First lady's bare arms spark debate

March 2, 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama broke with tradition and wore a sleeveless dress in her official portrait.

It wasn't a complete shock. One New York Times writer said Mrs. Obama's bare arms have become her "constant accessory."

She also went sleeveless for the cover of people and vogue as well as at a Stevie Wonder concert.

Mrs. Obama's staff even found pictures of Jackie Kennedy wearing a sleeveless dress in a portrait and at the state of the union address.

But when Mrs. Obama bared her arms during the president's speech to Congress last week. The Chicago Tribune's message board lit up.

"Most of the complaints centered on the dress conveying a sense of informality on a serious occasion. There were some people who took umbrage with that," said Wendy Donahue.

The White House social secretary told the Washington Post the first lady's attitude is if she wants to go sleeveless to hear her husband speak that's what she's going to do.

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