How to Dress like a First Lady

M2057 by Maria Pinto

How to dress like a First Lady — Fashion designer Maria Pinto met Michelle Obama when the First Lady was a lawyer at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago, back in 2004. Interesting side note: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson was the mentor assigned to Obama when he started as a summer associate at Sidley Austin. Now the First Lady and a fashion icon and role model for many women, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama continues to choose Maria Pinto’s clothes today.

Pinto’s fashion career started at Geoffrey Beene, where she honed her skills in cutting and developed her appreciation for fabric technology. Her new collection, M2057, launched via Kickstarter, features garments made from high quality Italian fabrics that are — believe it or not — machine washable! The styles are highly fashionable, figure flattering, versatile, wrinkle-resistant and hospitable in price, ranging from $250 to $550.

Maria Pinto lets us in on what its like to dress a First Lady:

  • When I met her, she wasn’t the First Lady yet, so there weren’t the same kind of trappings of fame. However, like many of us, Michelle Obama’s wardrobe needs changed as her life changed. In her case, going from a lawyer and Senator’s wife to making appearances as the wife of a presidential candidate. For example, she required pieces that looked good in a sit-down interview. Dresses and skirts that didn’t ride up, and that were a certain length. Sheath dresses worked well because they are wonderfully chic and looked gorgeous on her, but they were also easy to wear and comfortable.
  • There wasn’t a plan about what she would wear and when—it was much more organic than that. I encouraged her to build a wardrobe with pieces that fit her lifestyle and also made her feel beautiful and confident. When going into her closet, I wanted her to find that she always had the perfect piece for any occasion. I think the First Lady was looking for what every woman wants, to feel good, and to look good.
  • I stress one “rule” in fashion: Dress to suit your personality, your body, and your lifestyle. Too often we are slaves to trends, even when they don’t work for us. Don’t let a magazine tell you what is right for you.
  • Fit is important.  Always be sure that what you buy fits you properly, both in size and for your body type. When you are uncomfortable it shows, and the flip side is true. When you feel gorgeous and confident, it radiates from you.