Style Evolution: Michelle Obama

    FIT FOR A QUEEN?
    For her visit with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, Michelle Obama wore a black-and-white Isabel Toledo dress, an Azzedine Alaia cardigan, and pearls.

    John Stillwell, WPA Pool/Getty Images

    The Obama's first Easter egg roll on the White House lawn drew a record crowd. For the casual affair, mama Obama looked ready for spring in cropped light blue pants and a kelly green top with a sensible navy jacket.

    Ron Edmonds, AP

    Stepping out for church services with the President on Easter Sunday, Mrs. Obama wears a pretty floral frock from Peter Soronen accentuated with her go-to accessory, a double strand of pearls.

    Aude Guerrucci, AFP/Getty Images

    SILK BEAUTY
    The First Lady debuted her spring wardrobe at the G20 Summit in London, pairing classic styles with light, airy brights. In Germany, Mrs. Obama wore a custom Thakoon floral silk jacquard dress with black kitten heels.

    Christof Stache, AP

    LBD PRETTY
    The First Lady poses on the red carpet at the NATO Summit in a black Azzedine Alaia dress full skirt dress.

    Getty Images

    FIRST LADIES OF FASHION
    Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy show off their common style connection in bow-collared coats (Michelle in Thakoon, Carla in Dior) at the NATO Summit Arrival Ceremony in France.

    Charles Dharapak, AP

    TEAL-RRIFIC!
    Michelle Obama is embracing the exuberance of spring, brightening up her wardrobe with edgier ensembles, like this asymmetrical, chocolate and turquoise argyle Junya Watanbe cardigan, worn over a teal full-skirted Jason Wu dress.

    Joel Ryan, WPA Pool/Getty Images

    FIRST LADY FLAIR
    Michelle poses pretty on Downing Street in a J. Crew ivory beaded cardigan and mint green skirt.

    Leon Neal, WPA POOL/Getty Images

    OFF TO MEET THE QUEEN
    Michelle channels Jackie-O in this satin Jason Wu coat with matching clutch and heels.

    Stefan Rousseau, WPA Pool/Getty Images

    CHEERY-O!
    Michelle makes a bright English entrance in a chartreuse Jason Wu dress and Michael Kors black coat cinched at the waist with a Azzedine Alaia belt.

    Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP



This week Michelle Obama style watch took a hit (gasp!) when designer Arnold Scassi told Women's Wear Daily that, "obviously, she doesn't have the right advice at this moment." The comment was a not-so-subtle swipe at Ikram Goldman, who has been acting as Mrs. Obama's fashion consigliere and echoed sentiments recently expressed by Oscar de la Renta and Vera Wang who have also gone on record to criticize our First Lady's style choices. "As [the wife of] the head of the most important country in the world, you must dress at some points according to protocol," Scassi miffed. "You don't have to be conventional."

Conventional is hardly what we would call Jason Wu's one-shouldered goddess gown that Obama selected for inauguration night. Pretty? Youthful? Effervescent? Yes. But conventional no. (And didn't Nancy Reagan wear a similar version by James Galanos to her husband's festive evening in 1981?) As if wearing a frock by a young industry up-and-comer wasn't offensive enough, the sartorial feathers of both stately designers were really ruffled by Obama's decision to wear an Azzedine Alaia cardigan to meet Queen Elizabeth earlier this month. De la Renta, who is always impeccable and charming, even went as far as to tell WWD, "you don't...go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater.'"

Perhaps the notion of letting go is too much for certain captains of industry. Fashion historians will recount that Scassi and de la Renta have had tenure as the go-to designers for presidential wives up until now. The former's reign began with the Eisenhower administration and lasted all the way through to the recently departed Mrs. Bush, while the latter also created garments for Jackie Kennedy, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and both of the Bush women during their stay in the White House.

Egos aside, change was the theme of the election after all, and apparently that didn't just stop with the President's own cabinet.