Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Day Look

It’s been four years since Michelle Obama left the White House, but the former first lady continues to command attention everywhere she goes while shining a light on Black businesses and designers. The Becoming author’s monochrome Inauguration Day outfit had the internet buzzing Wednesday, with many tweeting that Barack Obama’s wife “stole the show.”

For the historic inauguration of the nation’s first Black and first female vice president—Kamala Harris—Michelle, the first-ever Black first lady, turned to Sergio Hudson, a Black designer originally from South Carolina.

“Dressing people like Michelle Obama and Beyoncé, I feel like they transcend color,” Hudson previously told The Daily Beast. “That’s what I like about it. They’re women, they’re powerful, and they’re smart.”

The mom of two, sporting bouncy curls, stunned wearing a burgundy ensemble that consisted of a sweater, trousers, coat and statement belt by the California-based designer (Harris happens to be from California!). Michelle teamed her look with Stuart Weitzman shoes and a silk face mask by Christy Rilling, per WWD.

The former First Lady wasn’t the only one repping this brand–there was a slight twinning situation going on, but was it planned? We can only dream: Harris also stepped out wearing Sergio Hudson heels with her dress and coat by Black designer Christopher John Rogers for her big day.

The outfit was a shade of purple, which was on-theme for today; Harris and fellow former First Lady Hillary Clinton also sported purple. The choice could be a symbol of the reunification of the United States and its red and blue factions. Clinton also wore the color when she conceded her loss to President Donald Trump in 2016, noting in her memoir What Happened, “The morning after the election, Bill and I both wore purple. It was a nod to bipartisanship (blue plus red equals purple).”

As Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Harris demonstrated at the inauguration, fashion can convey powerful messages. During her tenure as first lady, Michelle developed a strategy behind her style. “It seemed that my clothes mattered more to people than anything I had to say,” she wrote in her 2018 memoir.

“For me, my choices were simply a way to use my curious relationship with the public gaze to boost a diverse set of up-and-comers,” Michelle added. “Optics governed more or less everything in the political world, and I factored this into every outfit.”

One day after the inauguration, Michelle’s stylist Meredith Koop explained the meaning behind the former first lady’s  look in two lengthy Instagram posts.

“For any event, I work to be as prepared as possible and I mean preparedededed. With the inauguration, there are many variables to consider,” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s cold, tons of people are watching, there are stairs, there are car rides, sitting and standing, on and on. There used to be plenty of hugs, but no longer. This inauguration was celebratory (It’s the VP before Kamala for me!) and also uniquely unsettling. More tanks and soldiers lined the streets of DC than I had seen in the eight years I lived there and the three inaugurations I’d experienced first hand.”

Koop has trained herself to think “through every possible scenario.” Her thought process and work clearly paid off because according to her, Michelle was “so comfortable!”

“Literal music to my ears. I can pack it up and go home. If my client is comfortable, she’s confident. She can show up and not be worried about her clothes or the height of her heel and STILL look fierce as hell,” Koop shared. “Beyond any symbolism I am thinking through or any fashion fantasies I may have, THAT is the essence of my professional relationship with Michelle. I have learned to respect her consistent sense of practicality and pragmatism (Capricorn) dressing her in pieces she can live, move and inspire in. I am honored that she trusts me to do what I do, to ideate and execute looks with freedom, to be creative and, yes, to use fashion to send a message and to give a platform to artists/designers.”

Breaking down Michelle’s look, Koop praised Hudson, who was responsible for Michelle’s “wineberry plum” separates, for understanding “how to dress the curves of a woman’s body.”

She revealed, “I knew from the jump I wanted pants for her. Pants, pants, pants. Ah, the liberation of pants!No skirts, no dresses. Practical beautiful pants. Dark colors. Jewel tones, black, grays. Nothing bright. Sleek, chic and modern. You can call it berry, wine, plum or burgundy. I’m calling it wineberry plum for the moment. What it wasn’t was bi-partisan purple. That’s a cute story, but it wasn’t the intention. I love the different textures in the coat, pants, sweater and belt of this monochromatic look. It was the perfect balance.”

Koop completed Michelle’s outfit with a black silk textured Christy Rilling mask and black suede boots with a block heel. “It felt modern and more how women tend to dress,” she explained.

Above all, what Koop wanted to convey with this “particular outfit is about the woman wearing it more than anything.” She added, “It is about her and what she means to you and to America. She is powerful and she needs to move. She is stunning and she represents what is possible. She is relatable and she is aspirational. She has consistently articulated over the years what has been in the hearts and minds of so many. She has taken a look at the rule book and turned the page. She leads, she inspires and she slays.”