Before the clock strikes midnight and this officially becomes the second day of 2010, I wanted to take a look back through 2009 to highlight a few favorite Mrs. O ensembles of the year. With my top five outlined below, I'd also love to hear your favorite picks.
#1 Orange gold Rodarte dress in Copenhagen worn with a trio of vintage brooches / October 1, 2009
While the Olympic bid for Chicago was not a success, the trip to Copenhagen did bring one of Mrs. O's most stunning style moments of the year. The first lady has improved perceptions of American culture abroad, in part, by projecting elegance and sophistication through her style. It is a powerful, smart use of fashion, purely embodied through the Rodarte dress and vintage pins below, worn as Mrs. O represented the United States on a world stage in Copenhagen.
Photos by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
#2 Peter Soronen Twilight Gown paired with a Tom Binns necklace for the National Governors' Association Dinner / February 22, 2009
The National Governors' Association Dinner happened to fall on the same night as the Oscars, and as one flicked from TV to laptop screen, it was hard to remember which was which. Mrs. O looked unlike any first lady had looked before in her sequined Peter Soronen corset gown, accessorized with ropes of crystals and pearls by Tom Binns. It was the perfect union of classic glamour and modern edge, and certainly one of the most exciting looks of the year.
Photo credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
#3 Isabel Toledo lemongrass dress and coat chosen for the inauguration / January 20, 2009
Many Americans were introduced to Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo on January 20, enchanted by her inaugural creation for our new first lady. Amidst a sea of navy and black wool winter coats, the eye was instantly drawn to Mrs. O's bold lemongrass hue, which projected an optimistic mood on the cold winter morning.
The ensemble in its entirety is an example of classic Mrs. O style. With the Isabel Toledo dress and coat, Mrs. O wore a Nina Ricci cardigan, a vintage pin from the Carole Tanenbaum Vintage Collection at the collar, green Jimmy Choo heels and J.Crew leather gloves -- a mix of price points and aesthetics, and a fresh play on color.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images
#4 Alaia dress worn for American Ballet Opening Night Spring Gala in New York City / May 18, 2009
Throughout the year, we saw the first lady embrace a wide range of fashion talent -- young, up and comers; established, mainstream labels; and a handful of lesser known, semi-couturiers. Significant among those is Azzedine Alaia, who has been described as the "last true couturier." Mrs. O publicly wore Alaia for the first time during the G-20 and NATO summits overseas in April. Soon following, she chose this frock, said to have been a long-time favorite in her closet, to wear to the American Ballet Opening in New York. The touch of sparkle and structured construction made it one of the best looks of the year.
Image via a kind, anonymous friend
#5 Violet Jason Wu dress with french knot embroidery, worn for a White House kitchen event / February 23, 2009
When seen from afar, one might perceive a simple, printed cocktail dress in this Jason Wu frock. But viewed up close, we discover thousand of hand embroidered knots, clustered in florets to create the pattern on the backdrop of violet fabric. As we whiz through glossy magazine pages, it's often easy to overlook the fine craftsmanship that goes into beautiful dresses. But we see a prime example of it here, offering an entirely new, substantive dimension to following the first lady's style.
White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian