Michelle Obama has become known for her fantastic, unique sense of style. Whether it’s an affordable dress from Target or a stunning Jason Wu gown, the first lady’s sartorial choices are typically lovely and well-suited for her body type and personality.
That said, there is one item she wishes she’d never worn in public: shorts.
On Tuesday, Obama was a guest on BET’s “106 & Park” and an audience member asked her about her biggest fashion regret.
“I am kind of always happy with what I’m wearing, I think,” she said. “Sometimes I forget I’m the first lady and I’m running around in shorts. I know the first time we went on a family vacation, I had shorts on getting off of Air Force One and that created a huge stink because people were like, ‘She’s wearing shorts getting off of Air Force One!’
And I thought, ‘What? We’re on vacation!’ It was hot!” She added, “So I’ve avoided shorts getting off of Air Force One.”
Obama is referring to Aug. 16, 2009, when she went on a family trip to the Grand Canyon. It was the hottest month of the summer, and while the first lady has a penchant for sweet sundresses, a bouncy frock may not have been comfortable to wear at the notoriously windy national park.
Instead, she opted for shorts; a tank top with an open, button-down shirt; and sneakers. Should she have worn pants to avoid having her photo taken in shorts? Opted for a longer pair? Because of all the fuss that was made, Obama said she’s steered clear of wearing shorts ever since.
But some stylists have defended her style choice. “A love of fashion means never having to say you’re sorry,” celebrity stylist and fashion expert Robert Verdi tells Yahoo Shine.
“Michelle Obama is like our mom and she’s on vacation. I don’t think she should get flack for it. [She] has been able to do so much for emerging designers and for moms who want to feel great. She has some normalcy, but she always puts herself together and that’s inspiring.”
The first lady’s outfit is admittedly more casual than most ensembles worn by former first ladies, but Obama seems to be more relaxed than her predecessors.
She certainly stuns in elegant formal attire when the occasion calls for it, but she also feels comfortable letting her guard down and wearing more casual garments. Unlike some previous first ladies who exclusively wore designer outfits, Obama stands out for wearing big chain retailers like H&M, the Gap, and Talbots.
Celebrity stylist June Ambrose refers to the first lady as a style pioneer. “She’s bought grace, sass and class to the White House! Women from around the world are breaking rules because of her daring approach [to fashion].”
If you’re still not convinced that the first lady is down to earth, there’s more proof.
Another audience member asked her what she missed most about her life before moving into the White House.
“I long to walk out that front door, go to CVS, and buy some toothpaste and nobody would notice me,” said Obama.
She’s tried sneaking out in a baseball cap in the past but says it’s getting increasingly harder not to be recognized.
Wearing shorts on vacation and shopping for her own toothpaste? Maybe some famous people really are just like us after all. “Shorts or no shorts, she’s a fashion killer and I love her!” Verdi says.