Not many receive the high honor of being referred to as a fashion icon. But for First Lady Michelle Obama, the distinction seems intuitive—style, apparently, is in her DNA. With effortless elegance, confidence and poise, Obama has been worthy of the accolade since at least 2008.
As a fashion icon, Michelle Obama has joined the ranks of Lena Horne, Princess Diana and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, to name a few. Widely regarded as fashion royalty, these women have sartorially made their mark on the world, setting timeless trends while living life fabulously. But unlike former First Lady Jackie O, Obama skipped the pillbox hats and dark sunglasses for a more contemporary look.
Michelle Obama captures the zeitgeist of now with her high-waist belts, chunky necklaces, bold colors and sleeveless dresses. With bare arms, she obliterated the conservative notion of how the First Lady should dress. (Think—yawn—Barbara Bush.) As an independent thinker, Obama has defined her own style.
The world recognizes Michelle Obama’s non-traditionalist aura and watches. Intently.
The First Lady has graced the covers of Vogue (twice!), Time, Glamour and our very own EBONY. She’s used her influence to advance the careers of several up-and-coming designers, most notably Jason Wu, who regularly designs for her. Wu is also responsible for the unforgettable gown that Obama rocked at the 2009 Inaugural Ball, amongst other pieces. The whimsical one-shoulder gown adorned with chiffon flowers will forever be recorded in the book of fabulousness.
Michelle Obama is the most famous stylish and tasteful African-American public figure and mom of our time. To Black women, she’s far more than an international fashion icon. Given the paucity of positive images of African-American women in the media, the First Lady’s presence demonstrates that Black women are worthy of recognition and ought to be celebrated as beings of style and beauty. For many, Michelle Obama is a representation of who we are and what we aspire to be.
With that, we leave you with some images of our insurmountable First Lady.—Felice Léon