First ladies first

They may have politically powerful husbands, but these ladies are fashionably powerful
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They may have politically powerful husbands, but these ladies are fashionably powerful
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It’s hard to find inspiration for your real-life work wardrobe these days. The media is full of images of style icons that don’t actually have nine to five jobs and designers clearly have much more fun crafting clothes for people who don’t sit behind desks all day. But what about all the women who spend their daylight hours in conservative offices, typing and phoning and blackberry-ing the day away? What about us?

All the focus on Mrs. O’s style has brought to light a key addition to the work wardrobe inspiration board. That’s right, when in doubt, channel an international first lady. Almost everything that Michelle Obama wears is not only stylish, but also conservative and practical enough for the workplace. She too knows the value of J.Crew to a professional woman. But she is not the only modern first lady that can teach you a thing or two about workplace dress. From Carla Bruni-Sarkozy to Asma al-Assad (voted the most stylish international political lady of 2008 by French Elle), never has there been a greater showing of modern professional style icons. You’ve heard of dressing for the job you want – why not try dressing for the job you’ll never have?


Terry Chan is a Canadian lawyer practicing finance law in London. She writes every Friday on style and fashion, perfectly aware that the next big thing is not looking like a lawyer.