Speaking to reporters Monday during a roundtable at the White House for her Let’s Move! campaign, Obama revealed her personal style motto. “I have to wear what I love,” she said. “I have to feel good in it. My day-to-day wardrobe choices are very practical. I’m like, ‘What’s the temperature?’ ‘Am I going to be sitting in the grass?’ ‘Will I be playing with kids?’ ‘Can I sit on the floor?'”
The First Lady explained that her key concerns are generally about her shirts bunching up or not covering enough of her back, because “if I bend over [I’m] worrying about that … embarrassing shot,” she joked.
And though she chooses her casual clothes — H&M, Gap, Talbots, Target (which she wore Monday, above) with a purpose — naturally, she also shops for what she really likes. “It’s like my music,” she explained. “Everything in my closet is something that I love, so that I can make choices based on what makes sense, knowing that I’m going to love whatever it is. I think that tends to be my philosophy.”
Obama said that with the focus off her clothes, she can focus instead on the people she’s with at any given event. “If I’m comfortable in what I have on, that’s second nature, and then all my attention can go to the people in the room that I’m with at the time, and I don’t have to worry about whether something is riding up or whether my feet hurt. I don’t want to waste anxiety on something as limited as clothes.”
However, when it comes time for major galas, the First Lady does think a bit more fashionably. “I try to be thoughtful about spreading the wealth: young designers,” she said. “Mixing things up is important to me.”
But at the end of the day, it’s about the personal impression she’s making on others, and not so much about her looks. “Ultimately, did they walk away feeling good and inspired, and maybe ready to think a little bit differently?” she said. “That’s what I’m hoping to do with the interactions I have.”