If a style code exists for “First Lady formal attire,” Michelle Obama isn’t afraid to break it. The first lady follows her own sartorial rules (cool prints, fun colors, unique necklines … we could keep going), and frequently captivates the country (and social media!) with her unique choices. So in honor of her elegant gown at Tuesday’s black-tie affair (more on that in a sec), we rounded up some of her most memorable state dinner looks.
For her first state dinner in 2009, FLOTUS welcomed the Indian prime minister while wearing a custom champagne strapless Naeem Khan gown covered in a silver sequin floral design. She paired the look with mega drop earrings and a wrist full of bangles. (And we understood why her arms have their own Twitter account.) In 2010, to host the president of Mexico, Obama went for shimmer again, selecting an electric blue gown (she’s not afraid of color!) by New York designer Peter Soronen. A crystal-studded belt and voluminous curls completed the look.
For a dinner in honor of the president of China in 2011, she made her boldest statement yet, wearing a voluminous Alexander McQueen gown with an abstract floral print and asymmetrical neckline, plus Kimberly McDonald earrings. She followed that with a navy off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown and Tom Binns statement necklace to greet the British prime minister at the White House’s 2012 dinner.
Finally, at last night’s dinner in honor of the French president Obama made our jaws hit the floor once again in a Carolina Herrera gown featuring a sheer black beaded top over a “liberty blue” corset and a full inverted-pleat skirt. She completed the look with a black velvet belt and Sutra jewels. Between the somewhat retro ballgown silhouette and her full, classic blowout — dare we say she might be taking a page right out of that First Lady style manual?
We want to know: Which gown is your favorite? Vote in our poll below, and share any other thoughts in the comments!