Michelle Obama's Carolina Herrera State Dinner Dress: How Does It Stack Up with the Rest?

02/12/2014 at 10:42 AM ET

Michelle Obama Carolina Herrera State DinnerLandov; Getty (3); Rex USA

If a style code exists for “First Lady formal attire,” Michelle Obama isn’t afraid to break it. The first lady follows her own sartorial rules (cool prints, fun colors, unique necklines … we could keep going), and frequently captivates the country (and social media!) with her unique choices. So in honor of her elegant gown at Tuesday’s black-tie affair (more on that in a sec), we rounded up some of her most memorable state dinner looks.

For her first state dinner in 2009, FLOTUS welcomed the Indian prime minister while wearing a custom champagne strapless Naeem Khan gown covered in a silver sequin floral design. She paired the look with mega drop earrings and a wrist full of bangles. (And we understood why her arms have their own Twitter account.) In 2010, to host the president of Mexico, Obama went for shimmer again, selecting an electric blue gown (she’s not afraid of color!) by New York designer Peter Soronen. A crystal-studded belt and voluminous curls completed the look.

RELATED: For even more news on the First Lady, click here!

For a dinner in honor of the president of China in 2011, she made her boldest statement yet, wearing a voluminous Alexander McQueen gown with an abstract floral print and asymmetrical neckline, plus Kimberly McDonald earrings. She followed that with a navy off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown and Tom Binns statement necklace to greet the British prime minister at the White House’s 2012 dinner.

Finally, at last night’s dinner in honor of the French president Obama made our jaws hit the floor once again in a Carolina Herrera gown featuring a sheer black beaded top over a “liberty blue” corset and a full inverted-pleat skirt. She completed the look with a black velvet belt and Sutra jewels. Between the somewhat retro ballgown silhouette and her full, classic blowout — dare we say she might be taking a page right out of that First Lady style manual?

We want to know: Which gown is your favorite? Vote in our poll below, and share any other thoughts in the comments!

–Brittany Talarico

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Showing 48 comments

Guest on

Beautiful dresses for a beautiful First Lady!

sandradee on

they should have added the “none of the above button”
I would’ve chosen that one. I see what my tax dollars pay for now.

Denise on

Beautiful lady.

Kate on

I see “boob belts” are still in “vogue.” (Eye Roll)

Sunny on

Ugh, Sandradee, seriously? She pays for her own clothes. Thank you for a typical response. There’s always one in the comments section.

An opinon on

While I voted for the Kahn dress as my favorite, last night’s McQueen’s was a close second. When I think ‘French,’ I think lace and that color has often been called “French Blue” in the fashion industry. I think it was a great choice.

Ann on

She has the worst posture. She looks like a monkey.

Susan on

I don’t remember a play by play with any other flotus… enough with the freaking love fest! We get it, you love them.

Sylvia Tarvers Weston on

I think she believes she is a movie star. She doesn’t know how to dress appropriately for a state dinner. Go away Obamas!

Tonya on

I love when people discuss our tax dollars when this is the case with every sitting president and first lady. In addition, most of these dresses are donated to the White House because it gives the designer exposure. If you visit the George W. Bush the Oscar De La Renta red dress she wore to a state dinner was is in the museum.

sandradee on

To: Sunny – got a reaction from you didn’t I? I couldn’t care less what you think. I answered the question they were asking me. Oh and I still think they are all disgusting.

And after a little time, it looks like I’m not the only one on this board with those sentiments. Cheers!

Bug on

What a joke, bunch of rich snobs that steal money from the working class that work!!!!!! and the real diamond collars on the dogs was sickening!

Bug on

And no Sunny, she doesn’t “pay for her own clothes” do some research.

Moira on

Why do people act as if President Obama and the First Lady are the couple to spend ‘taxpayers” money?? Every couple has used AF One for vacations. Every First Lady has worn designer clothing and dresses at various functions.

Hypocrisy at it’s best.

Carolyn on

For Sylvia–why do you say that she doesn’t know how to dress for a state dinner? I think the dresses are gorgeous.

Lori on

And now….her husband will go on TV and talk about how terrible inequality is…unbelievable.

Linda on

I agree with Ann. For someone who is so concerned about fitness, you’d think someone would get her to stand up straight. Her girls are getting that same slouch too.

Kaylee on

Wow, how dare you associate her with a monkey Ann!!! Don’t project your insecurities on to others. That’s hatefulness and racist. Be better than that.

Marcia on

It’s a beautiful dress. The blue or gorgeous on her.

sandradee on

Looks like I’m not the only one Sunny…

sylvia on

you either like the dress or not… the additional comments make you sound stupid…. if you don’t like the Obamas, why did you click on the post because you certainly didn’t have to.

Lori on

A $12,000 Carolina Herrara dress…dogs dressed up in diamonds, extravagant food…and today her husband will go out and talk about how unfair inequality is in our society. Priceless.

slawson on

She looks gorgeous and beautiful as usual.

