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Michelle Obama’s Stylist Explained The Meaning Behind The Former First Lady’s Inauguration Look

“What I want to convey most, though, is that this particular outfit is about the woman wearing it more than anything."

Posted on January 21, 2021, at 7:33 p.m. ET

Jonathan Ernst / AP

Former president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive at the inauguration ceremony for Joe Biden.

Many of the women at President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday showed up dressed to impress, stunning onlookers in monochrome outfits and beautiful long coats. Among them was former first lady Michelle Obama, who wore a matching plum coat, sweater, pants, and belt designed by Sergio Hudson.

Meredith Koop, Obama’s stylist, wrote not just one but two lengthy Instagram captions explaining the meaning behind the striking inauguration look. Koop said she considered many factors when coming up with Obama’s outfit, explaining that she tried to think through “every possible scenario”: “It’s cold, tons of people are watching, there are stairs, there are car rides, sitting and standing, on and on.”

“When MO returned afterwards, she said, ‘I was so comfortable!’ Literal music to my ears. I can pack it up and go home. If my client is comfortable, she’s confident. She can show up and not be worried about her clothes or the height of her heel and STILL look fierce as hell,” Koop wrote. “Beyond any symbolism I am thinking through or any fashion fantasies I may have, THAT is the essence of my professional relationship with Michelle. I have learned to respect her consistent sense of practicality and pragmatism (Capricorn) dressing her in pieces she can live, move and inspire in.”

Koop pointed out that while Obama was not wearing a pantsuit — the outfit was a collection of separate pieces — she was thrilled the former first lady incorporated pants into her look.

“I knew from the jump I wanted pants for her. Pants, pants, pants. Ah, the liberation of pants!” she said. “No skirts, no dresses. Practical beautiful pants.”

As for the color of Obama’s outfit, Koop said she wanted to go with jewel tones, using the phrase “wineberry plum” to best describe it.

“Nothing bright. Sleek, chic and modern. You can call it berry, wine, plum or burgundy. I’m calling it wineberry plum for the moment,” she said. “What it wasn’t was bi-partisan purple. That’s a cute story, but it wasn’t the intention.”

Koop said she originally had gloves, shoes, and a mask dyed to match the rest of the outfit, but ended up going with Stuart Weitzman black suede boots and a black silk mask designed by Christy Rilling.

“What I want to convey most, though, is that this particular outfit is about the woman wearing it more than anything. It is about her and what she means to you and to America,” Koop said.

“She is powerful and she needs to move. She is stunning and she represents what is possible. She is relatable and she is aspirational. She has consistently articulated over the years what has been in the hearts and minds of so many. She has taken a look at the rule book and turned the page. She leads and she inspires.”

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.