ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Michelle Obama : The First Lady of Style

Updated on September 10, 2011

Not since Jackie Kennedy moved into the White House has the style of a First Lady so captured the imagination of America. Michelle Obama, though certainly much more than just a fashionplate or a pretty face, has a fresh and modern style that is sure to set a tone that will inspire the average woman just as Mrs. Kennedy did in the 1960s. It is true that Americans have paid attention to the fashion choices of other First Ladies between the early Sixties and today, but it was usually more to critique than admire (remember the way people attacked Nancy Regan's $20,000 Inaugural gown in 1981 or Hillary Clinton's headbands in the early 1990s?). When Michelle Obama moved to Washington, D.C., she brought with her a sense of high fashion and easy elegance to a town that has long been mocked for its lack of style.


Michelle Obama has the ability to move between modern trends and more vintage-inspired styles with grace. She is also a woman who knows the sartorial value of a standout accessory, and she is not afraid to make bold color choices. All of this has added up to a First Lady that has delighted the fashion press, as well as stylish women nationwide. Besides the content of Barak Obama's Inaugural address, one of the most eagerly anticipated questions of that day was, "What will Michelle be wearing?".

Inaugural Parade


And Mrs. Obama did not disappoint on January 20, 2009. For the Inauguration itself, the First Lady wore a stunning sheath dress with a matching coat by young Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo. Michelle Obama has said that she chose the bright lemon grass colored ensemble because she wanted to wear something optimistic and charming on that historic day. Clearly, this is a woman who understands the power of fashion to communicate and send a message. Not to mention, the outfit looked fantastic on her! Knowing that the perfect accessories make the outfit, the First Lady topped off her sheath and coat with a beautiful brooch and a pair of Jimmy Choo pumps.

Inaugural Ball


For her Inaugural Ball gown, Mrs. Obama chose to feature the work of another young designer, Jason Wu. Fashion savvy First Ladies have long known that the clothing designers they chose to wore did have an impact. When Jackie Kennedy became First Lady, she realized that it was important for her to wear American designers, like Oleg Cassini, rather than the French designers that she had previously favored. Some of Michelle Obama's other favorite young designers, such as Tracy Feith and Narcisco Rodriguez are bound to experience the same rise in their stature as Cassini did as a result of Mrs. Kennedy's patronage.


Michelle Obama's Inaugural Ball gown was a beautiful ivory silk chiffon dress that was custom made especially for her. It featured intricate embellishments, such as tiny organza rosette appliqués, Swarovksi crystal rhinestones, and silver thread embroidery. The asymmetrical one shoulder style worn by the First Lady on January 20th  turned out to foreshadow one of the hottest trends at the Academy Awards one month later. Not only did many of the celebrities wear one shouldered gowns to the Oscars, cream was one of the most popular colors that night. It looks like even Hollywood is turning to Michelle Obama for fashion inspiration. One doubts that the conservative long sleeved Inaugural frocks worn by First Ladies such as Laura Bush in 2001 or Hillary Clinton in 1993 were ever echoed by A-list celebrities!

On the evening of the Inauguration, the First Lady wore a spectacular pair of diamond chandelier earrings and arm armful of thin diamond bangles. It is clear that Michelle Obama has a love of fabulous jewelry and accessories. She also has an understanding of how to combine pieces with different necklines. For instance, when Mrs. Obama attended a performance at the Kennedy Center on February 6, 2009, she wore a turtleneck dress in tonal charcoal and black. To liven up the subdued color palette, she added a large eye-catching pearl brooch.

Classic jewelry has its' place, but the First Lady is also not afraid to choose more dramatic pieces for a special occasion. Michelle Obama looked resplendent in the bold multi-strand pearl and crystal necklace that she wore to the Governors' Dinner on February 22nd. It was a creative choice to pair with the sequined strapless gown that she wore to the black tie affair, and it showed that Mrs. Obama has the confidence to take some fashion risks. It is a necklace style that one can imagine many fashionable brides copying as wedding jewelry.

Pearls are clearly one of Michelle Obama's favorite adornments. Not only has she been seen in the pearl brooch, but the First Lady has been photographed wearing a variety of pearl necklaces, as well. She really has a great sense of how to complete an outfit with just the right piece. When the First Lady wore a bright cobalt blue sheath to the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2009, it was a classic strand of pearls that added the perfect balance to the strong color of the V-neck Proenza Schouler dress. Over another brightly colored dress, this time with a jewel neck, Mrs. Obama layered in a longer strand of pearls for a visit to Howard University.

 Perhaps the most appealing thing about Michelle Obama's fashion choices is that they are current without being too trendy, and that they feel entirely accessible to the ordinary woman. The First Lady is well known for mixing pieces from national stores like J Crew in with her more exclusive or upscale clothing. When she is photographed wearing a stylish pair of skinny jeans tucked into boots, or a chic all black outfit, women everywhere see themselves. A young lady wanting to emulate Mrs. Obama's graceful style can head right to her local mall to find pieces like signature belts, classic dresses, and bright pops of color in her shoes and gloves.


Michelle Obama will surely influence and inspire American women in many areas beyond fashion. That said, women everywhere will still be paying close attention to her fashion choices, both at home and abroad. Her clothing will be studied, both as inspiration, and for the subtle messages that the First Lady is sending with her garment choices (newspapers around the world took note of the cheerful outfit that she wore for the Inauguration.) Mrs. Obama will no doubt select her outfits with care, yet she has the unique ability to make looking good appear effortless. As a woman of substance, she knows that style is important, but that an easy elegance can be achieved without devoting your whole life to your appearance. Like Jackie Kennedy, Michelle Obama has a natural grace that makes her personal style fit her to perfection.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)