There is only one MICHELLE OBAMA.
She radiates confidence and intellect, and whether she is wearing a custom evening gown by Naeem Khan or an argyle sweater, pencil skirt and ballet flats, many women in America, and indeed around the world feel that she is just like them. The sentiment I hear most often is that “Michelle is authentic and real”.
So, what is it about Michelle that makes her so relatable?
From my perspective, there are too many pre-conceived notions about who a first lady should be and antiquated ideas about what a first lady should represent, so there was a crack in the window, an opportunity, to redefine the position of first lady for the 21st century. And if anyone could raise that window and break with traditional paradigms, it would be Michelle Obama because her mere presence in the White House is a complete 360º from the traditional status quo.
From talking with women of Michelle’s generation, I realized they all respect her sense of style because they believe that Michelle is not trying to be a fashion icon, but rather just being Michelle. That’s a huge complement for African American women who have moved forward in ways that their mothers and grandmothers could only imagine. And it’s such a breath of fresh air for today’s modern woman to bare witness to a first lady who projects optimism while confidently navigating the various roles she plays in her life.
Much has been and will continue to be written about Michelle, and the broader sense of her legacy and impact on history has yet to be determined, but just two years into her husband’s presidency and we can imagine that her cultural and social impact will be sustaining. That’s why I was over the moon when I was given the opportunity to interview Kate Betts for her new book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style.
In Everyday Icon, Kate addresses why Michelle’s carriage and style matters both culturally and historically, and how the new precedents that Michelle is setting in her role as first lady are influencing women in America and around the world.
Tomorrow: My full interview with Kate Betts, until then, here is Kate discussing Everyday Icon.
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