Michelle Obama learned from the beginning in her husband's presidency that whether she liked it or not, her fashion choices would always be a matter of conversation. "It felt like my clothes were more important to people than anything I had to say," she told the New York Times recently. "Optics governed more or less everything in the political world, and I considered it in every outfit."
Fortunately, Obama found someone who could help her navigate the nest of hot wasp photos: her longtime stylist Meredith Koop. "I met Meredith when she was a young sales associate about a decade ago and since then I have been blessed to have her by my side," she said. "She has ridden with us for eight agitated years. She is a friend and mentor to our daughters."
Obviously, Koop worked hard to earn that level of confidence. She understood intuitively how Michelle Obama's appearance would be chosen and therefore how to protect herself. "We need to anticipate all avenues of attack and all possible outcomes," Koop told the New York Times.
"I would try to defend things: that's why it makes sense, why this designer, this cut," Koop explained. "So we would ask, 'Do you like it?' And then we were thinking about logistics: what surface are you walking on? How many events? Will you be sitting? Will you be standing? "
Koop didn't start from scratch and had previously worked for Ikram Goldman. It was when she was working at Goldman's boutique in Chicago that Koop met Obama. Goldman identified a new way for a politician's wife to introduce herself: wearing jewel-colored skirt suits and wearing modern, American-designed clothing. She also advised Obama to use affordable brands, such as J. Crew, as well as top-notch designs.
This is too much to take into account. But Koop knows that thinking too much today is almost a necessity. "It's so complicated being a woman now," she said. "You want to be yourself and look good, but you don't want to be objectified and you don't want to wear a purse."