's blue dress was designed by Maria Pinto, a Chicago-native designer (formerly assistant to Geoffrey Beene) made good. Wisely banking on all the presidential publicity, she's opened a store in Chicago's West Loop this month. Maria has worked with the potential first lady for some time. She also designed that hot purple sleeveless sheath (accessorized with an Azzedine Alaia belt) that Michelle wore when Barack announced his candidacy.

Pinto made a point of telling the New York Times that none of Michelle's fashion decisions are deviously planned. "Michelle is not scheming like her wardrobe should make certain points."

But Maria has some thoughts (what designer doesn't?) about how she'd like to see Michelle look for an inaugural. "I definitely see a light color and something kind of fitted in the torso and fuller in the skirt."

Not every critic liked the blue dress, which was made of wool and did seem to add some bulk to her figure.

What do you think? Did you like Michelle Obama's blue convention dress? Why or why not?

Photos: Getty Images

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