All News & Blogs
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
BY SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
AP Fashion Writer
NEW YORK--Michelle Obama has proven her fashion savvy time and again since she was introduced as first lady in a yellow sheath and coat by Isabel Toledo on Inauguration Day 2009--so much so that we don't discuss it nearly as much as we used to.
Four years ago, there was a daily barrage in the media: Jason Wu gown! J. Crew gloves! Jimmy Choo shoes! It remained that way for months and even years.
There was the Naeem Khan beaded strapless gown for the first state dinner in the Obama White House, the black racer-back dress by Michael Kors worn in her official portrait. Her wardrobe for the Obamas' state visit to England, including the white cross-neck halter gown by Tom Ford she wore to a black-tie event with Queen Elizabeth in London, and the fiery red Alexander McQueen she wore for the state dinner the Obamas hosted for China generated news around the globe.
Even more recently, her pink Tracy Reese dress was practically an honored guest at the Democratic National Convention in September, and one of the moments so many are eagerly anticipating on Monday is when she'll emerge in her gown for the inaugural balls.
But she's figured out a way to largely move the focus from her style to her substance.
"What's really interesting about the first lady is that she's been able to incorporate the fact that she's stylish into a much larger persona," says Ariel Foxman, managing editor of InStyle magazine.
In the early going, there was intense focus on what she'd wear "because we hadn't seen a first lady who had such an innate style and sense of color--and great arms," he adds. "It's been exciting to see a first lady embracing fashion by remaining consistently interesting and diverse in her fashion choices, and in doing that, she's been able to draw attention elsewhere."
She probably doesn't want the first question when she visits a school to promote healthy living to be about her sneakers, and she doesn't want the print of her dress to steal the thunder of a speech about veterans.
"Consistency has made her look much more matter of fact," Foxman adds.