February 7th, 2012
12:06 PM ET
The old adage … a picture is worth a thousand words. But it looks like the women’s retailer Ann Taylor hopes that picture translates into tens of thousands of dollars. In a recent email to its customers, Ann Taylor is highlighting First Lady Michelle Obama wearing a coat from its Spring 2012 Collection at a Let’s Move event last week. The coat, which retails for $248, appears in the ad under the banner: “A Fashion First.”
But Ann Taylor isn’t the first retailer to catch the attention of the fashionable first lady. J. Crew has been a bit of a staple for Mrs. Obama. She has worn its clothes on the cover of Vogue and as guest on the Tonight Show. But the first lady really upped the ante when she wore one of J.Crew’s cardigan and skirts in London while visiting the home of the British prime minister.
A long time supporter of American designers and not one to pick favorites, the First Lady has spread her support among a myriad of U.S. retailers. She donned an outfit from retailer Talbots on the cover of Essence magazine and a dress from White House Black Market when she appeared as a guest on ABC’s The View. A Time magazine article in 2009 even asked “Can Michelle Obama save fashion retailing?”
Retailers aren’t the only ones who have benefited from the First Lady’s attention to fashion. Indeed designing for the first lady can catapult a designer into the runway spotlight. Take, for example, Jason Wu who gained national attention when his design was chosen for Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown. Just this week, the designer launched his own ready-to-wear collection for Target, reportedly causing a mad rush for items in stores and nearly selling out on line.