Michelle Obama's State Dinner Style Rewind: All the Colors, Cuts and Couture of the Last Eight Years

After eight years in the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama is a bonafide pro when it comes to dressing for a state dinner. After all, she’s attended 13 of them. 

From strapless Naeem Khan to glittering Atelier Versace, the 52-year-old mother of two has redefined fashion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with her colorful, embellished and bold floor-length looks over the course of almost a decade.

Sporting an array of designers, she’s looked elegant, edgy and many winning adjectives in between as she paved a sartorial legacy.  

While the Obama’s were initially likened to the Kennedy’s in youth and style when they first moved into the White House, FLOTUS has since carved out a chunk of first lady couture history all her own while helping unknown designers flourish along the way. 

Here’s a look at all of the State Dinner gowns that secured the first lady’s status as a fashion icon. 

Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, State Dinner Fashion


Date: November 24, 2009

Country: India 

Designer: Naeem Khan

For her first official state dinner, Michelle went for classic with a twist in this nude strapless gown with a glittering print by an Indian-American designer. Immediately, her sculpted arms were the envy of Americans everywhere. 

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Date: May 19, 2010

Country: Mexico

Designer: Peter Soronen

Michelle went for full-on glam in a royal blue one-shoulder gown finished with a sparkling belt designed by a fairly new Chicago native—her hometown, of course. 

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion


Date: January 19, 2011

Country: China

Designer: Alexander McQueen

Early on in the Obama presidency, FLOTUS was already making fashion statements, including this printed silk and organza gown by the edgy American label. 

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Date: June 7, 2011

Country: Germany 

Designer: Naeem Khan

Obama was a loyal customer, often returning to designers she had worn before for new looks. This beaded cream gown by Khan made a sophisticated entrance akin to the dress she wore by him at her first dinner. 

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Date: Oct. 13, 2011

Country: South Korea

Designer: Doo-Ri Chung

When the first lady chooses something to wear for a public event, she often does her homework. To pay homage to the president and first lady of South Korea, Michelle sported a regal purple one-shoulder gown by a Korean-American designer. 

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Date: March 14, 2012

Country: United Kingdom

Designer: Marchesa

Obama wasn’t afraid of rocking color during her time as First Lady, sporting this cobalt blue design paired with layers of Tom Binns statement necklaces. 

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion


Date: Feb. 11, 2014

Country: France

Designer: Carolina Herrera

For this night, Obama selected  a classic American designer known for her elegant creations—among them this taffeta and lace ballgown in periwinkle.  

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Date: April 28, 2015

Country: Japan

Designer: Tadashi Shoji

Michelle arrived to the state dinner with the Japanese Prime Minister and his wife sporting a purple intricate embroidered gown by a famous Japanese-American designer.

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion

Olivier Douliery/ABACA/AP Images

Date: Sept. 25, 2015

Country: China

Designer: Vera Wang

In arguably one of her best looks in the entire state dinner collection, FLOTUS sported a black off-the-shoulder mermaid gown with a voluminous tail. Her gathered hair and chandelier earrings were the perfect complements to the bridal designer’s elegant creation. 

State Dinner Fashion, Michelle Obama


Date: March 10, 2016

Country: Canada

Designer: Jason Wu

For one of her first forays into black tie print, Obama arrived in a strapless black gown with a floral motif by Canadian designer, Wu, who also is famous for creating her first and second inaugural ball gowns. 

State Dinner Fashion, Michelle Obama


Date: May 13, 2016

Country: Nordic States

Designer: Naeem Khan

Three times were a charm for Khan, who was behind this romantic, ruched one-shoulder design yet again.  

State Dinner Fashion, Michelle Obama

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Date: Aug. 2, 2016

Country: Singapore

Designer: Brandon Maxwell

For one of her final dinners, the First Lady chose an American designer famous for styling Lady Gaga in many of her most iconic fashion moments, including her Video Music Award meat dress and the white caped jumpsuit she sported to this year’s Academy Awards. 

Obama’s white, architectural strapless column gown was reminiscent of Gaga’s Oscar look and was a sleek and slightly edgy choice in contrast to her previous softer, romantic styles. 

Michelle Obama, State Dinner Fashion


Date: Oct. 18, 2016

Country: Italy

Designer: Atelier Versace

For her 13th and final state dinner appearance, Michelle physically beamed in a rose gold, sequin ruched gown by the world-renowned Italian label. 


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