"Michelle Obama is helping liberate a generation of women from the false idea that style and substance are mutually exclusive," explains fashion journalist Kate Betts. In her new book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style (out today), the former Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief notes that other first ladies, much like their everyday counterparts, had to choose either the role of traditional homemaker and caretaker (think Jackie Kennedy) or serious career women (Hillary Clinton). Whether or not they cultivated their personal style often reflected their decisions. Michelle Obama has become the first to seem authentically herself in both camps. Michelle's synthesis of style and smarts, explains Kate, indicates that assumptions about women's roles have changed.
Kate told me in an interview that Michelle reminds us our style can go beyond the latest fashion trends, and "become inextricably bound up in who we are and what we believe in." To give us a taste of her book, Kate selected a few iconic Michelle O outfits and identified what message each sends. Check them out now.