Michelle Obama, who turned 59 on January 17, has long been considered a fashion icon. As a former first lady of the United States (FLOTUS), Obama attended a plethora of state dinners, red carpet events and shook hands with the world’s top leaders. Through it all, she has maintained her poise and looked elegant in every endeavour she has undertaken. So here are 21 of her top style triumphs during her time as a FLOTUS and after, too. 1. A memorable fiery-red dress on election night, 2009 In 2008, Obama wore a memorable fiery-red dress on election night. She paired the Narciso Rodriguez dress with a simple black cardigan. “The dress was utterly flattering with its black criss-cross waist,” Verena von Pfetten at HuffPost wrote in 2008. “And the elongating blend of red into black delightfully accentuated her statuesque stature. And mostly, it was interesting to look at.” Von Pfetten added, “Which is something to be said with regards to the wallflower role to which first ladies are usually relegated – a role to which I’d imagine Michelle Obama would not take kindly, dress or no dress.” 2. A floor-length Jason Wu white gown at the inaugural ball, 2009 At the inaugural ball in 2009, Obama stunned in a floor-length white gown. Designed by Jason Wu, the dress featured organza flowers. “No details of the dress were released before the balls and Wu did not know that Mrs. Obama had selected his design, which he intended to symbolise hope, until he saw it on television,” according to the Smithsonian’s website. 3. A controversial bright-red Alexander McQueen gown at a state dinner, 2011 At a state dinner with China, Obama wore a gown by British designer Alexander McQueen, despite expectations that she might wear a gown by an American designer with connections to China, The Daily Beast reported at the time. “I like to patronise American designers, and the vast majority of the clothes that I wear are [designed by Americans],” Obama said in response to the controversy. “But there are a lot of other designers that have cute stuff, too. I don’t think that I’m any different from any other woman, other than the fact that people see what I wear and then they talk about it.” 5 most dazzling Lunar New Year watches to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit 4. A Tom Ford gown in white during a trip to London, 2011 A white gown Obama wore during a 2011 trip to London remains one of her best looks. She wore the airy Tom Ford gown to a banquet with Queen Elizabeth. 5. Meeting David Cameron in a blue Marchesa gown with a statement necklace, 2012 Wearing a Marchesa gown, Obama greeted then-British Prime Minister David Cameron at a state dinner. “First lady Mrs. Obama always looks so chic and modern,” Roksanda Ilincic, who dressed Obama for the event, told NBC News at the time. “I love the addition of texture with the Tom Binns necklace.” 6. Thom Browne coat for her second Inauguration Day parade, 2013 For her second Inauguration Day parade, Obama wore a knee-length coat with a belt. The Thom Browne coat was made from men’s neckties. “She’s such a strong woman,” Browne told The New York Times at the time. “I wanted her to feel good in it and to feel comfortable, strong, feminine and beautiful.” 7. A silvery dress to announce the winner of Academy Award for best picture, 2013 Obama also wore a silvery Naeem Khan dress to announce the winner of 2013’s Academy Award for best picture. She paired it with sparkly earrings. 8. A billowy, blue Carolina Herrera gown to a state dinner, 2014 Carolina Herrera designed this dress for Obama’s French state dinner. “Obama has previously favoured younger, up-and-coming designers, but for this state dinner chose a veteran of the American fashion industry,” Cara Kelly at The Washington Post wrote at the time. “Herrera, a Venezuelan native, has been producing evening wear since 1981.” Madonna celebrates 40 years of music (and iconic fashion, too) 9. A detailed white dress at the 100th annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, 2014 At the 100th annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2014, Obama wore a detailed white dress. This Marchesa gown had a dropped shoulder and a draped sleeve with embroidered details that really made it stand out among the crowd of A-listers. 10. A Vera Wang mermaid-style gown at a state dinner with China’s prime minister, 2015 At a state dinner with then-Prime Minister of China Xi Jinping in 2015, Obama wore a dress that many call her best look to date. The off-the-shoulder, mermaid-style gown was designed by Vera Wang. “The first lady’s look – hair gathered in that vintage sultry side sweep popular on red carpets and the form-fitting frock’s silhouette – hearkened back to old Hollywood glamour ,” Helena Andrews-Dyer at The Washington Post wrote at the time. “It was a very Veronica Lake moment. The custom dress was silk crepe with a V-neckline, delicate tulle sleeves, and an organza pleated skirt.” 