News Column

Michelle Obama's Fashion Sense Offers Lessons to All Women

Jan 22, 2013

Bravetta Hassell

Michelle Obama

It's not too hard to argue that for every person tuned in to the president's inauguration Monday, many really had their sights set on his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, who recently celebrated her 49th birthday.

She has a chic new hairdo (bangs) and, beyond her impressive resume and campaign for healthy kids, is considered by many to be a style icon.

On Sunday she wore a blue dress and cardigan designed by Reed Krakoff, president and executive director of Coach, and at Monday's inaugural events she donned a blue Thom Browne coat and dress that her office said is based on the style of a man's silk tie. Her belt and shoes were J.Crew, and her necklace was designed by Cathy Waterman.

The all-American ensemble is just one trademark of Michelle Obama's. The other is her ability to mix high-end (Thom Browne) with affordable (J.Crew). The result: stylish and achievable.

Here are some more tips on adopting the first lady's style acumen, adapted from "Everyday Icon" author Kate Betts, who gave Cosmopolitan magazine a few of Obama's secrets to share.

Own your look: "Michelle owns every outfit she wears," Betts told Cosmo. "You can tell that she never feels uncomfortable or uneasy in her clothing."

That means try on your clothes before you buy them and then again before you're debuting them for a special occasion such as an interview, a first date or cocktail hour. Cosmo suggests spending some time around your place wearing your outfit. If you find you're pulling at it and adjusting different features constantly, save yourself some time and pick out something else to wear.

Rock a "wow-worthy" accessory: On election night, "Michelle wore a Narciso Rodriguez dress and paired it with dazzling dangly earrings," Betts told Cosmo. Whether it's a strong belt, a broach, necklace or earrings, Obama is always adding just enough touch of extra to give her ensemble that extra zing.

That is a little extra, not a lot. Accessories make the outfit, but too many will break it. Stick to one statement piece.

Embrace what works: Have you ever seen the first lady wear an outfit that looked horrible? Well, we won't give her too much credit. Everyone makes fashion mistakes. But rarely do we see her in clothing that is completely unflattering. Obama goes with what works on her, Betts said.

Nothing is wrong with being bold and adventurous, but if you've found a silhouette that looks outstanding on your outstanding body, stick with it.

Just because stripes are in right now or everyone is wearing knee-high boots, it doesn't mean you have to. Make the items that flatter you staples in your closet and stay current with a few trendy pieces now and then.

Wear red: Remember that bright-red dress Obama wore in November 2008 to meet with the Bush family? "It gave off an 'I'm-in-charge-now' and guaranteed that all eyes were on her," Betts said.

Think of red as the equivalent of a man wearing his power suit, Cosmo suggests. You're getting everyone's attention, and oh, by the way, studies have found red to be the color that most attracts men. Do with that what you will.

Peter Rabbit comes to the Gap Gap introduces a limited-edition collection for babyGap inspired by Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit."

"Peter Rabbit is a timeless character that generations of children have enjoyed, so we're thrilled to offer a babyGap collection inspired by characters and scenes from the books," said Lexi Tawes, vice president of merchandising for Gap North America in a statement.

"We think babyGap customers will love the playful designs -- from Peter Rabbit's iconic blue sweater to the whimsical, bunny-inspired patterns -- whether they're looking for a baby gift or an addition to their own little one's wardrobe."

The collection is available in babyGap stores and online at, and ranges in size from newborn to 24 months.

Find an assortment of soft-knit graphic bodysuits, vibrant denim, "whimsical" one-pieces and patterned dresses. Clothing and accessories in the collection range from $6.99 to $55.

For girls, highlights include colored and printed denim ($24.95-$29.95); cable knit cardigans ($34.95); and billowing dresses in chambray eyelet and pink bunny print designs ($36.95-$39.95). For boys, key styles include Peter's jacket ($34.95), a navy chunky knit cardigan; oxford shirts ($19.95); colored denim ($24.95); and one-pieces in chambray and plaid ($29.95-$34.95).

For newborns, check out bodysuits featuring various Peter Rabbit illustrations that are sold separately or as sets ($19.95-$55).

Bits 'n' pieces Trish McEvoy Boot Camp: Saks Fifth Avenue Tulsa invites guests to get their beauty routine in order for 2013 by participating in its Trish McEvoy Beauty Boot Camp running Thursday through Saturday.

McEvoy is known for her streamlined approach to makeup and skin care. At this week's beauty boot camp, Trish McEvoy Specialists will give guests a 30-minute makeover and take each person through three stations focused on eyes and lashes, foundation and concealer and skin care.

After the makeover, guests can enjoy homemade granola from BBD II, refreshing juices and flavored waters.

To book an appointment or to learn more about Trish McEvoy, call 918-744-0200 ext. 339.

Source: (c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters