Michelle Obama demonstrated she has the same concerns as modern women when it comes to fashion.
The first lady admitted to wearing Spanx and worrying what she wears during a Fashion Education Workshop at the White House on Wednesday.
“My ability to do my job is really linked to what I’m wearing,” she told fashion students from around the country, who had come to the White House to learn tips and tricks from the who’s who of A-list designers.
Obama has long been a proponent of American fashion, particularly young and up-and-coming designers. Her wardrobe choices have made headlines.
Several of those designers, who have dressed the first lady, came down from New York’s Seventh Avenue. They included Thom Browne, who Obama wore at the second inauguration; Reed Krakoff, who she wore in her second official portrait and on her second cover of Vogue; Phillip Lim, who she wore to meet the first lady of China; Narciso Rodriguez, who she wore on the night of the 2008 election; Georgina Chapman, wife of Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein; Maria Cornejo, who Obama called one of her favorite designers; and Zac Posen, whose suits she favors.
Also in the crowd was Spanx founder Sara Blakely, whose story and product Obama acknowledged: “We all wear them — with pride,” the first lady joked.
But for the occasion, Obama opted for an unknown designer instead of one of the stars in the crowd. She wore a Navy blue dress designed Natalya Koval, a student from Fashion Institute of Technology, who won a design competition. The first lady did a twirl, showing off the sleeveless dress, which featured a full skirt and a racer style front. She told Koval: “Good job!”
Introducing the first lady was Artistic Director of Condé Nast and editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour, who praised Obama’s interest in fashion and her support of the industry.
“The word that comes to mind when I think of the first lady is nurture,” Wintour said.
The workshops took place in rooms throughout the White House and gave fashion students a chance to learn from the designers. Posen’s advice to one student: “Don’t ever put (pins) in your mouth. It’s a bad habit.”
Little dress forms were on the tables and designers brought samples of their work to show the students.
Afterward the students ate lunch with the designers in the East Room of the White House, which had been de
corated by students from Parsons The New School for Design.
“Fashion is about so much more than just a pretty pair of pumps or the perfect hemline,” Obama said. “For so many people across the country, it is a calling, it is a career, and it’s a way they feed their families. So that’s why we thought it was important to bring the industry to the White House, and to share it with all of you who are coming up in the next generation.”