11. A yellow Narciso Rodriguez dress for the State of the Union address, 2016 Obama chose a simple yellow dress for 2016’s State of the Union address. The Narciso Rodriguez dress sold out online before the address was even finished. 12. An elegant Naeem Khan gown at a state dinner, 2016 Obama wowed the fashion world again with her elegant gown at a state dinner in 2016. The pale dress was another one designed by Naeem Khan. 13. A Versace dress at her final state dinner, 2016 At her final state dinner, Obama wore a glistening Versace dress. “ Bellissima !” The Hollywood Reporter wrote in 2016. “Michelle Obama attended her 14th White House state dinner – her last as first lady – and you can bet she made it one to remember in fashion history.” Meet Elvis Presley’s teenage twin granddaughters – who look just like him 14. A red coat dress at Donald Trump’s inauguration, 2017 For her final outfit as FLOTUS, Obama wore Jason Wu, marking a significant end. “Michelle Obama officially left her position as first lady after the inauguration on Friday, but her fashion legacy will continue to cast a long shadow on her successors,” Erika Harwood at Vanity Fair wrote in 2017. 15. A memorable pantsuit on her book tour, 2017 Obama sported a Christopher Kane black pantsuit with an eye-catching accessory on her book tour. 16. Sparkly, thigh-high boots to a book-tour event with Sarah Jessica Parker, 2018 She wore US$3,900, sparkly, thigh-high boots to a book-tour event with Sarah Jessica Parker. The gold sequin-covered boots were from Balenciaga’s spring/summer 2019 collection. She paired the look with a long yellow silk shirt dress from the same brand. On the book-tour stop, Obama told Parker that there was no larger meaning to her footwear choice – she just liked the boots. “They were just really cute,” she said. “I was like, ‘Those some nice boots!’” 17. Statement purple pantsuit on her book tour, 2019 Obama made a statement on her book tour with this purple pantsuit. “Just that sliver of a slinky, sexy, sparkly, curve-hugging piece set this suit apart from the kind we became accustomed to seeing Michelle wear in the White House,” Hannah Weil McKinley at Popsugar wrote in 2019. “While her outfits when Barack was in office were deliberate, crafted with the acute awareness of her obvious visibility (and the criticism that often came with it), this look – and the many others on her book tour – seems to be a happy departure from that.” Meet Elvis Presley’s teenage twin granddaughters – who look just like him 18. One of her most daring dresses yet at the Smithsonian’s American Portrait Gala, 2019 At the Smithsonian’s American Portrait Gala in 2019, Obama wore a Schiaparelli haute couture gown, which had a bust neckline. “The inspiration for the shape originally came from the crinoline, which is often found underneath couture gowns, but the real starting point for the overall look was the colour,” Schiaparelli’s creative director, Daniel Roseberry, said in a statement in 2019. “The acidic tone echoes Elsa Schiaparelli’s signature shocking pink, and we also felt that it matched the strength and energy of Mrs. Obama. It was such an honour to make this special gown for her.” 19. A symbolic, monochromatic look at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, 2021 According to Marie Claire, Sergio Hudson made the magenta look, which included loose pants, a polo neck and an ankle-length jacket. Her outfit perfectly complemented Vice-President Kamala Harris’ look, which was also purple, a symbol of bipartisanship . 20. Matching outfit by Lafayette 148 New York at the groundbreaking of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, 2020 Obama wore a silk green wrap top and matching pants by Lafayette 148 New York to the groundbreaking of the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. She accessorised with a Bychari necklace, the same black-owned jewellery brand that designed the “Vote” necklace she wore to the 2020 Democratic National Convention. 21. An edgy leather look while promoting her new book, The Light We Carry, 2022 In December, she promoted her new book, The Light We Carry , while wearing an edgy leather look. Her leather jacket and matching pants were designed by Palmer Harding. Grace Lee jewellery and studded boots from Stuart Weitzman completed the look. In the book, Obama wrote that Donald Trump’s victory “still hurts” six years later and recalled how the teleprompter broke before her first major televised address in 2008, but she had the entire 16-minute speech memorised. This article originally appeared on Insider . Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .