Kelly Ripa Wears 'Freedom' Bomber Jacket with One Day Left as Michael Strahan's Co-Host

Is she trying to send a message?

The old saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” but in Kelly Ripa‘s case, it looks like she’s trying to send a message with her off-duty style. The star was photographed leaving her N.Y.C. apartment on Thursday (the day before her Live! co-host Michael Strahan’s departure) wearing a white-and-red bomber jacket with the word “Freedom” emblazoned on the back.

Kelly Ripa Freedom Bomber Jacket NYC

GC Images; Inset: INF Photo

Ripa, who is opening up only to PEOPLE in an exclusive interview on how she really feels about Michael Strahan’s departure from Live!, paired her sold-out $595 Isabel Marant Ètoile “Freedom” bomber jacket with jeans and ankle booties, for a laid-back look as she prepares for Strahan’s final sendoff on Friday.

And it’s not the first time Ripa’s appearance sparked speculation since Strahan’s announcement he was quitting Live! for Good Morning America. Last month after Strahan dropped the bombshell with very little warning to his co-host, Ripa was seen leaving her apartment with a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath — the subhead on the cover reads: “Underdogs, misfits and the art of battling giants.”

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Ripa has since shared that the whole situation sparked an important conversation about “respect” in the workplace. She also tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that the hunt for her next co-host is well underway, with Jimmy Kimmel starring alongside her on Monday’s show. (Strahan’s farewell episode is Friday, May 13. )

“You want somebody working there who’s comfortable working there. That’s how you figure – it’s like a puzzle,” Ripa tells PEOPLE. “It’s very much like an equation, an algorithm. Let’s see, if we put somebody here and somebody there, and, ‘Oh, this guy really likes to talk about this,’ or, ‘This guy’s really good here,’ or, ‘This lady is amazing,’ or, ‘She was great last time, let’s give her another shot.’ ”

She also concludes that Live! with Kelly is not an option. “I like having a partner,” Ripa says. “I don’t think it works otherwise. I need someone sitting next to me.”

To read the full interview with Kelly Ripa, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Do you think Ripa’s trying to send a message with her jacket? Share below.

–Brittany Talarico

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