Move over, Jackie Kennedy, there’s a new style icon in the White House. Kate Betts’ Everyday Icon takes an in-depth look at Michelle Obama’s impeccable sense of style, from her student days at Princeton to her strolls across the White House lawn with Bo. There’s plenty to learn from a First Lady who shops at J. Crew but isn’t “afraid to admit to a passion for handbags, manicures, and designer belts.” Kirkus has culled 10 style tips inspired by Michelle Obama that every woman should know.


Adopt a signature look: “Michelle Obama made floral prints one of her most recognizable signatures…They certainly make a feminine statement, but they also make a friendly statement—setting her apart while softening her image.”

Put a spin on tradition: “There was absolutely nothing individualistic about pearls until Mrs. Obama came along and gave the conservative look a twist. During the campaign, she wore Gobstopper-size pearls—a kind of funky wink at the tradition-bound role she was about to embrace.”

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“Keep it real. Not for nothing has the budget-conscious First Lady chosen looks by mass-market retailers like H&M and Target…It’s a recession, so let’s dress the part.”

Be a girly girl. “With her cardigans and funky belts and breezy skirts Michelle has given professional women the license to look feminine. She is defining the dress code for the ‘you can’t have it all’ generation, a generation that wants to be paid as much as men, and have the same opportunities as men, but doesn’t want to dress like them.”

Invest in a cardigan: “Michelle Obama has made the cardigan her signature, even for formal occasions. On her first official trip to London in April 2009 she wore a beaded ivory J. Crew cardigan and on the eve of the inauguration she wore a similar style in chartreuse to the Kids Concert.”

“Look chic even in the vegetable garden…With her chunky sweater and her cool Jimmy Choo boots, [Michelle Obama] seemed determined to keep the style quotient up even while digging up dirt.”

“Never be afraid to wear color, but save black for those eternal moments.”

Be a role model: “In paying careful attention to her appearance, she is acknowledging how much it matters. She is showing women—all women—how to take care of themselves, how to improve themselves, how to make their lives better.”

“Create surprises. From the kooky Junya Watanabe cardigan on her first official trip to London to the controversial “lava lamp” dress on election night, Michelle Obama is not afraid to have fun with fashion.”

“The First Lady’s new what-to-wear etiquette says: Follow your heart. Go with your instincts. Have the courage of your convictions. Don’t be buffaloed by skinny fashion editors with their lists of dos and don’ts. Wear what you love.”


Pub info:

Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style

Kate Betts

Potter / Feb. 8, 2011 / 9780307591432 / $35.00