December 22nd, 2008
10:08 AM ET
14 years ago

Michelle Obama's urban chic heads to D.C.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Future first lady Michelle Obama with one of her favorite designers, Maria Pinto."] CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Michelle Obama turned the campaign trail into a runway this year, sporting eye-catching colors and feminine cuts that sent fashion bloggers buzzing.

As she coupled chic designer splurges with off-the-rack goodies from J. Crew, H&M, White House/Black Market and Target, fashion spectators say her ability to make a strong statement on a budget sends an important message during tough economic times.

Watch: Michelle Obama, First Lady fashion icon?

"Michelle Obama can't be too over the top; she has to be recession chic all the way," style expert Mary Alice Stephenson said. In a soured economy, the choices she made throughout the campaign show that "she gets it," Stephenson said.

And it's inspiring American women to emulate her style.

Full story

Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. shay

    I like her pick of clothes and fashion. She is slim, tall, beautiful and a smart woman. I like the idea that she is versatile and go with the flow of things. Whether it is just an average day are flomboyant she has it put together. Simple accessories that doesn't cost a lot that she apply brings it all out.

    I am hoping that some of her picks will be in patterns such as Butterick and McCall for those who are a good seamstress. It would be fun then. My daughter was looking for some material similiar to the dress she had on the View to make because she thought it was very pretty and the flower on her shoulder brought the dress out even more.

    My daughter says Michelle brings more to the table for her. She has really inspired her to work on showing her legs more and cover up. She finally gets it. You can be sexy and smart without revealing anything.

    December 22, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. mary

    Considering most of us are struggling to put food on the table and trying to keep our homes.

    The last thing we care about is a MILLIONAIRES choice of wardrobe.

    There are more important things in life worth writing about.....too bad you choose to focus on the FAKE and SHALLOW aspects.

    December 22, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  3. Sheri

    Michelle is quite a lady, one who I admire as an AA younglady myself

    December 22, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. View from the North

    One of the dresses she wore during the campaign cost $3,000. Obviously a woman of the people.

    December 22, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Rick in WA

    Time to put our disagreements behind us now the Barky is in? Not on your life. Vigilance is required not more than ever. Dissent is not as much fun when the shoe is on the other foot, is it?

    December 22, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. lonnette33

    Some of her outfits are OK, but most are ridiculous. Like that red and black dress she wore on election night. Jackie Onasis Michelle is not.

    December 22, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. pam Eugene OR

    Mike @ 11:21
    Turn off Rush and Hannity. That was a terrible rumor started by them Michelle never said "whitey" on their imaginary tape they could never produce.It is so scary how some of you sore losers are so ready to believe what ever these right wing entertainers dream up. Please show all of us your verified reference (proof) where Michelle said "whitey". You can't, can you?It was an outright lie like most of the garbage these talk jocks make up.
    Michelle uses common sense in dressing herself and her children from J Crew, Target and many stores all of us can afford. I don't like everything she wears but it isn't any of my business as she spends her own money and not the taxpayers.
    I look forward to having this down to earth real American family in our White House for the next eight year.

    December 22, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Mari



    December 22, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Cindy Rolth

    Why not focus on her brains and capabilities. How refreshing to have 2 smart, caring and well spoken people in the White House instead of the bumbling buffoon of the soon to be past.

    December 22, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. California Gold

    I consider Mrs. Obama to be an inspiring American woman to emulate but not because of her clothing. She is an involved mother, wife and career woman who worked hard to earn a beautiful education. That is what makes an inspiring American woman.

    December 22, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |


    December 22, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. obama-mama

    Why don't you jealous folks get off the Obamas backs....While most of you are probably waiting for handouts, they work hard for what they have. I am very proud of them......A lot of people are struggling this Holiday season but it's not their fault. The Republican lynch mob really need to re-evaluate their lives and hearts....So much hate....

    December 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Lauren the Designer

    Noah...leave the talk of fashion to the professionals. What you think is ridiculous is actually very in season and popular this year.

    Michelle Obama has worn some daring ensembles, it's true, but she has worn them well. I think she has excellent fashion sense and also dresses in a way that is affordable to the public at large.

    I'm excited to have such a strong, smart and stylish woman in the White House!

    December 22, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. Marc

    Billy-bayou, agreed.

    December 22, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. Dave, Illinois

    Rus, you might want to brush up on your history and on your grammer as well. Your comment "Most white people ripped the benfit of slavery and slaved based economy for last hundred years" is so inaccurate, I don't know where to begin. Very few people could afford owning slaves. Most farmers and small businesses relied on their own labor. Slavery was abolished through a proclamation by a Republican president in 1863 and the defeat of Confederate forces in 1865. Most white people did not benefit from slavery. Many white people died in the Civil War which was partially started by the politics of slavery.

    December 22, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. yellow dog democrat

    To : Mike December 22nd, 2008 11:21 am ET, and many others that are so snobbish and hateful....look in the mirror – I know sad isn't it - that image you see is called "clueless" – don't say anything about anyone you couldn't say to your mother or sister or wife or girlfriend – everyone has feelings and you should consider that before you say such nasty things – if you have ever been bullied you might know what I mean!

    December 22, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Robin

    She reminds me of a Female Black Panther.

    Any mother that would allow her young daughter's to sit and listen to Rev. Wright preach hatred should be charged with child abuse.

    December 22, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. gl, Pittsburgh

    Thank God for President Elect Obama. If John McCain would have won, the American people would have had to deal with the Sara Palin mess with her dauther's boyfriend's mother being arrested. John McCain did a very bad job vetting Sara Palin. She has been nothing but one bad new after another. The whole world would be still laughing at us if John McCain would have won. Thanks for all the American people that love America and proved it by electing Obama for our next president.

    December 22, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. IMO - Michigan

    Womack Boston, MA

    Hey Womack, the complaints were about Palin getting her wardrobe on the people's dime.

    And while Michelle wears designer clothes, they in no way compare to the $100,000 outfits that McCains wife adorns.

    Hey CNN, you going to post this or do I have to throw in some racist or sexist crap. I've noticed that while you leave out many who actually address the story, you repeatedly put in your favorites idiots. Sometimes you see them post two and three times in a single thread.

    December 22, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Mabby, ND

    I DO NOT LIKE THIS DESIGNER. Her clothers are so sleezy. Michelle does not have the bust line for all those form fitting clothes. She needs a jacket (not a sweater). This Pinto lady is not good to me, she dresses the soon to be first lady in cheap clothes.

    I hope Pinto is not Michelle's choice for the inaugural ball gown. There are so many other good designers out there.

    December 22, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. gl, Pittsburgh

    Cindy McCain dress like the walking living dead.

    December 22, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. gl, Pittsburgh

    Robin – Hater Hater and Hater. Sara Palin was a BIG JOKE with a Drug dealer in the family.

    December 22, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. John from California

    Hey Michelle... we love you no matter what design you are wearing.... we just love you and your husband and the daughters...

    December 22, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. mw

    Ignorant billy-bayou December 22nd, 2008 10:47 am ET

    You really have issues. You should take your back woods butt back to where ever you came from. Who the heck is a "Negro"? I know what you really wanted to say. You are one of those who probably smile in the face of a 'Negro' then go home and talk crap about them and what you THINK they've stolen from you and your peeps. Why don't you get with the program and get rid of your Hateful attitude. Crazy idiots like you give us American's...that's right American's a bad name. If you don't like the mixture here in the states...please take your butt to another country (if you can find one) where there is only one kind of people! We don't need that type of attitude here!!!

    December 22, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Jackie in Dallas

    One of the unspoken roles of the First Lady is to further the American fashion industry. Our future First Lady does just that. She knows she doesn't have to have fashion icon clothes to BE a fashion icon. I don't always agree with what she wears, but 1) she always looks appropriate, 2) she dresses the girls in age-appropriate clothes, and 3) she wears American when she can (have you tried to BJY American lately? It's downright HARD!). No, I don't think she will be another Jacqueline Kennedy, because the role and the visibility of the First Lady has changed a lot since the 1960s, due, in part, to what Jackie did. I DO think, however, that she brings a different sensibility to her role as First Lady.

    By the way, want to know why this is important? Because the American Fashion industry is ONE industry that's not asking for a bailout! They face huge, worldwide competition constantly, so can't afford to have bad business practices and pork. It also makes billions (yes BILLIONS) of dollars for the U.S. economy. Any industry that is competing globally, and still making billions that benefit our economy is NEWS, and our future First Lady will be our best advertising!

    December 22, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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