Michelle Obama is one of the most fashionable first ladies in history. (She also of course graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has spearheaded initiatives to help young people worldwide gain access to education — an extremely cool woman in many ways.)
Now that she has left the White House and won’t as frequently be photographed in show stopping gowns at state dinners and government events, admirers can still glimpse her unique outfits — picks from emerging designers, on-point athleisure-wear, and chic travel looks — as she globe trots and pursues the causes she’s passionate about outside of DC. Here are some of Michelle Obama’s best looks since she left the White House.
Elegant Inauguration Day crimson coat
While she wasn’t fully out of the White House just yet, Michelle Obama ended her White House fashion years with a classic, tailored long red coat on Inauguration Day in January 2017. The (hopefully warm) outerwear and matching long red short-sleeved dress underneath were both from designer Jason Wu.
As Teen Vogue highlighted, this was a statement, as Obama has frequently championed Wu as well as other fashion insiders since she became first lady. She brought the then-26-year-old designer into the national spotlight when she wore one of his gowns to her first Inaugural Ball in 2009, and chose a Jason Wu gown again for the Inaugural Ball in 2013.
Color block maxi
At her first speaking engagement after January’s Inauguration, Obama took the stage at the American Institute of Architects conference in Florida in the same signature style that made her a fashion icon from the time she first emerged in the public eye.
She wore this long, loose color-blocked dress in gray, white, and taupe. As Vogue notes, Obama is “continuing her commitment to promoting the best in homegrown design talent” in this piece from Lafeyette 148, an American label based out of New York.
One-shoulder gown at the Kennedy Center
The formal, one-shoulder royal blue dress that the former first lady wore to the Kennedy Center in May 2017 is classic Michelle Obama. When President Barack Obama received the John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Award, Michelle was by his side in one of her favorite style gowns.
As Yahoo Style notes, she also wore one-shoulder gowns at her first Inaugural Ball in 2009 as well as a number of state dinners during her tenure in the White House. This particular outfit featured one long, flowing, cape-like sleeve and was paired with dangly chandelier earrings in a matching primary blue hue.
In the president’s speech, he lovingly thanked Michelle for her companionship and hard work for the country, saying, “I also want to thank Michelle Obama for after the presidency sticking with me because I think she felt an obligation to the country to stay on. But once her official duties were over, it wasn’t clear. I love my wife. And I’m grateful for her. And I do believe that it was America’s great good fortune to have her as first lady.” And based on this photo from Boston Globe photographer Keith Bedford, he seemed pretty fond of her outfit too.
At MTV’s National College Signing Day event, Obama’s outfit was all about her alma mater: Princeton. She wore a v-neck gray T-shirt emblazoned with the college’s name and tiger mascot. To complete the ultra-casual monochrome look, she wore gray cropped skinny jeans, a comfy, draped gray sweater, gray bracelets, and gray sneaks. And is that even a gray manicure?
This is a hip, everyday look. The kind we don’t usually get to see a first lady wear. But it’s cool to see that Obama’s strong sense of style extends to her less formal appearances too.