Best of Michelle Obama’s state dinner dresses rated – from Brandon Maxwell to Naeem Khan Best of Michelle Obama’s state dinner dresses rated – from Brandon Maxwell to Naeem Khan
The First Lady stunned at the Singapore State Dinner earlier this week, we take a look back at some of her best dresses Just... Best of Michelle Obama’s state dinner dresses rated – from Brandon Maxwell to Naeem Khan


The First Lady stunned at the Singapore State Dinner earlier this week, we take a look back at some of her best dresses

Just like the Duchess of Cambridge, the First Lady of the US (FLOTUS as she’s referred to) has an enviable wardrobe and always dresses impeccably for any occasion.

Whether she’s visiting a school or stepping off a plane, Michelle Obama always looks the epitome of chic and has an eye for fashion.

She’s devoted to American designers such as Ralph Lauren, Narciso Rodriguez and Naeem Khan but also loves to experiment with British and European brands such as Alexander McQueen and Roksanda Ilincic.

But as much as we love her J Crew cardigans and shift dress ensembles, Michelle has dazzled at the White House State Dinners over the past seven years and as husband Barack Obama’s presidency is due to come to an end in January, we’ve looked back on some of her best looks.

November 2009 – Indian State Dinner

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyMichelle Obama
At their first State Dinner

For her first State Dinner, FLOTUS showed she wasn’t afraid to flash a bit of flesh and set the precedent for things to come. Some might argue that this silver-applique, strapless gown was a bit too much for the formal occasion but Michelle proved she was fashion-forward from the get-go.

Since she was greeting the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she wore a very fitting design from Indian-American designer Naeem Khan, who has now become one of her firm favourites.

While the yellow-gold hue isn’t one of the best we’ve seen on Mrs Obama, her show-stopping earrings from Bochic complemented her look, allowing her to show off those toned arms and shoulders.

Score: 7/10

May 2010 – Mexico State Dinner

GettyMichelle Obama
Michelle loves a one-shoulder number

Michelle loves a slicked-back do so it was good to see her style her hair differently for the Mexico State Dinner. The shimmery electric-blue number by New York designer Peter Soronen is the perfect style for the First Lady – the one shoulder balances out her broad shoulders, while the rhinestone belt cinches her in at the waist.

Jewel tones and brights complement Michelle’s skintone and she can pull off metallics, without looking like a disco ball.

Score: 8/10

Jan 2011 – China State Dinner

ReutersBarack and Michelle Obama
Michelle drew criticism for wearing Alexander McQueen at the China State Dinner

FLOTUS was on fire in this draped, floral gown and again, she wasn’t afraid to be daring. The orange-red silk dress seemed fitting for the China State Dinner, but she sparked discontent from US designers like the late Oscar de la Renta, for wearing British label Alexander McQueen, instead of home-grown talent.

And of course, Michelle responded in the best way to the controversy: “Women, wear what you love. That’s all you can say. That’s my motto.” Amen to that.

Score: 9/10

March 2012 – England State Dinner

RexFirst lady Michelle Obama (R) and Samantha Cameron
The bardot neckline shows off Michelle’s enviable shoulders

FLOTUS meet SamCam, your British style equivalent. Looking like two blue belles of the ball at the England State Dinner, Samantha Cameron wore a lace gown by London-based Alessandra Rich, while Michelle opted for a flattering off-the-shoulder teal number by New York’s Marchesa, whose lead designer is British.

Mrs Obama knows how to work an accessory and this heavy pearl statement necklace in shades of blue, grey and silver finishes off the look perfectly.

Score: 10/10

Feb 2014 – France State Dinner

ReutersU.S. President Barack Obama (R) and First Lady Michelle Obama (L) welcome French President Francois Hollande (C)
Looking tres chic at the France State Dinner

Ditching her usual strapless or one-shoulder numbers, this was a different look for the First Lady. For meeting France’s President François Hollande, she chose a Carolina Herrera ballgown with a lace top and a big, blue taffeta skirt.

The Venezuelan fashion designer is known for her elegant designs and dressed First Lady Jackie O during John F. Kennedy’s presidency.

Although this dress is much more demure than some of Michelle’s bolder State Dinner ensembles, the Parisian silhouette is très chic.

Score: 8/10

September 2015 – China State Dinner

GettyChinese President Xi Jinping's wife Peng Liyuan, first lady Michelle Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama
Michelle knows how to dress her curves

Ooh la la Michelle! After the criticism she received at the previous China State Dinner, FLOTUS was keen to put things right and it paid off.

This sexy, bardot number by American designer Vera Wang (of Chinese descent) with its plunging neckline seemed a little risqué, but you can’t go wrong with a LBD. Diplomatic fashion crisis averted!

The crepe mermaid-style gown fitted her curves perfectly and with her hair styled in gentle waves to the side, she wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Hollywood red carpet.

Score: 10/10

March 2016 – Canada State Dinner

ReutersMichelle Obama
Michelle shows off her pins in a Jason Wu thigh-high split number

At the first state dinner of President Obama’s final year, the couple met Canada’s new leader Justin Trudeau. Once again, Michelle proved how fashion-conscious she is by wearing this season’s thigh-high trend with spring florals from one of her favourite labels Jason Wu.

Canadian-born Wu designed the first lady’s inaugural gowns, including that now-famous one-shoulder, white floral appliqué number she wore for her first ball. A fitting tribute to the nation the White House was hosting and symbolic of her husband’s first year in office.

Michelle wore her hair in loose waves, without accessories, letting her dress do all the talking.

Score: 9/10

August 2016 – Singapore State Dinner

GettyMichelle Obama
Looking radiant in Brandon Maxwell

To greet Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching at the White House on Tuesday, Michelle wowed in white in a dress by Lady Gaga’s stylist Brandon Maxwell. The bespoke ivory number is very similar to the singer’s ballgown-style pant suit she wore to the Oscars this year.

The first lady kept her ensemble simple, going full circle, with a dress that was reminiscent of her first State Dinner look. We’d have preferred to see Michelle in her usual bold hues, but the sculptured, tailored design, along with the simple hoop earrings, shows how far her style has come.

Score: 7/10

Henry Okafor

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