What you need to know this instant.

FOR:
style

Happy Birthday, Michelle Obama! Check Out the First Lady's Best Style Moments

No matter what your political leanings are, it's pretty hard to deny that the First Lady has an impeccable sense of style and a top-notch wardrobe. She looks amazing every single day and made repeating outfits chic before Kate Middleton. (Accessories—including an accomplished professional background, inspiring public speaking skills and the buffest arms on Capitol Hill—don't hurt either.)

On top of looking amazingly elegant and accessible at the same time, the FLOTUS also has a sophisticated eye for designers—making Jason Wu and Thakoon household names. And somehow managing to wear Margiela to a NASCAR race while looking casually-fashion-forward and not at all one-percenty.

To celebrate MObama's 49th birthday—and kick off what's sure to be another stylish four years as her husband heads into his second term in office—we've updated our growing compendium of the First Lady's best looks ever. As for what she'll choose to wear to Monday night's inaugural balls? Well, that's anyone's guess.

file

The Office of the First Lady just launched a new Twitter handle, @FLOTUS. And earlier today, it shared this snapshot of MObama meeting with Inaugural citizen co-chair David Hall—sporting brand-new bangs! Now that's how you celebrate a birthday. Oh, and we love that baroque-swirled red dress, too.

@FLOTUS


file

After returning from the First Family's Hawaiian holiday in early January, Mrs. Obama strolled with Sasha in a violet fringed scarf, slouchy moto jacket and skinny black pants. Also: can we discuss how awesome her daughter's floral jeans are?!

AFP/Getty Images


file

While boarding her flight from Honolulu to D.C., the FLOTUS chose this arrow-print dress from Target's Merona collection. Cute and cheap!

AFP/Getty Images


file

Mrs. O chose this black-and-white color-blocked dress—one of her many closet repeats—for a visit to a Hawaiian Marine Corps base.

Getty Images


file

She went graphic and geometric in this violet-toned Zero + Maria Cornejo creation for a White House awards ceremony. We love the shoes, too.

Getty Images


file

In pleated, blush-hued Byron Lars at the "Christmas in Washington" concert late last year. That sparkling vintage belt from House of Lavande makes the look, no? Diana Ross looks jealous...

WireImage


file

All bundled up in J.Crew's tweed outerwear for the National Christmas Tree Lighting.

WireImage


file

Getting ready to receive the official White House Christmas tree—with First Dog Bo in tow, of course—in a floral circle skirt and tightly-belted cardigan. Just the right amount of retro influence.

Getty Images


file

All eyes were on the First Lady at last December's Kennedy Center Honors, where she looked absolutely incredible in this gilded, embellished Michael Kors.

Getty Images


file

Bo tagged along with his mom during her recent visit to the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. We love Mrs. Obama's very autumnal mix of forest green chiffon and chocolate-colored suede.

AFP/Getty Images


file

Post-election, a happy Obama fam headed back to the White House together. Mrs. O's wearing a Duro Olowu bouclé coat and Alaïa belt—a savvy traveling ensemble if ever we saw one.

AFP/Getty Images


file

Gorgeous and glowing on election night (circa 2012, not 2009!) in eggplant-colored Michael Kors.

WireImage


file

Just one day before her husband's reelection, MObama joined him for a rally in Iowa wearing this very businesslike coat-and-trouser combo. The pretty lilac scarf helps break up those dark colors.

Getty Images


file

While speaking at a Miami rally, the FLOTUS dressed to reflect the location in this vibrant purple orchid-print Moschino shirtdress. Beautiful!

WireImage


file

For a pre-election appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Mrs. O recycled this gorgeous cartridge-pleated Jason Wu she'd worn several years earlier.

ABC via Getty Images


file

Doing some Nevada campaigning in lacy, jewel-toned Rachel Roy.

AFP/Getty Images


file

FLOTUS drops by Live With Kelly in a Resort 2013 watercolor-printed short sleeve dress by Prabal Gurung. Lovely.

Disney ABC TV GROUP


file

The First Lady gets first dibs on wearing this printed sleeveless shift from Jason Wu's diffusion line Miss Wu—before it's available in stores.

