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First lady of fashion: Michelle Obama wows with Inauguration style

January 22, 2013
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Monday marked not only the start of a new term for President Barack Obama, but another four years for fashion fans to enjoy the fantastic wardrobe of his glamorous wife Michelle. And the inauguration celebrations were a chance for Mrs Obama to cement her status as a fashion icon, wowing America – and the world – with her spot-on outfit choices. For the afternoon's swearing-in ceremony, the first lady stepped out wearing a navy Thom Browne coat cut from custom-made jacquard and a coordinating dress. The fabric was specifically developed to mimic the style of a man's silk tie, and the ensemble echoed her husband's discreet blue neckwear.

Thom Browne is best known for his menswear designs, but he often incorporates classic male style aesthetics into a womenswear line. Speaking to the New York Times, he said: "It's one of those moments when I just can't believe that happened." Michelle teamed the outfit with a bejewelled J. Crew belt, a Cathy Waterman necklace and J. Crew pumps, before changing into Reed Krakoff heels. But the best was yet to come. "Some may dispute the quality of our President, but nobody disputes the quality of our First Lady," Barack said in an adorable introduction of his "date" at the evening's inaugural ball. And the 49-year-old was the picture of grace and elegance as she took to the stage in a patriotic red chiffon and velvet gown that highlighted her shoulders with its halterneck line. The stunning creation was designed by Jason Wu, the New York-based, Taiwanese-born designer that she catapulted into a household name when she wore his ivory gown for the Inauguration ball four years ago. Jason was clearly over the moon about Michelle choosing one of his designs for a second time, and he took to Twitter to share his excitement, tweeting: "#inshock!!!" Her daughters, meanwhile, looked pretty and preppy in lilac and violet, proving they are following in their mother's fashion forward footsteps. Malia, 14, wore all J.Crew, while her little sister Sasha, 11, wore Kate Spade.

Fashion critics were quick to praise Michelle's outfit choices. And J. Crew, a label Michelle has frequently championed during her time as first lady, spoke of her sartorial prowess. "The First Lady has changed the landscape of American fashion by paving her own way, mixing and matching custom-made clothes with off-the-rack pieces," the brand's President Jenna Lyons told the Daily News. "She does so with elegance and a beautiful sense of style." Meanwhile, Kathleen Graddy, curator of the First Ladies Collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where Michelle's first inauguration dress is now a permanent fixture, also had kind words on the first lady's fashion. "What has become part of the first lady's job is to act as a champion of American fashion," she said. "Michelle Obama does a laudable job of showcasing a variety of different designers. It's certainly a place where the nation, and the world, gets to see the work of our designers and the fashion industry."

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