Michelle Obama will go down in history as one of the most glamorous, fashionable first ladies. She's admired for an unending list of qualities, but her discerning yet risk-taking sartorial sensibilities have not gone unnoticed. Throughout her tenure in the White House, she has held us collectively captivated at every event she's attended, not only for her presence and poise—as well as her unmatched eloquence—but by her bold dress choices that never fail to impress.
Covering Vogue for the third time, Obama gave a must-read exit interview in which she reflects upon her eight years as FLOTUS, as well as the fashion choices that filled them. Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president and one of the Obamas' closest friends, describes the first lady's fashion choices as "brave." Obama disagrees with Jarrett's depiction of her style, saying she doesn't think about it like that. Instead, "It all boils down to comfort level: If I'm going to make you comfortable, then I have to be comfortable first."
How does this translate to Obama choosing her iconic outfits? She says her "first reaction isn't 'Who made this? But 'Let's try it on. What does it look like? Oooh, that's cute. Oh, wow. I never thought of wearing something like this. Let's put a belt on it. I feel gooood in this.'" This approach has certainly served the first lady well, as she's stepped out in an impressive lineup of looks that have made her a fashion icon in her own right. She admits there are definitely designers she loves (her most recent Vogue spread shot by Annie Leibovitz features a few Atelier Versace pieces), but she also takes into consideration how they are as people, if they treat their staff well, if they treat her staff well, if they're young, and if she's able to give them a boost. Once all of those needs are met, starting with comfort and taking into consideration the character of the brand, she then goes on to consider whether or not the outfit is "cute."
Keep scrolling to see Michelle Obama's final Vogue cover as FLOTUS.
Annie Leibovitz / Vogue
Head over to Vogue to read the full interview and cast your vote on Michelle Obama's best looks in the comments.
Opening Image: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue