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Michelle Obama's Top Style Moments Prove She Changed The FLOTUS Fashion Game

Michelle Obama has done a lot for America throughout her eight years as first lady.

She served as a moving speaker, moral compass and empathizer. She, along with Barack, have been a glowing example of a loving marriage built on teamwork. She's been a mother and motivator for health. She has been the face of our country abroad and promoted the education of girls around the globe.

And, she's also been a style icon.

Like first ladies before her, Obama has swayed fashion trends and inspired millions with jaw-dropping style moments. Obama has been praised for the politics behind her fashion, as much as for the styles themselves.

Arguably, her most memorable style moments have been from state dinners, where she has the amicable tendency to pair a designer with the country she and Barack are dining with on that occasion.

So when your jaw dropped at her Versace dress this fall, it was more than just a sparkly, curve-hugging masterpiece.

michelle obama, pictured with barack obama, wears versace for state dinner


She wore this glittering piece to her final state dinner.

It was with — have you guessed yet? — Italy, home of Versace.

Her first state dinner was with India in 2009.

michelle obama, pictured with barack obama, wears Naeem Khan for a state dinner with india in 2009


She wore another glittery gown — this time by Naeem Khan, who was born in India.

Michelle wore a purple Doo.Ri gown to a 2011 state dinner with South Korea.

michelle obama wears a purple doo.ri to a state dinner with South Korea, where she is pictured with Barack Obama and South Korean leaders.


Designer Doo-Ri Chung is Korean-American.

And then there were the state dinners with China…

Obama brought it twice.

In 2011, she caused a stir by wearing this seriously astounding Alexander McQueen gown.

The gown was “controversial” because it wasn't made by a foreign designer. (She also wears a lot of designers who are immigrants or children of).

michelle obama, pictured with barack obama, wears a red alexander mcqueen to a state dinner


Obama again had fashion heads rolling at a state dinner with China in 2015.

michelle obama wears black vera wang dress while standing next to barack obama who has his thumb up


Barack couldn't stop staring as Michelle wore Vera Wang (back to Americans).

Though one of Michelle's final formalwear looks was not from a state dinner, it was certainly a stunner.

michelle obama and barack obama at the kennedy center honors


She wore this Gucci number at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2016.

Meanwhile, both of her inauguration looks were memorable.

She wore Jason Wu in 2009, which is now on view at the Smithsonian.

She wore Jason Wu again in 2013.

Obama doesn't just make style happen in gorgeous gowns.

She's been credited with saving cardigans, which she employs quite frequently.

michelle obama at easter in 2012


She's a big fan of J. Crew cardigans and caused them to sell out in 2009.

an ad for michelle obama j. crew outfit

J. Crew

J. Crew still advertises the outfit she wore in Vogue.

Michelle is not afraid to get her clothes dirty.

michelle obama planting in a garden with children and other people


Obama is known to work in her garden at the White House while wearing Converse sneakers.

She knows you've got to have room to move in your outfits.

michelle obama dances


She really, really likes that yellow. She's worn it in several iterations over the years.

Her daytime looks seem carefree and bright — and always appropriate.

She, along with Sasha and Malia — who have become budding fashionistas themselves — stepped off Air Force One in Milan in 2015 looking all kinds of refreshed for the fashionable city.

michelle obama steps off air force one in milan with barack, sasha and malia.


She channeled Marilyn Monroe for Independence Day in 2014.

barack and michelle obama on independence day in 2014. she is wearing a white marilyn monroe-like dress


She paired light capris with a sensible blouse on a somber visit with Barack.

barack and michelle obama at a slave port in senegal


They visited a slave port in Senegal during a trip to Africa in 2013, noting their ancestral history as well as that of America.

Michelle has gone through a handful of hair changes over the years as well, including one dip into bang territory.

We've all been there, MObama.

michelle obama at the 2013 inauguration with bangs and a blue dress and purple gloves.


But one of the most beloved — and controversial — aspects of Michelle Obama's looks are her arms.

the official portrait of michelle obama in 2009


In 2009, she took her first official portrait as first lady.

And lame people around the country could only focus on the fact that she used her right to bare arms.

Michelle knows what's up. If you've got it, flaunt it.

michelle obama with barack in cuba in 2016 wearing a floral dress.


Obama's looks have always been bold, while staying modestly sensible. She conveys messages with the designers she wears and gives clever nods to political moments.

We will miss Michelle's iconic fashion moments — especially since her designer Sophie Theallet is refusing to dress the Trumps — but at least we know we haven't seen the last of her and her incredible sense of style.

Citations: Here's the First Designer to Say She Won't Dress Melania Trump (The Cut), Obama's Choice to Bare Arms Causes Uproar (ABC News), Mrs. Obama Saves The Cardigan: 'The Obama Effect' In Fashion (NPR), Michelle Obama's inaugural gown goes to Smithsonian — Jason Wu too (text here) (Los Angeles Times), MICHELLE OBAMA RESPONDS TO MCQUEEN CONTROVERSY (Fashonista)

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Alexandra Svokos


Alexandra is the Senior News Editor at Elite Daily. She previously worked at HuffPost and has been published in Vox, Glamour, Refinery 29, Mic, Cosmopolitan and Quartz. Find her on Twitter / FB @asvokos and at tinyletter.com/asvokos
Alexandra is the Senior News Editor at Elite Daily. She previously worked at HuffPost and has been published in Vox, Glamour, Refinery 29, Mic, Cosmopolitan and Quartz. Find her on Twitter / FB @asvokos and at tinyletter.com/asvokos

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