Ann Romney and Michelle Obama Both Wore Pink Dresses at the Debate (PHOTOS)

Both the first lady and first lady hopeful chose bubblegum pink dresses for the town hall debate on Tuesday night. Isabel Wilkinson on their inspiration.

10.17.12 3:01 AM ET

Well, this is awkward: both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney wore the same shade of bubblegum pink at the second presidential debate on Tuesday night.

Rumor quickly circulated after the debate that it was a planned act of support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month—but a representative for the AstraZeneca Healthcare Foundation (which runs the program) told us via e-mail: "We are unaware whether the Presidential Candidates’ wives wore pink to the Presidential debate in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month." So it appears not to have been planned.

The first lady wore a bright pink dress and matching jacket by Michael Kors with bracelet-length sleeves, which she paired with black patent leather pumps and a single strand of pearls. It was a Jackie O. moment for Michelle—and, as far as she is comfortable playing with first lady symbolism, an ensemble that played to American nostalgia: a feminine first lady in a retro silhouette and a string of pearls. 

Romney’s dress was eerily similar—a short pink tweed dress with short sleeves, with a double strand of green beads and baby blue nail polish. Strangely, she paired it with a red and tan printed shawl. It was an odd assortment of colors, but it worked. 

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Since the beginning of the campaign, Romney has experimented with her style. She’s slowly found her footing and received rave reviews for the red Oscar de la Renta dress she wore to the Republican National Convention. Over the last few months, her task has been a delicate one: she has chosen to wear clothes that don’t appear too expensive or alienate her from her voters, while simultaneously appearing to be first lady-like. The pink ensemble at the debates communicated that she’s become more comfortable with this new way of dressing. She’s finally experimenting—and straying from the red-hair-red-lips rigidity of the first lady playbook. It’s about time.