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Money Saving Tip: Dress for the Weather

Today, I was reading a sewing blog that I am very fond of (Miss Celie’s Pants) and there was a posting about a dress which just so happened to be the dress that Mrs. Biden wore at the Inauguration on January 20th. Now, the reason it hit me is that at the time, when I saw the photographs of Jill Biden and Michelle Obama, I noticed one very striking thing: Mrs. Biden, even in her big red wool coat, looked really really cold. See: Number 19 is Jill Biden; Number 26 is Michelle Obama

Please notice what the two ladies, out in some extremely cold and windy weather, are wearing and how they look. It was 27 that day and with the wind, the wind chill factor was 7 degrees F. Except for a couple of breaks, they were exposed to the weather for hours.

Mrs. Biden is wearing a wool coat and high boots. And underneath that coat is the dress that Cidell wrote about in the link above. This dress, as you will notice from the picture in the link, has little tiny sleeves. Yes, it is made from wool (but it is men’s wool suiting – not exactly a heavy fabric at all) and considering the price, is probably lined, but undoubtedly with the standard polyester or acetate dress lining which is thin, slippery, and frankly, not warm at all. Mrs. Biden is also a very thin person; she is not exactly carrying around her own “insulation.”

Mrs. Obama’s outfit has frankly become quite famous – for its color, its cut, the bow on the front and so on. What is interesting about it, though, is what it is made of:
Michelle Obama’s Dress

“Ms. Toledo, who has been making clothes in New York for 25 years, said the coat and dress were made of Swiss wool lace, backed with netting for warmth and lined in French silk.”

So, what Michelle’s dress had going for it in terms of warmth was: multiple layers of wool, silk (another wonderful insulative fiber), and from appearances, probably some other insulative interlining of some sort. It would not surprise me if both the coat and the dress had the thinnest weight of 3M’s Thinsulateā„¢. She also was wearing a silk cardigan over the dress and underneath the coat. Michelle is also not as thin a person as Jill Biden, so she has some insulation of her own.

Mrs. Obama looked much happier and much warmer in her clothing than Jill Biden did. And if you saw any of the coverage of the balls, Mrs. Biden looked smashing in her strapless red dress, but she also looked, to me, tired and not particularly well.

I think she had, as my dear departed old Mum would say, “caught a chill.”

One of the ways to save money, frankly, is to keep yourself healthy. Eat well, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, get fresh air and some exercise, don’t keep your living space so warm that it dries out your nose…and for heaven’s sake, dress for the weather and the temperature. Just look at those photographs of Mrs. Biden and Mrs. Obama – Mrs. Biden’s dress was stylish and fashionable to be sure, but it had no coverage for her arms and she had nothing between those arms and the outside except for that red wool coat…which looks to be a standard fashion lined wool coat. I’m sure the cold wind went right up her sleeves, hit her bare arms and chilled her terribly. I’m sure her memory of that day, one of the most important of her and her husband’s lives, is not her happiness or the pageantry or anything else. What I think she’s remembering is how cold and miserable she felt.

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