Michelle Obama: A Year as the First Lady

President Barack Obama may have been inaugurated a year ago today, but his wife Michelle Obama also captivated the country with her arrival at the White House.

In the intervening year, Michelle Obama put her own stamp on her position as first lady -- a job that is at once heavy with responsibility, yet at the same time, greatly undefined -- all the while getting the Obama's two children used to life in the nation's most famous home and serving as an inspiration to many women across the country.

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Since her husband entered office, the first lady has attended over 200 events at the White House, visited 14 states and eight countries. Last week, she declared her first year a success.

"We're proud of our first lady," Laura Bush's former chief of staff Anita McBride said. "We want for them to be successful. We want them to represent beautifully around the world and also to be a role model for people in the country and particularly for children."

The Cover Girl

From the beginning, Obama focused her energies on children, her own as well as the nation's, and military families. But with everything she did, the media often kept an eye on her signature style, making her a regular on magazine covers and fashion blogs. People magazine declared her one of the "50 Most Beautiful" and in June, the Council of Fashion Designers of America honored her for her contributions to the fashion industry. She did not attend the ceremony, but taped a message for the audience at the gala.

"This past year has been an extraordinary time for me," Obama said, "On behalf of women everywhere, I want to thank you for making fashion liberating, inspiring, but most of all, fun."

Michelle Obama has favored belted cardigans and sleeveless sheathes over tradition Washington wear. The first lady embraces high end designers like Jason Wu, as well as more functional fashions from moderately priced stores like J.Crew.

"She doesn't dress like a first lady," Washington Post Fashion Editor Robin Givhan, who wrote the book "Michelle: Her First Year as First Lady," told "Good Morning America." I think she's changing that definition...She looks like someone that you would know as opposed to someone who looks like there's a wax statue of her somewhere."

Obama has a natural familiarity that helps her communicate so well with the people, Givhan said.

"I think it helps her to relate more to people at large, because I think women look at her and they see more of themselves in her than they would, perhaps, someone who dressed more like a traditional first lady," she said.

The Mother in Chief

Her top priority when she arrived in the White House was to help her children settle into their new, extraordinary surroundings.

She says her daughters, Malia and Sasha, are happy in their new home, thanks to their mother and the newest member of the family: their dog Bo.

"The thing that made her the happiest was that she could look at her girls and they were sane," Givhan said, reflecting on a roundtable Michelle Obama recently held with reporters. "So, in that regard, the mom in chief was very basic. It was to protect those girls and make sure that they got settled in Washington."

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