Michelle Obama has proven her fashion savvy time and again since she was introduced as first lady in a yellow sheath and coat by Isabel Toledo on Inauguration Day 2009 — so much so that we don’t discuss it nearly as much as we used to.
Four years ago, there was a daily barrage in the media: Jason Wu gown! J. Crew gloves! Jimmy Choo shoes! It remained that way for months and even years.
There was the Naeem Khan beaded strapless gown for the first state dinner in the Obama White House; the black racer-back dress by Michael Kors worn in her official portrait. Her wardrobe for the Obamas’ state visit to England, including the white cross-neck halter gown by Tom Ford she wore to a black-tie event with Queen Elizabeth in London, and the fiery red Alexander McQueen she wore the for the state dinner the Obamas hosted for China generated news around the globe.
Even more recently, her pink Tracy Reese dress was practically an honored guest at the Democratic National Convention in September.
One of the moments so many people are eagerly anticipating tomorrow (Jan. 21) is when she’ll emerge in her gown for the inaugural balls.
And yet, she’s been busy figuring out a way to largely move the focus from her style to her substance.
“What’s really interesting about the first lady is that she’s been able to incorporate the fact that she’s stylish into a much larger persona,” says Ariel Foxman, managing editor of InStyle magazine.
In the early going, there was intense focus on what she’d wear “because we hadn’t seen a first lady who had such an innate style and sense of color — and great arms,” he adds. “It’s been exciting to see a first lady embracing fashion by remaining consistently interesting and diverse in her fashion choices, and in doing that, she’s been able to draw attention elsewhere.”