Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Vanity Fair's annual best-dressed list is out. Scandal star Kerry Washington — who is having quite the year, with her Elle cover and Emmy nomination — came in at the number one spot.
This year's list is mostly comprised of Vanity Fair style standbys, like Kate Middleton (shocker!), Justin Timberlake, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, and the ever-elegant Carmen Dell'Orefice. Victoria Beckham, Jenna Lyons, and the grizzled eminence that is Keith Richards are welcome new additions. But otherwise the list is just the usual mix of models (Stella Tennant, Lara Stone, Dree Hemingway), girls- and boys-about-town (Dasha Zhukova, Bryan Ferry's sons Isaac, Otis, and Tara), and baroquely titled European royalty (H.R.H. Letizia, Princess of Asturias, H.R.H. Princess Madeleine of Sweden).
There are, naturally, some prominent (and customarily well-dressed) people who are absent from the list. Beyoncé made the cut, but not Solange. Peng Liyuan, the first lady of China whose impact on clothing sales has been well-documented, is there, but not Michelle Obama. MObama didn't make it last year, either. Reliable red-carpet stars including Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, and Marion Cotillard also didn't make it.
But it's overlooking Michelle Obama that really doesn't make sense. I'm sure the FLOTUS isn't bothered one way or another about the Vanity Fair best-dressed list. But her impact on fashion is undeniable. Even though interest in Obama's style has cooled a little from its frenzied 2008-2009 peak, everything the woman wears is still reported on in detail, and she has a demonstrated ability to raise emerging designers to prominence (Jason Wu, anyone?). The fact that she, who could wear anything, often picks younger and less well-known designers is itself interesting. She also helped kick the J. Crew craze into high gear by wearing the brand herself and picking those Crewcuts coats for Sasha and Malia on the occasion of her husband's first inauguration. There are probably plenty of people who had never heard of Jenna Lyons before then — and Lyons is on the list, but not Obama. So why the oversight?
— Jenna Sauers