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  • Michelle Obama Style: Today’s power dressing muse…


    This week’s 15th Anniversary of FocusOnStyle online, looks back at the First Lady’s timeless and classic chic as an example of modern power dressing. –S.H.

    Michelle Obama Style: Today’s power dressing muse. Everyday style for clean, corporate chic.

    Everyday style for clean, corporate chic

    Dear Sharon:As a corporate executive in a slightly conservative firm, I am always afraid to take fashion risks, yet I still want to look stylish. I usually dress in suits that are starting to bore me. I want to expand my business dress options but not appear as if I am more interested in my clothing than my client’s portfolio. I am aware that it is a tough nut to crack, but I am ready to expand my corporate wardrobe to include anything besides matching suits., online since 1999!I have been taken by Michelle Obama’s style and feel that I can find some comfort with it on a business level. I’m not quite sure about what make’s the First Lady’s style work, but I do find it interesting and business appropriate.

    Please help me decipher a plan to diversify my wardrobe and still appear as a serious professional, both in the office and at corporate events. Thank you in advance for your fashion guidance. — Michelle, My Office Belle (Indianapolis, IN)

    Note: The looks pictured above are not an endorsement, but represent the style of the First Lady. Please take a look at the Chado Ralph Rucci fashion show photos for more.

    Dear Michelle, My Office Belle: I love it, I love it, Iove it… I really love the First Lady’s style! Crummy Beatles parody aside, I think the world is captivated by the new First Lady’s style. Not only because she is chic, but because Michelle Obama’s elegance is real. There is barely a time where Mrs. Obama does not exude a sense of owning her look and having great comfort and ease with what she is wearingŚthat is true style and the new power dressing!

    We are so familiar in seeing celebrities dressed like little dolls by their stylist. While every detail that they are wearing (modeling?) is beautiful, it doesn’t seem to be part of them. Their style is not sincere; it’s the fantasy of a magazine page coming to life. Whereas Michelle Obama is quite authentic in her personal style— that is what draws us to her and her modern clean chic charm! In some rather paradoxical way, the First Lady has become the public role model for the way a modern, sophisticated woman views her wardrobe choices.

    She is a statuesque woman who understands that less is more when it comes to design for her figure. We usually see Mrs. Obama in finely-tailored, figure grazing, lightweight sleeveless dresses to spotlight her strong shoulders and toned arms, further accented by a belt to show off her waist. She sometimes tosses on a cardigan sweater, which creates a softer, more approachable look than a blazer, but just as businesslike. The First Lady is usually spotted wearing low to mid-heeled pumps that create a beautiful leg line and are in balance with her height. This is a classic, striking silhouette that works best on her figure.

    Style is about universals, not particulars.

    Style is about universals, not particulars.

    Whilst it is fun to cookie-cutter copy a certain outfit that you see someone famous wearing, it does nothing for your own personal style. You need to be inspired by your fashion muse. Then, tweak that look to best suit you in way that you own your own unique style, not a carbon copy of someone else. We want you to be inspired that is why a photo of the First Lady does not accompany this story.

    Classic, modern silhouettes withstand the test of time.

    Trendy is great for a day, for dash, but there is an inerrant richness in classic design where only you can tell that something looks beautiful on the wearer, but not exactly who it is by. In a professional atmosphere, you want to stand out, not your label.

    Cleanly cut garments without any fussy details in a silhouette that flatters your unique figure.

    Avoid voluminous fabric or boxy shapes. Everything is streamlined. The fit is impeccable. There is a sense of control in such a simple, yet gorgeous dress– this makes for the new power dressing in modern corporate chic.

    It’s not about the price, it’s about the fit.

    A modern woman is completely comfortable with mixing high and low fashion, as does Mrs. Obama. It’s a real way of dressing which most of us can identify.

    Use color to create strength.

    A solid bold color dress, a pants suit, or merely a vivid color accent on a black dress creates an instant visual impact that’s a style force to be reckoned.

    Open, but never revealing.

    Mrs. Obama shows a bit of skin with a V-neck or scoop neck, bare arms, or bare legs, which give the impression of a sense of openness but not vulnerability. She is never too revealing or overtly closed-up.

    Polished but not stiff hair and natural make-up.

    Finally, gone is the uptight First Lady hair and creamy makeup. We have a modern woman in Mrs. Obama with a face-flattering hairstyle that moves. Yes, she is wearing make-up, but it’s natural not a mask. She is groomed but neither prissy nor made-up, much of how one wants to come across in business.

    Take a risk.

    Don’t feel compelled to stick to one signature look, like a matching jacket and skirt suit everyday. Sameness over time conveys as much dullness to others as it does to you. Think out of your fashion box and experiment, even if it’s only finding more imaginative ways to harmonize what you already own.

    >> READ more about Michelle Obama’s style

    Original Publish Date: Published on: Jan 21, 2009

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