In returning to Chicago last week for his
farewell speech, it was clear President Barack Obama was bringing his presidency full circle, but in her own way, first lady Michelle Obama was subtly doing the same thing – using her fashion choice.
The significance of Obama’s dress last Tuesday may not have been an obvious one, but for a woman whose presidency consisted of memorable and thoughtful attire, it spoke volumes.
Donning a Jason Wu dress, the first lady sat front row as her husband
honored her in an emotional moment with the eyes of the entire country watching.
“Michelle Lavaughn Robinson, girl of the South Side,” President Obama said. “For the past 25 years, you have not only been my wife and mother of my children, you have been my best friend."n
“You took on a role you didn’t ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humor,” he added, wiping tears from his eyes. “You made the White House a place that belongs to everybody.”
It was a flashback of sorts to the first lady’s
first inauguration ball in 2009, where she also wore a custom gown by Jason Wu.
And to her second
inauguration ball in 2013, where she stunned the fashion world again in yet another Wu original.
Michelle Obama’s fashion choices have made headlines throughout her time as first lady.
From her selection and support of American designers...
To wearing fashion ordinary women could potentially mimic.
French designer Sophie Theallet, who moved to the United States to pursue her career in New York and launched her own brand in 2007, was among some of the many designers to work with Michelle Obama.
But most recently said she will not be dressing the next first lady after Obama leaves office.
“As an immigrant myself in this country, I have been blessed with the opportunity to pursue my dreams in the USA,” Theallet wrote. “Dressing the First Lady Michelle Obama for the past 8 years has been a highlight and an honor. She has contributed to having our name recognized and respected worldwide.”
John Moore/Getty Images
In a recent interview talking about her future after leaving the White House, Obama also addressed her fashion choices as first lady.
"It all boils down to comfort level: If I’m going to make you comfortable, then I have to be comfortable first," Obama said. "So my first reaction isn’t ‘Who made this?’ But ‘Let’s try it on. What does it look like? Oooh, that’s cute. Oh, wow. I never thought of wearing something like this. Let’s put a belt on it. I feel gooood in this.’"
Mrs. Obama set the stage for what would become a series of iconic fashion selections beginning with her first inauguration.
Previous first ladies had often gone with established luxury designers like Oscar de la Renta, but Mrs. Obama wore a two-piece lemongrass-hued ensemble by Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo for day...
and a one-shouldered white gown by New York-based, Taiwanese-Canadian designer Jason Wu at night.
For her husband's second inauguration, she wore a sleek coat and dress by American designer Thom Browne, known for his eclectic talents.
and in the evening Jason Wu again.
Now, as President Obama finishes his final week in office, it has become clear that Michelle Obama has made her mark in first lady fashion.