Since my faithful reader noted the alignment of the Obamas with Kennedys, I figured I should elaborate a bit on my previous post.
To be honest, I was unaware that Jackie Kennedy chose to bare her arms in her official photo. Upon hearing that though, I discovered that in her official portrait she chose to cover her arms. My guess is that the White House recognized the formality due the portrait, but not the photo. Irregardless, in my opinion, her arms should have been covered in her official White House photo as well. Official = formal.
Also, I will give a nod to the fact that informal, sleeveless garb makes the average American woman see the First Lady, whether Jackie and Michelle, as more like them, aka approachable. And I will acknowledge that while it wouldn't be my first choice if I was in their place, during candid press photos and day-to-day affairs, sleeveless may cut muster. But for formal events, official photo/portraits, or meetings with foreign leaders, formal attire is de rigeur. Donning a strand of pearls helps formalize a sleeveless gown. But it is not enough to provide adequate respect when acting in her official capacity as First Lady. Talking to staff in the White House kitchen? Maybe. Playing with her children? Definitely. Meeting Ms. Brown? No, no, and no.
As I mentioned before though, I'm a foreigner. I guess I just don't get it.