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Pictures: The Inaugural Ball Gowns You Didn't Know You Wanted to See


"They want this particular experience — the ball experience, the formal experience..."

It might not be the Golden Globes, Grammies or Academy Awards, but the inauguration balls that took place in Washington, D.C., Monday evening are still worth noting from a fashion standpoint -- even if it's really only first lady Michelle Obama's gown that anyone truly cares about.

Obama went with designer Jason Wu again for President Barack Obama's ball celebrating his inauguration into a second term. Instead of a demure white though, she went for a shimmery ruby color the second time around. In fact, red seemed to be the color of the night by other attendees as well.

Before getting to the pictures, it's worth mentioning the observations made by NPR's Linda Holmes that the gowns making an appearance at the inaugural balls are a bit odd given the lack of glamour of the setting (the one attended by Holmes was at the Washington Convention Center, which she describes as an "enormous concrete cavern"):

Why? Seriously ... why? What is it about this particular formal event that people decide they're still willing to turn out for?

It seems as you watch the women lined up at the mirror in the bathroom, tugging up tops of dresses and pulling down bottoms of dresses, adjusting lipstick and hair, moving parts of themselves to where they're supposed to be, and scattering when the lady comes through to bellow the reminder that you need to keep everything clean and move on, that they're here because they want this experience. They want this particular experience — the ball experience, the formal experience, the inauguration experience — enough to simply decide to have it. The floor is unimportant, the fact that they can't see the band is unimportant, the overpriced drinks are unimportant, and the acres of exposed concrete are unimportant, even though these might be the same things they wouldn't like about some other party on some other day.

We've pulled together some photos of the gowns worn by VIPs and other attendees:

Let us know what you think of Michelle Obama's dress compared to her first inaugural ball gown by taking our poll.

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