Michelle Obama Returns to the White House in Style

Today, Barack and Michelle Obama returned to the White House together for the first time since departing as president and first lady in 2017, attending an unveiling ceremony for their official portraits alongside President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. After sharing the paintings—Barack was depicted by the photorealistic painter Robert McCurdy, while Michelle’s was the work of artist Sharon Sprung—with the American public for the first time, President Biden delivered a speech honoring Obama as “one of the most consequential presidents in history.”

Photo: Getty Images

Just as striking as the portraits of the Obamas, however, was Michelle’s look for the event. Widely regarded as one of the most stylish first ladies in history, Michelle proved she’s not lost her eye for fashion since departing the White House, wearing a purple and red pleated crepe ombré silk dress designed as a custom piece by her long-time tailor Christy Rilling. Completing the look were a pair of delicate drop earrings and a pair of sleek black pumps.

For the portrait, which will hang in the White House as part of the residence’s permanent collection, Michelle wore an elegant off-shoulder dress in baby blue reportedly designed by Jason Wu, lending the image a more traditional feel than her famous 2018 portrait by Amy Sherrald that hangs in Washington’s National Portrait Gallery. (While the Obamas were able to select their own artists in 2018, the paintings today were commissioned by the White House Historical Association.)