Nick Verreos, fashion designer, "Project Runway" alum and instructor at Los Angeles' Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, was the host four years ago in Washington of the California State Society's luncheon celebrating inaugural fashion. "It has been a great journey watching her," he says.
He credits her with putting daytime dresses back on the map. After years of women favoring separates and jeans, Obama came along in her sheaths and A-lines. Then they were a trend on runways, malls and Main Streets.
"I know I always gravitate to the woman who's not the wallflower, and the first lady is no wallflower," Verreos says.
She also makes "conscious choices" about what she's going to wear, knowing that people will take note - and read into it, he says.
"Of course she thinks about it," agrees InStyle's Foxman, "but she isn't preoccupied by it. She thinks about it in the way that everyone else does."
He describes her as a working mom who has those favorite go-to pieces: the sleeveless dresses, cardigans, capri pants, chunky jewelry, flat shoes and waist-nipping belts.
It's nice to see that she often wears the same pieces, finding new ways to mix and match them, Hall says.
The moment she's probably the most relaxed in her style is coming on and off Air Force One. Maybe travel encourages those above-the-ankle pants and flowy tops? "You just know there's some stretch in those pants," says Hall.
If you look at her style over the past few years, not much has changed, he adds, but you can tell she's grown more comfortable in her own skin, in her wardrobe and in her role. Casual clothes, looser hair and more natural makeup show that off.
The fashion industry is looking forward to another term, giving another chance for her to wear a variety of designer names and brands and call attention to new designers.
"It's a big business in this country," Foxman says. "We're waiting to see who she can pluck for obscurity on the inaugural night like she did with Jason Wu four years ago."