Fashion

How Michelle Obama Decides What to Wear, According to Her Stylist Meredith Koop

Koop lifts the curtain on the former first lady's fashion choices.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES / NBC
Comments

Michelle Obama learned early on in her husband's presidency that, whether she liked it or not, her fashion choices would always be a topic of conversation. "It seemed that my clothes mattered more to people than anything I had to say," she recently told the New York Times. "Optics governed more or less everything in the political world, and I factored this into every outfit."

Luckily, Obama found someone who could help her navigate that hornet's nest of hot takes: her longtime stylist, Meredith Koop. "I met Meredith when she was a young sales associate about a decade ago, and ever since, I’ve been blessed to have her by my side," she said. "She’s ridden with us through eight hectic years. She’s been a friend and mentor to our daughters."


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Meredith Koop attending a gala in April 2018

Of course, Koop worked hard to earn that level of trust. She intuitively understood how Michelle Obama's look would be picked apart, and therefore how to guard against it. "You have to anticipate every avenue of attack and every possible outcome," Koop told the New York Times.

"I would try to make a case for things: This is why it makes sense, why this designer, this cut," Koop explained. "Then we'd ask, 'Do you like it?' And then we'd think about logistics: What surface are you walking on? How many events? Will you be sitting? Will you be standing?"


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama at the start of her book tour on November 13, 2018

Koop didn't start from scratch—she was building upon a framework first conceived by her former employer, Ikram Goldman. (It was when she was working in Goldman's Chicago boutique that Koop met Obama.) Goldman identified a new way for a politician's wife to present herself: out with the jewel-toned skirted suits, and in with modern and American-designed fashions. She also advised Obama to wear accessibly-priced brands like J. Crew, as well as top-tier designs.

That's a lot to take into account. But Koop knows that these days, overthinking is almost a necessity. "It's so complicated now to be a woman," she said. "You want to be yourself, and you want to look good, but you don't want to be objectified, and you don’t want to wear a bag."


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Michelle Obama unveils her official portrait with the artist behind it, Amy Sherald

Unfortunately for Michelle Obama, she won't have Koop around forever. "I don’t want to be styling people in five years," Koop admitted. She will, however, stick around for at least the duration of Obama's book tour.

And that recent ELLE cover? Yeah, that was Koop's work, too. It even has her tell-tale, down-to-earth ethos, albeit merged with the glossy magazine's vibe. As she wrote on Instagram, "fashion but make it relatable."

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

Comments
About The Author
Chloe Foussianes
View Other Articles From Chloe Foussianes
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
The true legacy of Nick Joaquin lies not in the volume or richness or brilliance of his works, but in the optimism in the Filipino.
 
Share
The things we hold dearest in the Truly Rich World are now taking a backseat to softer values such as mindfulness, flexibility, passion, inner peace, and rest.
 
Share
Only 15 cities account for over 30 percent of the world's billionaire population.
 
Share
During the 17th to 19th centuries, the Chinese survived a ruthless persecution by the Spaniards, and still emerged as crucial economic assets in the Philippines.
 
Share
 
Share
From preppy to streetwear, these multi-brand online shops have everything you need.
 
Share
Dedet de la Fuente and Chef Luis Chikiamco take lucky guests on a 12-course degustation journey at Flame, Discovery Primea.
 
Share
Lio Tourism Estate is set to open its newest bed and breakfast, Huni Lio, in June.
 
Share
Using your leather bags often makes a huge difference.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US