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Michelle Obama Reveals She Paid For All Her Clothing And Accessories As First Lady

caitlyn.clancey 30 Sep 2019

Remember those days when the Obamas were in the White House and they were like America's mom and dad and everything just sort of made sense in the world? Yeah, me neither.

As hard as it is to imagine, there was once a time when Trump was just a yellow corn husk-haired celebrity who sometimes appeared in tabloids and sometimes appeared on your television but mostly had no major impact on your day-to-day life. And now he's the President of the United States. Suffice it to say, things have changed.

But let's not think about that.

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Instead, let's all think about the stunning Michelle Obama and her impeccable style that made her such a fashion-forward first lady.

Why dwell on what we can't change, right? I'm not crying , you're crying.

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Whenever she stepped outside, Michelle was dressed to impress, and impress us she certainly did.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_Obama_and_Michelle_Obama_in_inaugural_parade_01-21-13.jpg

Her enviable wardrobe and sense of style has extended far past her husband's two-term stint in the White House. Although she's tragically no longer the first lady, she's still out here wowing us with her flawless looks.

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The mother-of-two has opened up about her first lady style strategy and how it came to be.

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She recently shared an except from her upcoming memoir, "Becoming" with Elle magazine where she goes in-depth into how she made her White House style one of the country's most memorable.

And according to the former first lady, that style all came right from her own pocket.

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She reflected on her style strategy and said that she realized something about fashion during Barack's presidential campaign.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelle_Obama_(30343162332).jpg

"Sometime during Barack’s campaign, people began paying attention to my clothes," Michelle wrote. "Or at least the media paid attention, which provoked all manner of commentary across the internet."

She continued, "My pearls, my belts, my cardigans, my off-the-rack dresses from J. Crew, my apparently brave choice of white for an inaugural gown—all seemed to trigger a slew of opinions and instant feedback."

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She said she noticed people would sooner pay attention to what she was wearing rather than what she was saying.

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As she wrote, she tried to take this fixation on her wardrobe and "reframe it as an opportunity to learn, to use what power I could find inside a situation I'd never have chosen for myself."

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The former first lady chose to change her perspective.

Instagram | @michelleobama

Instead of being upset that she was appearing in magazines for her outfits rather than her philanthropy, Michelle said she hoped people flipping through the glossy pages to admire her clothes would also take notice of what she was doing and who she was with while she was wearing such spectacular pieces.

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While on the subject of her clothes, Michelle said she often paid for her own outfits.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:First_Lady_Michelle_Obama_announces_the_Best_Picture_Oscar_to_Argo.jpg

“I paid for all my own clothes and accessories—with the exception of some items like the couture-level gowns I wore to formal events, which were lent to me by the designers and would later be donated to the National Archives, thus adhering to White House ethics guidelines,” she wrote.

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Of course, this was no small investment.

Instagram | @michelleobama

Her wardrobe consisted of designer labels ranging from J. Crew to Thakoon and Narciso Rodriguez. As Michelle said, she spent "more money than I’d spent on clothing ever before."

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She also admitted she tried to be "unpredictable" with her fashion choices.

Giphy | The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

This, she explained, was in an effort to try and "prevent anyone from ascribing any sort of message to what I wore."

"It was a thin line to walk. I was supposed to stand out without overshadowing others, to blend in but not fade away."

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So she kept things interesting and definitely kept the people of the world guessing with her unique outfits.

Wikimedia | https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michelle_Obama_on_her_49th_birthday_in_2013.jpg

She wrote, "I'd match a Michael Kors skirt with a T-shirt from Gap. I wore something from Target one day and Diane von Furstenberg the next."

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"I wanted to draw attention to and celebrate American designers, especially those who were less established."

Instagram | @michelleobama

"For me," she said, "my choices were simply a way to use my curious relationship with the public gaze to boost a diverse set of up-and-comers."

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Of course, Michelle also gives plenty of credit for her incredible style to her equally incredible stylist, Meredith Koop.

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Together, the two women managed to piece together a stunning, unpredictable, and conversation-igniting wardrobe that kept both the curious and the critical satisfied throughout the eight years Michelle was first lady.

Certainly not an easy, nor a cheap feat, but a successful one nonetheless.

h/t: Elle, VICE

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