Michelle Obama is powerful in plaid while talking friendship, social media, and parenting

Elise Solé

Michelle Obama commanded the stage at the Obama Foundation summit in Chicago on Wednesday, wearing an eye-catching plaid dress.

The former first lady paired her look with strappy, black heels, $295 hoop earrings, and a $2,000 chain choker with white diamonds and sea pearls — both pieces by Jennifer Fisher.

Michelle Obama looked edgy in plaid while giving a speech at the Obama Foundation summit. (Photo: Getty Images)

With husband Barack Obama listening in the audience, Michelle sat for a conversation about friendship, social media, and parenting with her poet pal Elizabeth Alexander.

“I love my husband and he is my rock, but my girlfriends are my sanity,” said Michelle, according to People. “And when you live eight years in the White House, and you can’t even open a window, you can’t walk out on your balcony without notifying three people, your walk outside is you walk around the same circle in the South Lawn over and over again, because the thought of you leaving those gates requires 50 people’s attention, and work and convenience. … When you live like that for eight years, you need your girlfriends. And nothing is spontaneous. All our spontaneity was basically taken away from us. I even do this now, like, ‘Can I leave?’ I don’t leave until some 30-year-old tells me ‘Ma’am, you can leave now.’ I had to plan my time with my GFs that kept me grounded and brought me laughter.”

Michelle Obama (Photo: Getty Images)

Michelle also shared her thoughts on male friendships — or lack thereof — saying, “Women, we do it better than men. I’m, you know, sad for you guys. Y’all should get you some friends. Get you some friends and talk to each other, ‘cause that’s the other thing we do; we straighten each other out on some things, our girlfriends.”

She even name-checked her husband. “Sometimes I’m like, ‘Barack, who you talking to? And it can’t just be [Chicago businessman] Marty [Nesbitt].’ Ya’ll need to go talk to each other about your stuff because there’s so much of it. It’s so messy.”

Michelle also reflected on the unique experience of parenting daughters Malia, 19, and Sasha, 16, in the White House. “We could have spent eight years feeling sorry for them, that they were living in a bubble, that every misstep for them would be on YouTube or that they had to drive around in their teenage years with men with guns … that they didn’t have access to their father in a way. We could’ve felt bad for them and there would’ve been a truth there.”

She continued, “But our view was, this is their life, and we can’t apologize for the life they have, because a whole lot of it is good. So it was like, ‘Get up, go to school, don’t feel sorry for yourself. Yes, it’s hard but it’s hard for everybody.’ We have to raise our children to be the adults we want them to be, and that starts young. You can’t be so afraid that life will break them that you don’t prepare them for life.”

The first lady added that she was proud of her daughters’ composure in the spotlight, saying, “They have brought me so much happiness and pride, how they have carried themselves and responded to the pressures that they didn’t ask for, living a life they didn’t want but coming out on the other end as good, solid people. That happiness and pride can bring me to tears.”

Social media was also on the table, with Michelle advising people to pause before they tweet.  “When you have a voice, you can’t just use it any kind of way, you know?” she said, according to CNN. “You don’t just say what’s on your mind. You don’t tweet every thought. Most of your first initial thoughts are not worthy of the light of day.”

When the audience laughed, perceiving her remarks as a dig toward President Trump, Michelle said she wasn’t “talking about anybody in particular, I’m talking about all of us.”

Michelle has been maximizing her time in Chicago: On Halloween, she teamed up with Prince Harry (a speaker at the summit) to surprise kids from Hyde Park Academy, leaving them adorably speechless.

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