As the year ends, I thought it wold be fun to take a look at some of the top style makers of 2013. In my 5 part series, Fabulous After 40 fashion stylist Morgan Mullin has created a series of style boards and tips to that teaches you how celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Sara Jessica Parker, and Jennifer Aniston put together their signature looks.
Today, we start with First Lady Michelle Obama.
After gracing the cover of Vogue twice, Mrs. Obama has proven to be a fashion icon. Nearly always choosing American designers (and often boosting their careers in the process), she is redefining American style as polished prep with a high-fashion bite. She is a fantastic example of looking flawless after a certain age.
Here are Morgan’s tips to imitating Michelle’s winning look.
Highlight your Arms
Many magazines (including Cosmopolitan) have documented Michelle’s arms and for 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
Morgan Mullin is a fashion journalist and stylist. Read Morgan’s full profile here.