Michelle Obama is being hailed as the future of American fashion, but on her birthday, she chose a French classic: a coat by designer Sonia Rykiel.

For the Obamas’ whistle-stop train ride to Washington on January 17th (also Mrs. Obama’s 45th birthday), the First Lady wore a chic Sonia Rykiel black wool wing coat with a deep blue scarf. The coat, shown here in purple on the runway, is from Ms. Rykiel’s Fall 2008 Ready-to-Wear Collection.

Mrs. Obama does generally buy American—at Tuesday’s inauguration, she wore Isabel Toledo by day and newcomer Jason Wu for the evening’s inaugural balls. But the influence of Paris is inevitable, and when a touch of French style does sneak into her wardrobe, it is always impeccable.

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