Designers who have made items for Michelle Obama include Thom Browne, Isabel Toledo, Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera and Jason Wu. Michelle Obama typically wears custom-made clothes at high-profile events, such as inaugural balls and state dinners.
Obama wore a coat made by Isabel Toledo to the 2009 inaugural address. For the inaugural balls, she selected a gown made by Jason Wu, who also designed her inaugural ball gown in 2013. Thom Browne designed the coat she wore to the inauguration in 2013. In 2014, Obama wore a custom-made gown by Carolina Herrera to a White House dinner for French President Francoise Hollande.
In September 2015 Obama chose a Vera Wang gown for a White House dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Wang gown was a diplomatic choice, as the designer is Chinese-American. Obama had inadvertently caused a minor controversy when she wore a gown by Alexander McQueen, a European label, when she visited China in 2011. Some American designers expressed dismay that Obama had not chosen one of their designs.
Designers who have made clothes for Obama often do not know when she plans to wear them. In 2013, both Thom Browne and Jason Wu were surprised that Obama chose their clothes to wear at inaugural events.