Michelle Obama's flawless fashion since she left the White House

Michelle Obama is one of the most fashionable first ladies in history. (She also of course graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, and has spearheaded initiatives to help young people worldwide gain access to education — an extremely cool woman in many ways.) 

Now that she has left the White House and won't as frequently be photographed in show stopping gowns at state dinners and government events, admirers can still glimpse her unique outfits — picks from emerging designers, on-point athleisure-wear, and chic travel looks — as she globe trots and pursues the causes she's passionate about outside of DC. Here are some of Michelle Obama's best looks since she left the White House.

Elegant Inauguration Day crimson coat

While she wasn't fully out of the White House just yet, Michelle Obama ended her White House fashion years with a classic, tailored long red coat on Inauguration Day in January 2017. The (hopefully warm) outerwear and matching long red short-sleeved dress underneath were both from designer Jason Wu. 

As Teen Vogue highlighted, this was a statement, as Obama has frequently championed Wu as well as other fashion insiders since she became first lady. She brought the then-26-year-old designer into the national spotlight when she wore one of his gowns to her first Inaugural Ball in 2009, and chose a Jason Wu gown again for the Inaugural Ball in 2013. 

Color block maxi

At her first speaking engagement after January's Inauguration, Obama took the stage at the American Institute of Architects conference in Florida in the same signature style that made her a fashion icon from the time she first emerged in the public eye.

She wore this long, loose color-blocked dress in gray, white, and taupe. As Vogue notes, Obama is "continuing her commitment to promoting the best in homegrown design talent" in this piece from Lafeyette 148, an American label based out of New York.

One-shoulder gown at the Kennedy Center

The formal, one-shoulder royal blue dress that the former first lady wore to the Kennedy Center in May 2017 is classic Michelle Obama. When President Barack Obama received the John F. Kennedy Profile In Courage Award, Michelle was by his side in one of her favorite style gowns. 

As Yahoo Style notes, she also wore one-shoulder gowns at her first Inaugural Ball in 2009 as well as a number of state dinners during her tenure in the White House. This particular outfit featured one long, flowing, cape-like sleeve and was paired with dangly chandelier earrings in a matching primary blue hue. 

In the president's speech, he lovingly thanked Michelle for her companionship and hard work for the country, saying, "I also want to thank Michelle Obama for after the presidency sticking with me because I think she felt an obligation to the country to stay on. But once her official duties were over, it wasn't clear. I love my wife. And I'm grateful for her. And I do believe that it was America's great good fortune to have her as first lady." And based on this photo from Boston Globe photographer Keith Bedford, he seemed pretty fond of her outfit too.

Casual-cool alumna

At MTV's National College Signing Day event, Obama's outfit was all about her alma mater: Princeton. She wore a v-neck gray T-shirt emblazoned with the college's name and tiger mascot. To complete the ultra-casual monochrome look, she wore gray cropped skinny jeans, a comfy, draped gray sweater, gray bracelets, and gray sneaks. And is that even a gray manicure? 

This is a hip, everyday look. The kind we don't usually get to see a first lady wear. But it's cool to see that Obama's strong sense of style extends to her less formal appearances too. 

On-point athleisure wear

Hey, have you heard that Michelle Obama loves to exercise? It's just this random, little-known fact about her that only hardcore biographers or anyone who has lived in the United States over the past decade has probably heard about. 

Well now that Obama is a private citizen, she's keeping up her public love for working out. On Instagram, she explained that she puts together bootcamps with her female friends where they can all exercise together no matter their fitness abilities. She wrote that while she started this tradition at the White House, she's keeping it going now: "My girlfriends have been there for me through all kinds of life transitions over the years – including a pretty big one recently! – and we've done our best to stay healthy together." 

And you'll notice from the photos that, no surprise, Obama has great workout outfits to go along with her passion for moving, like the cropped pants, matching orange and white tank top, and black cap she's wearing above.

Cutout bodycon at the ESPYs

At the ESPY Awards in July 2017, Obama wore a custom, form-fitting Cushnie et Ochs dress to posthumously present the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage to Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. 

This is a glam look with interesting, dramatic cutouts around the neck. And may we all be as capable of chicly and boldly pulling off body-con when we're 53. Vogue notes that this "fresh new take on the LBD" is paired with modern earrings and a ring from jewelry designer Jennifer Fisher. 

Floral Tanya Taylor

The designer Tanya Taylor is all about strong women, and even recently launched a line of extended sizes after being inspired by a collaboration with Aidy Bryant on a size 18 dress. So it's no surprise to see the designer's work on another powerful role model. 

Obama wore this flowy, flower-covered, light (even… millennial?) pink wrap dress at an event for the Women's Foundation of Colorado. And according to Vogue, those oversize earrings are Simone Rocha and the heels are Jimmy Choo. The dress also kind of matches the vibe of the chair she's sitting in, which probably wasn't planned… but when you match your chair, you know you have a look. 

Looking anything but frightful on Halloween

On halloween 2017, Michelle Obama and Prince Harry — yes, you're reading that correctly — teamed up to surprise students at Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, Illinois. According to Kensington Palace, the high school is situated just across from the forthcoming Obama Presidential Center, which will feature a grand museum and large public space with a view of Lake Michigan. While conversing with the students for over an hour, Obama and Harry stressed "the importance of young people staying inspired and the power of students using their voices to change the world," as the Palace reported.

Obama — and Harry too — arrived in business-casual attire. While the former FLOTUS wouldn't win any halloween costume competitions for her outfit, she was certainly dressed for the occasion. Obama donned a pale blue cowl neck blouse and well-fitted gray plaid slacks. Later that day, Obama also attended the first Obama Foundation summit in the city with her husband and sported the same dual-purpose ensemble.

