Style with Substance
For Mary Tomer ’03, Michelle Obama’s style is worth noticing every day, not just when the first lady wears shorts to the Grand Canyon. Tomer first became a dedicated follower of Obama’s fashion when she began making frequent public appearances in summer 2008. A few months later, Tomer started her blog, Mrs-O.org, which tracks the eclectic styles of the first lady.
“One of my all-time favorites is the dress she wore the second night of the Democratic National Convention—an ivory and lime rose-patterned brocade cocktail dress by Peter Soronen. For all intents and purposes, this dress was the inspiration for Mrs-O.org.”
Her blog averages 330,000 hits per month and showcases photos and commentary on Obama’s past and present styles, and even spotlights former first ladies and their fashions.
The site undoubtedly struck a chord. She was soon featured as a fashion consultant on the Today show and, within two months of the site’s debut, she was offered a book deal. Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy hit stores this October and contains rare and detailed photos of numerous pieces that Obama has worn, as well as interviews with the designers.
Below, Tomer reflects upon BC and her burgeoning career:
What is the most satisfying moment in your professional life?
The day the first copy of Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy arrived in stores.
In your personal life?
I recently became engaged to the love of my life!
What is your best BC memory?
I was lucky to make an amazing group of friends. We’re dispersed up and down the East Coast now, but our weekly group e-mails and girls’ weekends are as fun as ever. My best memories are with them.
What is your next goal?
Earn my MBA.
What is one thing everyone should do while at BC?
Drive a Winnebago to South Bend for the BC vs. Notre Dame game.
How have you changed since graduation?
My perspective on careers has changed. I remember feeling a lot of anxiety about what I would do after college. Looking back, I would have put less pressure on myself to find the perfect job at 22.
Why did you decide to attend BC?
The final decision was based on instinct, above all else.
What is the secret to success?
Early signs point toward doing something you love and surrounding yourself with people that both support and inspire you.
Where is your favorite spot on the Heights?
What would you do if you were BC president for a day?
I’d plant another lawn. (I have a penchant for green spaces.)
What was your first job?
I started a placement with Teach for America in Los Angeles. For a number of reasons, it wasn’t the right fit for me. At the end of the summer training, I left the program and moved to Boston. I took a position with HarbourVest Partners in financial reporting and, a year later, made the switch into advertising. (They call it the “quarter life crisis” for a reason.)
Where did you live freshman year?
Fitzpatrick Hall, second floor.
How do you relax?
I love to sleep: nine hours a night at minimum and up to eleven hours on special occasions. I also aim for at least one exotic travel adventure a year.
What was your favorite BC class?
Boston: An Urban Analysis, taught by Professor David Manzo through the PULSE program. It was my favorite course in college, but it also stayed with me more than any other. It changed the way I experience cities.
What do you look forward to each day?
I’m not a morning person, but I do look forward to my morning ritual. I head out to work with a coffee and delicious baked good, walking a route that cuts through SoHo. During midmorning the neighborhood is considerably less hectic, so there’s more opportunity to take in the beauty of the buildings.
What was your favorite BC activity?
I would be fibbing if I didn’t answer football season. I loved everything about it. The SuperFan shirts. Shea Field. The brisk New England fall weather. It was huge fun—and a very all-American experience.
What is something your friends don't know about you?
My mom calls me “Bunners,” which evolved from calling me “Bunny” when I was younger.
How much can you sing of the BC fight song?
In truth, not much past “For Boston, For Boston.” I wish the question was about “Build Me Up Buttercup” because I do, in fact, know every word to that song!
Who would play you in the film version of your life?
Perhaps Amy Adams in another blogger-inspired role
What was the best meal at the BC dining hall?
Hillside Café opened my senior year. The panini and waffle cut fries were hard to beat.