First Lady makes the cover of Vogue

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Michelle Obama is only the second First Lady to ever reach the cover of Vogue.

Obama in VogueCan’t let the day go by without mention of Michelle Obama making the cover of US Vogue.

She’s only the second First Lady to make it to the cover – the first being fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton just over a decade ago. This is most probably due not so particularly to her looks or fashion sense (sound as they are) as to Anna Wintour’s credentials as a die-hard liberal. Whatever Laura Bush’s personal style, and in most ways I think she’s done a difficult job creditably, Wintour was never going to feature her more than she had to because of her political views. 

Still, back to Ms Obama and her personal style, which is becoming known as a modern-day example of ease and practicality. Famously favouring daywear from Gap and J Crew like many fellow Americans (the tweed skirt and peach tops in the photo below are from J Crew), her evening and formalwear outfits seem to be chosen largely with the help of a retailer, Ikram Goldman, who prefers to stay out of the spotlight. Goldman’s role in Obama’s wardrobe is an interesting but slightly controversial one, and she certainly seems to act as a third party, if not a stylist, between the First Lady and the designers who actually dress her but appear rarely to have met her. 

ObamaThe Vogue interview is with Andre Leon Talley, who helped raise money for the Obama’s campaign, and in it, Obama says simply: "I love clothes. First and foremost, I wear what I love." 

Certainly, she always seems comfortable and at ease with herself, whatever her clothes, and she seems quite unrepentant when people don’t like them, pointing out that you can’t please everyone all of the time. 

Talley makes an astute comment that he often can’t remember what Obama was wearing on a particular occasion, but what he does remember is her conversation, alertness, engagement and personality. This, after all, is the aim of clothes, according to Chanel, who knew a thing or two.

"Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman," is one saying attributed to her (probably a dig at her rival Schiaparelli, whose clothes were much more in-your-face). She also said: "Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury," – a saying that I suspect Obama might heartily agree with.

Another Chanel comment with which Obama might concur is that the ‘best’ colour is the colour that suits you, and it’s nice to have a First Lady who isn’t afraid of colour. Obama’s now famous for her reds, magentas, blues and golds, and the magenta dress on the cover is by Jason Wu, who made the white evening gown she wore on inauguration night. 

Michelle Obama is a poster child for all of us over 40, who although we might lack her good looks and height can at least be inspired by her confident and relaxed appearance and her sense that clothes are there to be worn and to ease your way through your life.

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