Michelle Obama Reveals Her Fashion Motto

10/18/2011 at 06:00 PM ET

Miss Piggy InStyleCarolyn Kaster/AP

First Lady Michelle Obama may be a major fashion plate, but she’s not choosing her daily looks based on labels — it’s all about practicality.

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.”

–Kate Hogan

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Showing 41 comments

alicia on

She is beautiful! I love her fashion choices. As for the reader who said her arms are flabby, are you serious? Her toned arms are one of the things people constantly comment on! I don’t think anything she has worn has been inappropriate!

Kate on

Such funny comments! I really am a very small size, I’m also 50 yrs. old, and am not too interested in “bragging” about my size. Wish bigger, but whatever. Anyway,I have seen the sizes in Target, and many times have tried things on. Their small sizes really ARE pretty big, too much for me to be comfortable.

Janice on

Suzy Diamond. I sympathize with you about losing a job after 30 years but I find it completely hard to believe that there is no job for you…it may not be your dream job but anything is better than nothing. You seem very bitter. Maybe you could redirect some of that anger into finding a job and perhaps try to be positive because nobody wants to hire a cranky pants.

Shedidnt@gmail.com on

Very becoming for a first lady! Elegant- NO! Becoming- as in cheapening the office- YES!

hink66 on

I am so tired of hearing about Mrs. Obama and her great sense of style. She looks good in the above picture, but when she insists on wearing a belt (as she often does)she looks downright ridiculous. Breaks her in half and does not accentuate her best features. I’ve seen pics where she looks very attractive and other times when she looks a bit frumpy.

VR on

Natalie, I believe you as I saw pictures of Mrs. Obama shopping at a Target store..no doubt she picked up the dress there. Suzy Diamon..LOL you cracked me up! If it weren’t so funny it would be sad…I hear you.

Barry on

Big Mama’s fashion motto is: Make it large enough to cover all this junk in my trunk, expensive and bill the taxpayers.

rhinomidget on

The woman is total fashion train wreck!

Guest on

Who cares what she wears! With the economy in the shambles it is in, the last thing she should be talking about is what she wears and where she buys it! Try explaining why your husband is the poorest president this country has seen in decades!!

sahari on

I applaud her practical approach. I just wish, when speaking about her interactions with people, she would have considered the impact that people have on her — and not just the other way around. She’s not The Source.

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