Can Michelle Obama save these three stores?


In today's WWD story (subscription required) "The First Lady Effect," Sarah Haight asks how much the obsessive chronicling of Michelle Obama's style actually benefits the designers -- Isabel Toledo, Jason Wu, Thakoon Panichgul -- who dream up her looks. The short answer: not much at all, at least in terms of their bottom lines.

But mass retailers are able to gauge Michelle's impact in much more certain measures. The first lady's relatively affordable fashion choices inspire online-shopping stampedes, near-instant sellouts and never-ending wait lists -- very quickly and in that order. As Time pointed out a few weeks ago, J. Crew's entire online inventory of the bedazzled cardigan Michelle wore during the Obama's April London tour sold out the same day she was photographed in it. And the now-famous black and white printed sheath she wore on the View in June 2008 is still one of White House Black Market's top sellers.