McClatchy - Tribune


file

On the campaign trail in Ohio, she opted for a favorite L'Wren Scott embroidered cardigan simply accessorized with a Miriam Haskell pearl and crystal necklace.

AFP


file

Supporting small, fashion-y designers (and her husband at the first presidential debate) in a gorgeous cobalt blue skirt suit by Preen.

Getty


file

Flouting traditional fashion rules, the First Lady wears a tailored white pantsuit after Labor Day on the Steve Harvey Show. The nation sells out of white pantsuits. Just kidding. For now.

NBC Universal


file

The First Couple charms the pants off Babs and the ladies from The View (oh, wait, where's Elizabeth?). Mrs. O opts for a classic kelly green flared dress and an Azaara necklace.

AFP


file

FLOTUS recycles a pleated georgette one-shouldered Michael Kors gown and changes up the look with a vintage rhinestone belt from New York Vintage.

Getty


file

Air travel chic at its best. Of course, jetting around on Air Force One adds some flair, too.

McClatchy - Tribune


file

The First Lady welcomes the US Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House in a cheerful shift dress by American designer Narciso Rodriguez—accessorized by playful yellow pumps and the President of the United States.

Getty


file

FLOTUS works the prints—this time in a figure flattering patchwork dress by arty Brit designer Duro Olowu.

AFP


file

In a two-toned brocade coat by Peter Som during a moment of silence at the 9/11 memorial.

AFP


file

The First Couple color coordinates on the re-election campaign trail. Mrs. O. in a navy and black blocked Narciso Rodriguez (and Alaia belt) and Mr. O. in a polka dot tie.

Boston Globe


file

The First Lady puts an Alexis Bittar pin on her Democratic blue Ann Taylor dress at the DNC.

Disney ABC TV Group


file

Best dressed family ever! Michelle Obama sets a fine example in a '50s-style Laura Smalls dress. Looks like the girls are inheriting mom's sense.

AFP


file

Looking very ladylike and refined in custom Thom Browne at the DNC.

McClatchy - Tribune


file

The First Lady's electrifying and powerful DNC speech inspired millions—and her Tracy Reese custom dress and off-the-rack (shelf?) J. Crew pumps almost blew up Twitter with what felt like a trillion "Who is she wearing?!" tweets.

Getty Image News


file

Diane Von Furstenburg's iconic wrap dresses perfectly flatter Mrs. O's figure—and a sleeveless one shows off the results of all those push-ups.

AFP


file

FLOTUS chose a ladylike sweetheart neckline and citrus fruity-printed Barbara Tfank Dress for a Kids' "State Dinner" at the White House.

AFP

 


file

Mrs. O opts for a '50s-inspired look—high pony, cropped cardigan and a flared dress from New York Vintage—for Sunday services.

AFP


file

At a campaign stop in Iowa, the First Lady repeats an Asos printed dress—just like us—but accented with her favorite Alaia belt, of course.

AFP


file

During an appearance on the Tonight Show with Olympic medalist Gabby Douglas, the First Lady pairs one of her cool belts with a Bihbu Mohapatra layered and printed dress.

NBC Universal


file

The First Lady represents the U.S. at the Summer Olympics in London. This green and black/white patterned combo is really workin' for her, especially in a breezy top by BCBG. Love the discreet cut-out.

AFP


file

FLOTUS looks flawless in a gold-embroidered design by J. Mendel and gold pointy-toe pumps at Buckingham Palace. Even US Ambassador Louis Susman can't help but sneak a side peek.

Getty Images Entertainment


file

A strong fitness advocate, Michelle Obama hits the soccer, er, football, field in a sporty top and crisp white summer trousers—almost making David Beckham look overdressed.

AFP

 


file

Mastering a high-low (and patriotic) look with a Thakoon fitted and printed blazer over a Zara peplum tank, while giving Team USA a pep talk in London.

Getty Images Entertainment


file

Stunning in white Narciso Rodriguez (and an Alexis Bittar necklace) at the White House. Very appropriate.

Getty Images News


file

Again, the First Lady—just like us! She opts for a floral, pleated top from Zara to go dancing.

McClatchy - Tribune


file

Mrs. O looks inspiring in a Chris Benz dress (repeat) and a vintage bejeweled belt from House of Lavande. Perfect to address a high school class.

Wire Image


file

Turns out fashion is the best way to show your patriotism on the Fourth of July. The First Lady opts for a blue and red striped tank from Black Fleece paired with a wide-pleated white skirt, while the President wears a color appropriate blue polo.

Getty


file

Michelle Obama looked to favorite designer Jason Wu (and that trusty Alaia belt) to attend the signing of the Military Family Licensing Act in Illinois.

McClatchy - Tribune


file

The First Lady shows off a paisley-printed Boy. By Band of Outsiders skirt on her way to board Marine One. Sasha and Malia are so raiding mom's closet in a few years.

AFP


file

On the way to dinner with Israeli President Shimon Peres, the First Lady takes her Michael Kors pleated gown out for a spin. But this time accessorized by a vintage Dior belt and drop earrings by House of Lavande.

AFP

 


file

The current First Lady—in a floral Prabul Gurung dress accented with modernly-matchy silver belt and pointy pumps—joins former First Lady Laura Bush for the official unveiling of the official White House portraits of the Bushes.

Getty Images News


file

Mrs. O loves her patterns and prints, especially bright ones like this pixel-blocked dress by Preen.

AFP


file

Looking very TV-ready for Good Morning America high-low mixing a Talbots skirt and a perforated leather Alaia belt. Michelle Obama has a seriously major belt collection.

Disney ABC TV Group


file

About that belt collection: Check out this gold-hardware detailed Alexander McQueen. Watch out, Barbara Walters is eying it.

Disney ABC TV Group


file

Breathtaking in a periwinkle blue floral Moschino shift on Memorial Day.

AFP


file

We've definitely seen Mrs. O wearing this lovely Tracy Feith dress before, and we can't blame her. It's ladylike perfection, especially with that foliage backdrop.

AFP


file

The First Lady opts for a monochromatic creamy skirt suit by Zac Posen to take the NATO wives to a youth center outing. Again, flawless.

AFP

 


file

If only date night  always looked like this. (Just kidding, they're in Chicago for the 2012 NATO summit). The First Lady looks fresh from the flight in a Rachel Roy Runway to Green stencil skirt.

AFP


file

Along with a pretty major belt collection, Mrs. Obama also has a really good collection of pins and brooches. This Alexis Bittar floral creation softens the structured silhouette of this laser cut dress.

AFP


file

FLOTUS addresses an audience at the White House in a Moschino structured-bow blouse cinched by another Alaia belt. Becks gives an approving grin.

AFP


file

Looking radiant in a yellow-brocade Rachel Roy repeat while greeting kids at a Mother's Day event for military children and families.

AFP


file

Gorgeous, gorgeous in a paisley organza gown by Naeem Kahn and rose gold and sapphire hoops by Carla Amorim at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Getty


file

Mrs. O skillfully mixes up designer faves with an embroidered L'Wren Scott cardie and a lipstick red Michael Kors dress as the President speaks to the troops at Fort Stewart.

AFP


file

And another L'Wren Scott cardie, this time in a near monochrome sweater and pleated skirt ensemble during the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day at the White House.

AFP


file

Mrs. O in her annual (well for two years now) Easter dress—a 2009 Thakoon design—layered under a black cardie clipped with another beautiful brooch. Love Malia's monochrome blues, too.

AFP


file

Is it disrespectful to say the First Lady looks hot at the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards in a metallic houndstooth Wes Gordon blazer and foil washed Helmut Lang skinnies? We're not even noticing that blonde girl on the left.

Getty


file

David Letterman shares a laugh with the First Lady, clad in a geo-blocked Preen pre-Fall 2012 dress and her go-to Alexis Bittar pin.

CBS


file

How you doin'? We think the President is just as into this stunning Marchesa gown (and layered pearls by Tom Binns) as we are.

