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Now presenting: Michelle Obama's closet

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Jason Reed/Reuters

(Read caption) First lady Michelle Obama poses besides fashion designer Jason Wu, as she donates her 2009 Inaugural Ball gown to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, March 9.

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Most of us figure the Smithsonian will never exhibit our clothes. It’s not as if it’s putting on a show called “Sweat Pants of the Middle Class: A Retrospective.”

But things are different if you are Michelle Obama. There she was March 9, watching as the Museum of American History unveiled a display featuring one of her dresses.

It was her inaugural gown, that white one-shouldered swoosh by designer Jason Wu. You’d figure that by now she’s used to being a celebrity. But she said she was a little embarrassed, and, truth be told, she looked it.

“I’m not used to people wanting to put things I’ve worn on display,” she said. “All of this is a little odd, so forgive me.”

IN PICTURES: Michelle Obama's fashion

Many first ladies have found the role of national fashion icon to be both exhilarating and a pain in the bodice. One moment barely anyone (definitely not Joan Rivers) is looking. Then – whammo! – suddenly you’re in the White House, and your outfits are a subject of fascination.


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