Michelle Obama

Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.

The first lady wears a Stephen Burrows pant suit and Prova “Sandinista” silk scarf as she and the president tour the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta on Nov. 10, 2010.

Point: By wearing such retailers as J. Crew as well as lesser-known designers like Jason Wu (the man behind her unbelievably gorgeous gown for the Inauguration Ball), Michelle Obama might just be single-handedly stemming the tide of the recession for certain names in fashion. Like Jackie O. before her, buyers are watching every sartorial choice she makes for insight into what might be hot for next year. Keep an eye on the First Lady, distributors. (BlackBook)

And the counterpoint: Michelle Obama, though undeniably stylish, is really not helping J. Crew soar above its recession woes. The retailer is doing it all on its own thanks to numerous factors, but a big one being its catalog and Web site sales. Perhaps instead of keeping an eye on Michelle O., distributors should be taking pages from the J. Crew playbook? (The Big Money)

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