Getty


file

As they await on the arrival of U.K Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House, President Obama says to Michelle: "I really like you in Zac Posen suits." Okay, that's just what we're thinking.

Bloomberg


file

The Williams sisters aren't the only fashion stars on the tennis courts—check out the First Lady in her L'Wren Scott cardigan and Zero by Maria Cornjeo wide leg pants.

Getty


file

The Obamas on their way to a dinner celebrate the armed forces. Cobalt blue really is her color—especially in this floor-length gown by favorite designer Jason Wu.

AFP


file

Looking appropriately glamorous in a jacquard Peter Som car coat at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C.

Bloomberg


file

Showing off her Jason Wu x Target dress—before the collection hit the stores.

McClatchy-Tribune


file

We can't help it—we love it when the First Lady busts out her dance moves. Especially when she's wearing this Sonia Rykiel heart intarsia sweater.

AFP


file

For an appearance on Jay Leno, Michelle Obama tucked a gold lame Michael Kors crewneck knit into her mint green J. Crew jacquard pencil skirt and belted it with a House of Lavande belt.

NBC Universal


file

The First Lady opts for the proven shade of cobalt in a dress by Barbara Tfank (and Alexis Bittar pin) for the State of the Union address in 2012.

AFP

AFP


file

Looking divine (those arms!) in J. Mendel at the BET Honors 2012.

Film Magic


file

FLOTUS gets a little edgy in a black wool and leather trimmed Alaia jacket for a walk on the South Lawn.

Bloomberg

 


file

The First Family (and uh, Conan O'Brien) during Christmas at the White House in 2011. True to form, Michelle Obama introduced fashion-girl-favorite Cushnie et Ochs to the entire nation with this alluring forest-green gown. (My personal favorite.)

WireImage


file

Mrs. O. stuns in a cobalt foil dress by Rodarte (and her Tom Binns pearls) at the White House Hanukkah celebration.

AFP


file

Her updo and Miguel Ases earrings perfectly accent this organza and tulle cobalt strapless gown by Vera Wang at the Kennedy Center Honors.

Getty


file

The First Lady gets a little Alexa Chung-ish in this white collared fitted black dress by Jason Wu at the Building a Healthier Future summit in D.C.

WireImage


file

FLOTUS hits the NASCAR races in a casual selvedge floral top—by Margiela, naturally.

WireImage


file

At a Disney kids event, the First Lady belts her violet cowl-necked Roksanda Ilincic dress with the skinny Alaia belt.

Disney ABC TV Group


file

This this coral, gold and black Diane Von Furstenberg dress is so color appropriate for a White House Halloween in 2011. Leaving the jacket unbuttoned was the right choice—can't keep those diagonal stripes under wraps.

AFP


file

Mrs. O always looks great in one-shouldered column gowns—like this beautiful magenta design by Doo.Ri. The President checks out her sculpted biceps as they await the arrival of the South Korean President at the White House.

Getty


file

During South Korea's first couple's visit, Mrs. O works her three proven looks in one Chris Benz design: blue, prints and skirt suits.

The Washington Post


file

The First Lady repeats her vibrant Sophie Theallet print dress—this time layered under a boxy cardie—on her way back from Camp David.

AFP


file

POTUS and FLOTUS both shine at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Phoenix Awards. The First Lady repeats her Michael Kors-designed fishtailed and embellished skirt with a Peter Soronen belt. Effortlessly glam.

AFP

 


file

She takes a (very small) risk and wins in this embroidered tea-length strapless dress by Chris Benz at the formal Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 34th Annual Awards Gala.

Getty


file

Looking elegant in a crisp Prabal Gurung x J. Crew bowed top at the 'A Concert For Hope' event, hosted by Washington National Cathedral. Two of her fave designers in one.

Getty


file

Chillin' with the hubs in Martha's Vineyard in a pleated Suno skirt. Man, even her off-hours wardrobe is stellar.

Getty


file

Absolutely breathtaking in ivory Tom Ford and English-appropriate elbow length gloves at Buckingham Palace in 2011. (The President looks like he's having a blast in tails, right?)

