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Fashion-forward first lady hits all the right notes

  • Story Highlights
  • InStyle's Hal Rubenstein says Michelle Obama has dropped first lady uniform
  • She has parade of dresses, cinched trenches, wide-legged trousers, full skirts
  • Outfits come in intense florals or unexpected hues like chartreuse and emerald
  • Obama knows power of accessories: cool flat boot, wide belt, a statement necklace
By Hal Rubenstein
Fashion Director, InStyle
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InStyle

(InStyle) -- I can't find it anywhere in the Constitution, so maybe there is a first lady dress code buried in an obscure addendum to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, since every mistress of the White House for the last four decades has chosen a wardrobe that follows a particular one with near pathological devotion.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive in  Prague, Czech Republic, in early April.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive in Prague, Czech Republic, in early April.

No sooner does her inaugural ballgown get spirited away to the Smithsonian, then out it comes: The First Lady Suit -- that tailored, multibuttoned blazer over a skirt straighter than an Ionic column in a primary, patriotic or tastefully unobjectionable color.

So did someone not give Michelle Obama the memo?

Because during these first 100 days, our newest first lady has banished every version of this silhouette as if they were all designed by the House of Dick Cheney. Instead, Mrs. Obama has defined with remarkable acuity what flatters a tall, broad-shouldered and curvaceous working woman who knows exactly who she is and where she is going.

With an enviable eye for color and layering, she has fashioned a riveting parade of on- and off-the-shoulder dresses, cardigans, cinched trenches, leggings, wide-legged trousers and full skirts, working them in intense florals or unexpected hues such as chartreuse and emerald. InStyle.com: Michelle Obama's first 100 Days of style

In addition, like every woman who gets a kick out of dressing up, she knows the power of accessories -- a cool flat boot, a wide belt, a statement necklace.

The thrilling result? Women across this country (and the world) are exclaiming almost daily, "Look at that print! I love that color! Where can I get that sweater?" Video Watch how the first lady has become a style icon »

What's more, not only does our first lady proudly stride with the confidence and warmth of a modern American woman, but the wardrobe she steps out in boasts relevance, comfort, and -- dare we say it? -- sex appeal. InStyle.com: Try on Obama's hairstyle

The fashion industry may have occasionally sniped, but come on, does anyone really give a damn if it's appropriate to wear a cardigan to meet the queen?

What does count is that each time we've caught that man of hers watching her walk into a room during their first 100 days, we have witnessed both a dynamic new first couple -- and a wife whose husband unashamedly only has eyes for her. The clothes are cool, but even better is the fact that Michelle Obama has brought romance back to the White House.

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