Michelle Obama Puts Edgy Post-White House Style on Display at the ESPYs

Lauren Tuck
News Editor

Michelle Obama might have made J.Crew great again while she was in the White House, but her post-politics style has seemingly taken a significant turn away from the preppy brand’s signature cardigans and A-line dresses.

Former first lady Michelle Obama at the 2017 ESPYs in Los Angeles. (Photo: Getty Images)

Appearing at the ESPYs on Wednesday night, Obama wore a black Cushnie et Ochs dress. The custom piece was modified from a look from the brand’s fall 2017 ready-to-wear collection, with the 53-year-old’s version being in black and sans sequins.


At the 25th annual awards show in Los Angeles, Obama honored the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, John F. Kennedy’s sister and founder of the Special Olympics in 1968, with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

“I am here tonight to honor a remarkable woman,” she said. “A woman who believed everyone has something to contribute and everyone deserves to push themselves to find out what they’re made of and to compete and win. She knew that when we give others a chance to fulfill our greatest potential, we all win.”

Obama’s look — and presence, in general — sent the Internet into a tizzy.






In addition to Obama’s looking incredible, her presence had such a major impact because this marks just one of few public appearances since January. In each, though, she’s displayed a more relaxed and edgier look than the previous eight years.

Case in point: She opted for an off-the-rack dress from Lafayette 148 for her first speaking engagement in April.

Michelle Obama in Lafayette 148 during the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 on April 27. (Photo: Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

And even wore sneakers onstage in May.

Former first lady Michelle Obama at MTV’s 2017 College Signing Day on May 5. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for MTV)

That same month, Obama looked like she stepped fresh out of the pages of Vogue with a high-low-hem top from Alexander McQueen and a leather corset belt.

Michelle Obama in Alexander McQueen at the Partnership for a Healthier American 2017 Healthier Future Summit on May 12. (Photo: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

It’s her off-duty looks that have taken the most drastic turn toward the casual. For example, when the former FLOTUS was in Italy, she stepped out in not one but two off-the-shoulder tops.

Michelle Obama wearing a pink TEIJA shirt with AG jeans while in Italy. (Photo: AKM-GSI)
Michelle Obama wearing a Club Monaco cold-shoulder top with army green BCBG Max Azria linen pants. (Photo: Rex)

For a recent trip to Indonesia, she busted out her best athleisure, which she paired with a sarong.

Former President Barack Obama with wife Michelle and daughter Malia in Indonesia. (Photo: AP Photo/Slamet Riyadi)
Michelle Obama wearing a traditional wrap on vacation in Indonesia. (Photo: AP)

And on yet another vacation, Obama let her hair down, driving the Internet wild with her shorts and tank-top ensemble and natural curls.

But it’s the in-between looks, or business casual, that have made the most impact and seem to be where Obama and her husband are most comfortable.

Barack and Michelle Obama were spotted having lunch in New York City recently. (Photo: Getty Images)

What’s next? Watch out for a book tour filled with even more eye-catching fashion.

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