AFP


file

Mrs. O. went all-out with the glam gowns for the official US visit to London in May 2011. Here she went with formal black and all-American in an off-the-shoulder Ralph Lauren. Kate who?

AFP


file

Mrs. Obama looking big city chic in a Rachel Roy trench and carrying a Reed Krakoff tote upon the family's return from Latin America. By the way, Malia is looking very New York fashion girl in an military jacket and mixing prints with floral skinny jeans and a striped scarf. Well played, well played.

AFP


file

Even the First Lady of the United States is not immune to the fashion charms of the Olsen twins as she wears a champagne-hued pleated skirt by the Row on The View.

Disney ABC TV Group


file

The President and First Lady give each other the eye at a Cinco de Mayo dinner in 2011. Don't blame him since she's looking especially splended in an arm-baring pleated Laura Smalls gown and that awesome Alaia belt.

Getty


file

Wearing one of her favorite Lanvin pieces (and ours)—a polka dot, gathered collar dress—to a White House performance celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month.

Getty


file

Welcoming guests to a governor's dinner at the White House in warm blues by Peter Som.

Getty


file

The First Lady looks Hollywood regal in a red and black Alexander McQueen ballgown and an updo at a State Dinner for the Chinese President.

AFP


file

Her biz-casual wardrobe for the Chinese president's visit included this coat and graphic-embroidered dress set by Roksanda Ilincic.

Getty


file

Cobalt with sparkles! Michelle Obama chose this layered and corseted one-shoulder gown by Peter Soronen, dazzle-y earrings and a belt by Sutra Designs and jeweled heels from Jimmy Choo to welcome the First Couple of Mexico to the White House in 2010.

The Washington Post


file

On an official state visit to Mexico City, Michelle Obama has the most graceful exit off a plane ever in a beautiful printed Tracy Reese dress.

AFP


file

The First Lady writes in the guest book at the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo wearing posh Lanvin and another pretty pin.

AFP


file

The cut of this captivating gown by Michael Kors totally accentuates the First Lady's buff arms—perfect for waving to the crowds of admirers at the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Awards dinner in 2010.

AFP


file

The First Lady looks crisp and elegant in winter white by Rachel Roy at the January 2010 State of the Union Address.

AFP


file

Absolutely dazzling in gold-embroidered Naeem Kahn for dinner with the Indian Prime Minister in 2009. Mr. O thinks so, too.

AFP


file

The First Lady dresses in color-theme again—opting for a gold confection by Rodarte for a reception during the 121st International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session and XIII Olympic Congress in Copenhagen in 2009.

AFP


file

Just a regular old day at the White House: floral dress by Talbots layered under a Dear Cashmere cardigan and cinched by a Sonia Rykiel belt (those belts ...).

AFP


file

Heading to a night out in NYC—so a sexy (is that okay to say about the First Lady?) ruffly Alaia dress and strappy heels for her and no tie for him.

AFP

 


file

So cute! The President can't take his eyes off his beautiful wife in this sublime crystal encrusted gown by Peter Soronen before a governor's dinner in 2009.

AFP


file

The First Lady hits New York! She chose an amethyst jacket and sheath ensemble by Isaac Mizrahifor the re-opening of a wing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009.

Fairchild Archive


file

She skillfully sweetens an oft-repeated Alaia with a cropped cardigan at the 2009 NATO summit.

Getty


file

Heading out for the first dance with the President of the United States at the 2009 Inaugural Ball in an exquisite chiffon custom-gown by the little-known (at the time) designer Jason Wu. The dress is now on display at the Smithsonian.

The New York Daily News


file

Making history at the Inauguration Parade in a sparkly yellow coat and sheath by Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo, J. Crew gloves (it's cold out in January) and Jimmy Choo pumps.

The Washington Post

 


file

The First Lady-to-be looked classically elegant in Maria Pinto on a post-election White House visit in 2008.

AFP


file

Winning! The election and this waist-cinching victory dress by Narciso Rodriguez.

AFP


FILED UNDER
style
KEYWORDS
style