LAW on

To all of those complaining about their tax dollars: Quit whining!! Every FLOTUS going back decades has glammed it up for state dinners. Did you whine about Laura Bush’s designer gowns? Hillary Clinton’s? It’s tradition and I’m not sure why all of a sudden it’s a problem when Mrs. Obama does it. I didn’t like George W. Bush, but I didn’t throw shade on his wife for following the same traditions EVERY FLOTUS has observed. Get a grip.




me on

Ok Maria, take it down a notch.

Jm on

She has obscure fashion taste. Sometimes her outfits work and sometimes they are very odd. She likes taking risks but a good portion of the time they don’t work.

karen on

Well let me say this she looks horrible maybe because she’s so ughhhhhh I can’t even see the beauty of the dress. People need to stop been so hypocritical and tell the truth. I’m black and I cannot wait for them ( the Obamas) to go away, just go away. This man is nothing for the country but thinking he’s a celebrity. UGHHHHH

LiLa on

Do all you complaining about Mrs. Obama wearing designer gowns for a state dinner, what would you have her wear to honor a head of state? Your daughter’s old prom dress?

Candi on

A bit much on the cleavage for a first lady…also agree, her posture is terrible, in all the pictures. Given our country is virtually starving, they should be ashamed of their lifestyle and celebrity spending and the image they are creating for our country. We all know they have no self-awareness.



ImALadyToo on

I personally do not care for her taste. I like dresses that have a more simple, classic look and lines.

Marie on

This is exactly why other countries look at us like a joke, look how we tear down our own over a dress? you kidding me right? She looks like a monkey? must be your face being mistaken for the ASS it is ANN.

Mari on

Just putting more lipstick on a pig …

lola on

Our First Lady looks beautiful!! I love the 2009 & 2014!

jane on

Us taxpayers didn’t like the dress WE bought, I am really tired of all the overindulgence of our First Family at the expense of people who are living on the streets just a few blocks away from the White House and all over what was once a great and respected country. Why can the Obama’s see how they are spending taxpayers money in such a greedy way. Stop acting like your Hollywood stars, stop spending our money on yourselves

Gwen on

Mrs Obama has the ability to take the most beautiful dresses and make them look bad. She does not know how to carry herself and doesn’t know what to do with her hands. You either have class or you don’t.

Faye on

I love all of the dresses however the McQueen dress suits her the best. I can’t understand why people in this country have to be so vile in their comments about politicians and their families. If you do not agree with their political views that’s fine but don’t allow your differences in opinion allow you to open your heart to hate.

Jane on

She is no Jackie Kennedy

Iona on

I agree with sandradee, none should have been an option.

Ick on

Oh my gosh, really?!?!? Yuck!

Pasha on

The first one from left & the third one are gorgeous on her. The second one seems a bit uncomfortable around her right breast & her underarm. Ouch, that’s got to hurt! The forth made her looks matronly, and the last one made her looks like a crazy opera singer!

Brooke on

The first four are lovely dresses. The Carolina Herrera dress with the big black belt and light blue skirt is horrible; like a bizarre Disney Princess dress.

Maureen Brown on

I don’t know which designer is who so I’ll go left to right. Far left is my favorite. She looked stunning, next the dress is okay but I love the hair, #3 is horrible in my opinion, makes her look pregnant, #4 is lovely but the necklace is a bit much, not too crazy about to “do” and far right, last nights dress was lovely but I don’t like her hair at all. That’s my opine, not that anyone asked for it~

Alicia on

Enough already! I understand people are upset because the economy isn’t that great, but to take it out on her is ridiculous. As many have pointed out, she’s doing no differently than any other first lady. When Bush was spending mega bucks on a useless war instead of taking care of home, Laura Bush was still wearing designer clothes. Where was the outrage then? We’ve always had people who have been hungry, homeless and jobless long before the President and First Lady Obama arrived on the scene. No one was bashing the previous first families. I get it. You’re upset because of the economy. For the first time in a while you’re struggling and you’re lashing out, but please be fair. It’s not his fault, he didn’t do this and he doesn’t run this country be himself. There’s enough blame to spread around. So the next time ANY public official is featured on a public forum, I’ll be expecting some major hate/upset to be spread, regardless of the political party… this way people will know if it’s really the politics you dislike or the color of their skin you dislike.


Thanks Alicia, nice post!! Jane, Mrs Obama has her own style as did Jackie O. She is not trying to be like anyone but herself and she is doing a damn good job of it!! Karen, what does being black have to do with you not liking the Obama’s? SMH! Such immaturity! Grow up!

Judy on

I NEVER care for her taste in clothes.

Louis101 on

The dresses are all beautiful however they just don’t seem appropriate for a state dinner. Our 1st lady should be more reserved on such formal occasions I feel. At least not show so much cleavage nor arm. The position demands respect but respect must be shown by her too. I did not vote for him, BUT will show him every respect add he is the president & she is the 1st lady.

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