Like many of you, I have followed Michelle Obama’s public profile since the early days of her husband’s run for the Presidency. Whilst closely following Mrs Obama’s dedication to public policy through initiatives such as Let’s Move and Joining Forces, I’ve also been watching how her fantastic sense of style has evolved since she moved into the White House back in January 2009.
It is clear that the First Lady is dedicated to reworking her wardrobe and re-wearing many of the pieces within it. Nothing is off limits, and Mrs Obama has repeated many of her outfits, regardless of who designed them. It was great to recently see the reappearance of the Thakoon inside-out dress at the Joining Forces hiring initiative on Tuesday 30th April, especially as we first saw this striking floral piece during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Other recent reappearances include the lovely Jason Wu ivory raw-silk dress with hand embroidered embellishments at the First Lady’s visit to the Department of the Interior, a crimson pleated georgette dress by Michael Kors at the signing ceremony of the Maryland Veterans Full Employment Act, and a Prabal Gurung charcoal brush painted rose silk twill gazar dress and coat to the Easter Service at St John’s Episcopal Church. I love it when I recognize a piece from the First Lady’s wardrobe, the sense of familiarity reminding me it’s okay to repeat and re-wear something that I really love.
Mrs Obama seems to be shifting towards more structured dresses, favoring sheaths by designers such as L’Wren Scott, Jason Wu and Narciso Rodriguez. We particularly saw this trend on the First Lady’s recent Vogue Magazine cover, where she wore a cerulean blue and purple sheath dress by Reed Krakoff. Striking in its unique design, this choice is indicative of Mrs Obama’s passion to be different, picking classic pieces with that little bit of a twist.
We’ve also seen Mrs O embrace powerful pops of color, veering at times towards palettes of neon hues. One of her most recent choices was the bright plum merino knitwear set by J Crew Collection, debuted on a visit with military families at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The First Lady also chose a bright and spring-like yellow Preen pantsuit for the Memphis Soul workshop at the White House in early April. These bold choices remind us that it’s good to be brave, and embrace a daring piece to shake up our personal style.
Mrs Obama continues to use statement accessories to accent her outfits, but we have seen a shift away from the belts that adorned her waist through many of her first term appearances. Big and bold pieces by designers such as Alexis Bittar and Miriam Haskall now make regular appearances, whilst the First Lady continues to introduce fresh jewelry designers such as Catherine Angiel and Kimberly McDonald for many evening events and black tie appearances. Mrs O also continues to wear pins on a frequent basis, steering towards simple and effective floral pieces from designers such as Alexis Bittar and Hattie Carnegie.
We all remember the media circus when the White House tweeted a photograph of Mrs Obama with her new hairstyle. The discussion surrounding her adoption of bangs in January this year proved as monumental as when Hillary Rodham Clinton wore a scrunchie or chose a pantsuit in a new hue. This is perhaps one of the biggest evolutionary style moves, and will be one of the memorable moments that we will all remember when we look back at Mrs Obama’s time as First Lady.
Despite this big (and successful!) change, Mrs Obama continues to display many of her original stylish characteristics that transfixed an industry and made us fall in love with her. It is great to see that Mrs Obama remains steadily loyal to J Crew, encouraging us all to improve our wardrobes with standout pieces from this beloved American store. Newly debuted J Crew pieces include the pink and navy scalloped flats worn for her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, and a casual floral stripe tee debuted at the White House Easter Egg Roll. Introducing new and fun pieces into her wardrobe inspires us all to continue to evolve our sense of personal style, and I thought of Mrs O as my own style inspiration when I purchased a pair of the leopard Etta pumps at J Crew a few weeks ago.
Michelle Obama is a rare, and utterly authentic public figure. Her confidence is a complete inspiration, and she brilliantly displays her personality through her sartorial choices. In a recent Vogue interview, Mrs Obama maintained, “women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves. [If] you’re comfortable in your clothes it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well.” Isn’t this a great mantra that we should all be living by?