— Michelle Obama is already poised to set trends in the fashion industry, following in the footsteps of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy as a style icon. While joining her husband on the campaign trail, she created quite a buzz with her polished professional pieces and easygoing off-duty duds. But while it may seem effortless, there’s more to Mrs. Obama’s style than meets the eye.
Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor and author of The Buzz column for In Touch Weekly, considers the soon-to-be first lady’s impact on fashion and how every woman can get her look.
What she wears
Color, color and more color. While keeping her appearance sleek and chic, Michelle is also fearless in her fashion choices, often opting for bold hues, powerful prints and eye-catching accents like brooches and belts.
She is sophisticated without feeling stuffy, and polished with an effortless ease. Her tastes vary from high-end designers like Thakoon Panichgul and Narciso Rodriguez to hometown favorites, and even nationwide chains like Gap and J. Crew. From formal and semiformal frocks to suits and casual ensembles, Michelle is the picture-perfect model of modern American fashion every woman can relate to.
Why it works
While her choices have sometimes stirred water-cooler and playground debates alike, Michelle's confidence has certainly helped her carry off her clothing. By adding her own accents, rather than wearing one designer head-to-toe, she’s able to pull looks together that reflect her personality.
She’s also not afraid to flaunt her athletic figure, embracing her body shape by wearing pieces that show off her curves and streamline her silhouette. Furthermore, her mix of high and low price points has often resulted in a winning combination. She proves that you can really find self-expression at every price point.
How to make it your own
Women across America shopped at White House/Black Market after Mrs. Obama wore the label’s $148 dress on “The View,” but you don’t have to snag her exact garments to get her overall look.
Look for classic pieces, but play with color. Identify striking solids that compliment you, and crisp combinations, like black and white, that add a ”pop.” And the key to “classy”? Know when to tone it down with a demure neckline, cardigan or blazer. Mix it up by wearing old and new pieces or splurges and steals at the same time.
And once you find brands and styles that work for you, don’t be afraid to keep going back for more. Mrs. Obama has been seen in countless designs from local Chicago designer Maria Pinto, most likely because she knows Pinto’s clothes work well on her body, and she feels comfortable with the line. Stand by your favorite store, and keep checking in for new items that will suit your needs.
Most importantly though, know your body, and don’t be afraid to select styles that will play up your shape and flatter your figure. It will bring you one step closer to looking like a first lady, rather than a frumpy one!
Where to shop
Banana Republic: You'll find feminine blazers, cotton wrap shirts and solid dresses made for belting and accessorizing. Check out their “classics under $100” section for more ideas.
Macy’s: Browse their sleek, modern suits here.
White House/Black Market: Michelle famously wore a $148 dress from this label on “The View,” but check out their accessories as well, like their brooches and necklaces that offer a modern take on pearls.