The fall fashion queen

Although October 31, 2017 would mark the inaugural Obama Foundation summit, it wouldn't be the last. Chicago-based ABC News 7 reported ahead of the event that it would span two days. Leaders from all over the world gave lectures and hosted workshops. The former FLOTUS also got up on stage to speak to the audience. 

For the second day of the summit, Obama rocked plaid yet again — but this time a much different look. The long-sleeved, ruffled, two-toned tartan ensemble showed off the former first lady's killer legs — seriously, killer. Mrs. Obama also took the opportunity to accessorize with some bling-tastic jewelry. According to AOL, she donned a pair of hoop earrings for just under $300 and a thin $2,000 diamond and sea pearl choker. Obama also wore her hair parted down the middle and styled in loose waves. Yeah, this post-White House look is basically everything.

Exuding elegance on "Ellen"

You can always count on Obama to pick the perfect outfit for every occasion. When appearing as a guest on The Ellen Degeneres Show for the host's 60th birthday in early 2018, the former first lady went with a monochromatic and minimalist ensemble: tailored black pants with a draped Tom Ford blouse in crisp white. Vogue even dubbed Obama's look as "a lesson in how to command attention while wearing the simplest of garments." 

As this was the former FLOTUS' first television interview after having left the White House, much of the conversation focused around the family's new lifestyle. Before revealing that she is indeed keeping busy, Obama joked with Ellen Degeneres about adjusting to life after her husband's presidency, saying, "I wake up when I want to wake up, you know. I got myself all gussied up to come here. Came out of the basement." Well, she cleans up nicely, don't you think?

Slaying in this dark floral gown

In February 2018, were were able to get a double dose of Obama's stellar fashion. Along with Barack Obama, the former FLOTUS unveiled her official portrait at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. In the painting, Obama is pictured in a Milly gown designed by Michelle Smith. The designer explained to The Washington Post that the dress is from a season when Smith's focus was particularly centered around the "desire for equality, equality in human rights, racial equality, LGBTQ equality." Smith went on to explain that the fabric is a "stretch cotton poplin" or what used to be called "a worker's fabric." Much of the appeal of the gown is that it gives off a couture vibe "but it's made out of something spartan."

So, how do you compete with your own portrait featuring another magnificent dress during this big reveal? Well, by wearing a stunning deep navy floral gown by Peter Pilotto — that's how. With its boat neckline, ruched detailing, and elegant bishop sleeves, Obama looked every bit as stunning in person as she did in portrait. 

This former FLOTUS does not fear the fringe

Obama dressed in head-to-tie ivory is a mood. In May 2018, the former first lady sat down with Tracee Ellis Ross during the United State of Women summit in Los Angeles, California. Together, these two influential women discussed the empowerment of young women and young leaders.

Again, Obama knew just what to wear to command attention while still looking perfectly professional for the event. Popsugar reported that the white wrap dress worn by Obama is none other than the Sunder Dress by Rachel Comey — and what a dress it is. The top half is fashioned more like a blazer with its long sleeves and collared neckline. A belt comes across the waist and draws attention to the fringe detailing on the skirt. Obama paired the fun midi dress with matching ivory heeled sandals. Oh, and did we mention that she was sporting bangs by this point? We told you: a mood.

Looking bold and beautiful in this difficult color

If you've ever attempted to wear chartreuse, you likely know that it is a ridiculously hard color to pull off. And yet, the former first lady was able to not only pull off a yellow-green dress — but one with a seriously bold print. How does she do it?

While discussing her upcoming memoir, Becoming, at the 2018 American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Obama's $595 Tanya Taylor dress likely garnered almost as much attention as did the former FLOTUS herself. And we get it. Those rich colors, fluttery cap sleeves, and the deep red belt are the stuff dreams are made of.

While we'll be honest and admit that we are a little mad that Obama can somehow rock this difficult of a color and still somehow make it look effortless, we have to give credit where credit is due. This June look was arguably one of the best of the summer.

An ethereal Béyliever

Images shared by fans in July 2018 confirmed that the former POTUS and FLOTUS were in attendance at Beyoncé and Jay-Z's "On the Run II" tour. Not only that, but the adorable couple were spotted dancing. Dancing! Can you handle it? We certainly can't. But now we have to talk about that outfit Mrs. Obama was photographed wearing — because it is such a look.

Sporting a monochromatic color palette, just as she did when wearing her Rachel Comey dress two months earlier, Obama went with a color that most definitely works for her: ivory. The former first lady donned high-waisted shorts, a silky blouse, and a flowing collared summer kimono. She kept her accessories simple with a pair of large silver hoop earrings. Obama also finished off her look with nude espadrille wedges. Gah! Dare we say it, but she may just have been giving Beyoncé a run for her money.

Work wardrobe goals

Having served as a first lady for eight years, Obama knows full well how to rock a work wardrobe with the best of 'em. Even after leaving the White House, Obama still relies on a wardrobe fit for a person in a political position. When visiting the Chaparral High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, in September 2018, Obama encouraged others to vote. "Not voting is like letting your grandma pick your clothes out. Now no offense to grandma, my mom is with me today," Popsugar quotes Obama as saying at the event.

In her totally non-Granny attire, Obama made a statement in a bright white t-shirt — quite fittingly fit to a T — and dark dress pants with a subtle peplum frill at the waist and a simple belt accent. The former FLOTUS tied the ensemble together with silver hoop earrings, thin silver bracelets, and her engagement ring — aww. If you need some ideas on how to update your office attire, look no further than Michelle Obama.