Michelle Obama and Kate Moss are both Capricorns — who knew?
Our favorite British model celebrated the big 4-0 Thursday, and on Friday, the one and only FLOTUS turned 50, giving us yet another excuse to compile a list of great moments in style. As an ambassador of American labels and a champion of affordable wares, Mrs. Obama has kept us captivated by rewriting the old rules.
“She is a modern first lady, unrestricted by outdated codes or fussy ideas of what a woman in her position should wear,” says designer Tracy Reese. “Her style is feminine yet strong, fashion-forward yet accessible.” The moments below are cases in point:
The first (and second) Jason Wu Inauguration dress
Who can forget the moment Mrs. Obama stepped out in that white, one-shoulder, floral-appliquéd Jason Wu gown for the first Inaugural Ball in 2009? The world watched (and sobbed) as she and the newly elected president slow-danced to Beyoncé’s rendition of the Etta James classic “At Last.” At last, the collective brainwave shouted, a first lady who gets it right!
Mrs. Obama surprised again when she donned another Wu creation — this one in red velvet and chiffon — for the second inaugural in January 2013.
“#Inshock!!!” the designer tweeted. The ruby dress will make its way to the Smithsonian this year as part of the National Museum of America History’s 100-year anniversary of the first ladies exhibition, marking the first time a second-inauguration dress will be on display.
Michelle covers Vogue — Twice!
Since Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour was already a card-carrying member of the Barack Obama fan club, a cover featuring his tall, svelte, well-dressed wife seemed inevitable.
The first cover came sooner than expected, just months after the first inauguration in March 2009. She wore a magenta silk sheath dress by — surprise, surprise — Jason Wu.
An apparent fan of seconds, Mrs. Obama graced Vogue again in April 2013, but sported “softer” brows and wore a dress from Reed Krakoff reportedly taken straight from her own closet.
“If you’re comfortable in your clothes, it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well,” Obama told the magazine, which — despite what Kanye West may think — is at least 50 percent more profound than what most other cover models have to say.
Last January, for a fresh start to the New Year and perhaps a birthday treat to herself, Mrs. Obama got bangs, and tweeted about it on a freshly made Twitter account, @FLOTUS. The Internet, being the Internet, went wild.
Even Karl Lagerfeld added his two cents. “Frankly, the fringe was a bad idea,” the Kaiser said on a French TV show, “Le Petit Journal.” He went on to liken her look to that of “une speakerine de LCI.” Translation: a mumsy news anchor.
The bangs were gone by August, but as the first lady explained to Parade, it wasn’t because of a few lousy Lagerfeld quotes. “You know, it’s hard to make speeches with hair in your face!” she told the publication.
Obama vs. Bruni: The Fashionable First Lady Faceoff
It was the style match of the century. May 2009: Michelle Obama, two-time Jason Wu champion and the chicest first lady since Jackie Kennedy vs. Carla Bruni, the glamorous former model/chanteuse and then-wife of then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The stakes were high — who would reign as most fashionable woman in the political world? Of course, as events like this go, the meeting, which took place on French turf in Strasbourg, was entirely amicable, and the two even sported ensembles that complemented each other.
Mrs. Obama wore a poppy-printed coat by Thakoon and Bruni-Sarkozy wore beige Dior.
As for the first interaction, the gracious and worldly Mrs. Obama greeted Bruni-Sarkozy with “Bonjour!” and a double kiss. Très sweet.
A Patron of Affordable Brands
The best thing about Mrs. Obama’s style is her effortless mix of high-designer and affordable fashion. One minute she’s working an up-and-coming luxury designer like Doo-Ri, Thakoon or Jason Wu, the next she’s keeping it casual and looking just as chic in J.Crew.
For one particularly famous turn on the “Today” show, Mrs. Obama wore a polka-dot printed H&M dress that cost a cool $34.95.
Talk about “bang” for your buck.