During her years in the White House, Michelle Obama developed a fabulous signature style that was fresh and modern.
In fact, Kate Betts, the author of Everday Icon– Michelle Obama and the Power of Style wrote about this very thing. I got the chance to hear her speak about The First Lady of Style a few years back and here is what she said.
Kate pointed out that upon entering the White House Michelle softened her style. She embraced the image of mom in chief and girlfriend and started dressing more casually. In fact, she was the most casual first lady so far! Michelle’s JCrew outfits have made fashion more accessible and helped women feel connected to her. Nearly always choosing American designers (and often boosting their careers in the process), she redefined American style as polished prep with a high-fashion bite.
Just think about all the things that she has brought to power dressing, including:
- sleeveless dresses
- cardigans instead of suit jackets
- flats instead of heels
- vivid colors instead of conservative colors
- big accessories that have personality like her signature wide belts
- bare legs instead of hose
- floral print dresses
- bold costume jewelry
Kate says Michelle Obama made powerful more feminine.
I agree, and add, she has also made powerful more interesting and a whole lot more fun! I can’t applaud her enough for the ways she used and still uses vibrant colors, and her classic silhouettes, which are so clean-lined and chic. I also love that she plays with her accessories (although must admit those wide warrior belts that sit high underneath her bust she used to wear were…enough already! – guess that was her creative side coming out)
Michelle is to this day, a fantastic example of looking flawless after a certain age. Here are some tips on how to get Michelle’s winning look.
1. Highlight your Arms
Many magazines have documented Michelle’s arms and for a good reason. They are incredibly toned! If you have great arms, too, follow her lead and show them off in sleeveless tops and dresses. Try wearing big bracelets to draw the eye to your arms, too.
2. Skirt the Issue
Very few photos show the First Lady in pants. If you want to emulate her style, try wearing dresses and skirts more often- it’s not as hard as you think! You’ll also feel more put-together and feminine.
Michelle usually wears high-waisted, A-line skirts and dresses. This classic shape never goes out of fashion and hides a tummy by placing the focus on the upper body. Talk about win-win! If your legs make you self-conscious, simply slip a pair of nude pantyhose or black opaque tights underneath- they hide flaws and will make you feel more covered up.
3. Bedeck your Neck
Michelle often wears big necklaces for both daytime and evening events. Try pairing a bold necklace with a v-neck or boat neck top to create a classic and ladylike look. Pearls are a favorite of the First Lady but don’t be afraid to experiment with beads, studs, metals and more! Just remember to limit the rest of your jewelry to avoid being over-the-top. Simple stud earrings are the only other piece you’ll need.
4. Be Well-Heeled
Michelle pairs her polished skirts and dresses with heels for a look that exudes chic. To get a similar feel, try kitten heels. They elevate you just enough to make an impact but are as comfy as your trusted flats.
5. Belt it!
In true Obama fashion, Michelle manages to make her A-line skirts and dresses even more flattering by adding a wide belt just beneath the bustline. It’s become her style statement. Adding a belt under the bust highlights the smallest part of you, making you look leaner overall. Make sure your bra is supportive enough to keep your girls up as high as they should be, and then showcase your slimmest spot with a beautiful belt!
6. Play with Necklines
Mrs. Obama wears almost every neckline under the sun: v-necks, boat necks, scoop necks, off-the-shoulder and asymmetrical. By always switching it up and displaying some skin around her collarbone, she highlights her fit upper body and neck. And since the collarbone is the classiest way to show some skin, why not try tops with different necklines? It’s a way to add a fashion-forward feel to an otherwise classic style.
7. Keep it Knee-Length
Since the skirts Michelle wears tend to be on the fuller side, they often stop at the knee or just above it. This lengthens the line of the leg and prevents the volume from making her look matronly. Avoid skirts that hit mid-calf as they are aging choose the lengths Michelle rocks instead.
8. Add Earrings for Edge
Sometimes, Mrs. Obama swaps out her statement necklace for statement earrings. This usually happens when the neckline of her top or dress is particularly intricate, and she does not want to detract from it. If you find a cool neckline that swoops just so, shoulder-grazing earrings are the perfect complement that won’t deter from the focus on the neckline. A bracelet or bangle is the only other jewelry you could need.
Try these tips above to achieve the signature look that has made Michelle Obama a fashion icon… It will make you the best-dressed woman at any party, all politics aside. Now if only the editors at Vogue could see you rock those kitten heels!
Let me know what you think about Michelle Obama style. Is it modern and powerful, or not your cup of tea?