Michelle Obama didn’t so much as step out in sequin Balenciaga thigh highs on the final leg of her book tour for 2018, she also stomped all over my internal dialogue about my own expiration date. The boots, emerging from a slit in her yellow satin wrap dress in all their gold, stilettoed glory weren’t just made for walking, but strutting. It wasn’t an outfit. This was a look, honey. My favourite of 2018. (Although the sequin striped Balmain pant suit she wore on the Tonight Show might be a close second). In her mid fifties, the former first lady is serving pure sauce, and I’ve never been more passionate about a footwear choice in my entire life.
When I was 21 I dated a man who told me I would never be more beautiful and relevant than I was right now. Since being given this bleak assessment of my own pertinence by someone who is now unsurprisingly onto wife number three, I have subconsciously tried to fit in all daring fashion choices to the slim period of time that was my early twenties, after which time I had planned to retire these looks to the back of my closet, to be replaced with what I can only imagine was to be a lot of cable knit, not verging beyond nude and neutral tones. This is not just about serving looks, but my own deep rooted fear regarding the weight my age plays on my worth in society as a woman.
In a world where we are informed it becomes très tragique to express our sexuality beyond the realms of our thirties, Mrs Obama looks like she has your bitch tip toeing on her marble floors. The look was fun, luxurious and perfectly provocative. She has hushed the voice in my head that tells me my time as a head turner is limited and to soak it up while it lasts. We never need to turn down the volume on our voice or our closet. By visually stepping outside of the box she has been placed in, Michelle shows us that life and style do not begin and end at any age, but are a constant evolution. She has inspired me to get rid of my own best before, which you’ll now find reads ‘forever bad’.
Obama has said although she had realised during her time as First Lady that fashion does have a meaning and her clothes do make a statement, there was no message behind the boots. “They were just really cute. I was like ‘those some nice boots.’” The lack of agenda screams most important memo of all: do, be and wear whatever you want. In an ensemble that wouldn’t have been out of place on Rhianna or Cardi B, Michelle had me mentally singing M People’s ‘Moving On Up’ during her ascent to the stage. We all have chapters in our lives and although the sheath dresses and waist belts of her time in the White House were enviable in their own right, we wear sequin pant suits now. Through her wardrobe Michelle is proving she is so much more than the wife of a former president, solidifying her own place as a stand alone celebrity.
While such a footwear choice might not be for everyone, it’s much harder to bring down someone in haute couture. In taking those boots out of their box Michelle Obama smashed through stereotypes not only regarding what is age appropriate but also what a good woman wears. We are not limited to the ‘flattering’, to blending in, to shrinking ourselves at any age, on any stage. Throw on some thigh highs ladies, we’ve got a world to run.