By Anita Bennett
In what is believed to be a first ever for a U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama wore a second hand dress to a high profile public event.
Mrs Obama surprised fashion insiders, when she arrived at the Christmas in Washington concert wearing a vintage black dress with a black lace overlay once owned by someone else.
Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, the concert was taped Sunday and aired last night on TNT, showing Mrs. Obama wearing the dazzling design with its full tea-length tulle skirt.
A first lady first? Michelle Obama is believed to be the only first lady to wear a second hand design to a public event, December 12 , Washington, DC
The dress by the late American designer Norman Norelli has a square neckline, which according to People Style Watch is 'something rarely seen in contemporary designs'.
Several American media outlets reported the dress was purchased at New York Vintage in the Chelsea neighbourhood of New York City.
The boutique's co-owner Jon Schneck later told The Huffington Post: 'We are truly honoured that the first lady has chosen a gown from New York Vintage as her first venture into vintage couture.
Great find: Mrs. Obama's dress was purchased at a vintage boutique in New York
He added: 'Other dresses from our archive have been scheduled for use by the first lady later this year.'Schneck would not reveal how much Mrs. Obama paid for the dress, although fashion experts believe it may have been somewhere around $2,500, since the 1950s dress is one of a kind.
Obama's fashion choices frequently make headlines, including her penchant for over-the-counter looks from chains such as J. Crew.
Star studded! Mariah Carey, Ellen DeGeneres and R&B singer Maxwell pose for pictures with America's first family
In the past, off the rack fashions have immediately become top sellers in the department stores and boutiques where they originated.
Cementing her status as First Lady of fashion, last year The Council of Fashion Designers of America honoured Mrs. Obama with a style award last year.
Noting her 'meteoric rise as a fashion icon,' CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg said Obama had 'a unique look that balances the duality of her lives' in her roles as adviser to her husband, President Barack Obama, and mother to their two daughters.
Family Photo: President Obama, Mrs. Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and the first lady's mother Marian Robinson pose with local children