Inspiration for the Day: Isabel Toledo

Here in DC, you probably best know Ms. Toledo as the designer of Michelle Obama’s lemongrass dress and overcoat she wore for President Obama’s inauguration speech back in 2009. If you’re otherwise unfamiliar with the designer, let me just say she has very unique designs (see here and here) that I absolutely love. I met Ms. Toledo and her husband, Ruben Toledo, this past summer at her book signing at the Corcoran Museum of Art.

Isabel Toledo is an inspiration to all women because she is the epitome of a risk taker. She’s not an outlandish risk taker, like say…Nicki Minaj, but she takes tasteful risks with her public presentation of self, and she takes risks with her designs; she’s even said that she takes years refining the same design based on her interpretation in the moment. She, like most artists, looks for inspiration in everything: I wanted to share her with all of you because too often women feel the need to conform to the norm around them. Fashion is the first thing people see about you—it should say something about YOU not the styles you feel you “should” incorporate. Fashion is a form of self expression. You should enjoy the clothes you choose to put on your body. If you feel relaxed in your outfit, you enjoy your outfit, then who else cares? Let everyone else be confused and amused—let your imagination be the only thing dictating what you wear. It’s quite liberating 🙂


Original header photo via (I altered with over-layed text), Ruben Toledo illustration via

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