The spotlight is on the historical First Ladies of the United States as several recent events bring attention to their fashion choices. The movie Jackie, released on December 2, 2016 (USA) starring Oscar nominee Natalie Portman, brought back the memories of former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. First Lady of the US from 1961 until her husband John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, she has been hailed as a global fashion icon with her signature look of white gloves, tailored skirts, and perfectly coordinated pillbox hats. Channelling this Jackie O vibe, the current First Lady Melania Trump wore a specially designed piece from her collaboration with designer Herve Pierre for her inaugural wardrobe. Scroll through to learn more about some of the most fashionable First Ladies throughout history.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
A feminist, politician, mother, and activist, Eleanor Roosevelt is famous for dressing practically, accessorising her outfits with selections of fur and mid-calf length dresses. Moving away from the conservative and often restrictive Victorian clothing, her dresses called for feminism and well represented her independence.
As the longest-serving First Lady in history, she had several inaugural ball dresses. In this picture, she is wearing a floor-length rose-white satin gown designed by Arnold Constable for her third inaugural ball in 1941.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
With her timeless outfits and signature hairstyle, Jacqueline Kennedy is still a global fashion icon today. Her signature pieces include oversized sunglasses, pearls, shift dresses, and,of course, low, block heeled Roger Viviers. In addition to her frequent purchase of pieces displayed on the Paris and Milan catwalks, she worked closely with designer Oleg Cassini, the official designer of her White House wardrobes, to create her personal, all-American style.
In the picture below, she is wearing the historical navy trim collared strawberry pink, wool Chanel suit. This is November 22, 1963, the day her husband John F. Kennedy was assassinated. This suit has been frequently copied throughout American fashion and film industries, even being recreated by Italian designer Giorgio Armani. Today, the suit is kept somewhere in the National Archives in Maryland, although its specific location remains secret.
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama
Just like Jackie O, Michelle Obama was another First Lady with a distinct fashion sense that represents her persona. Mixing both high-end and street fashion brands, she showed her down-to-earth personality combined with formality in her always put together and polished look. One of her trademark looks was her sleeveless dress which received harsh criticism at first, many deeming her attire to be inappropriate. Yet she stuck to her style and along with her 50s style prom dresses, she showed women how to confidently wear dresses that society considers to be for the young.
The picture below shows the First Lady wearing a navy lace Jason Wu dress. As the man who designed both of her Inauguration Ball dresses, most notably her white one-shoulder gown that she wore back in 2009, and the dress she chose to wear last as a First Lady, Jason Wu’s pieces on the former First Lady holds great significance.
Moving away from her usual style of European designer pieces and sky-high stilettos, Melania Trump wore an extremely elegant, somewhat unexpected dress for her first inaugural wardrobe. Her designer Alice Roi revealed in an interview to Cosmopolitan magazine that despite recent media coverage, Melanie prefers a fifties, retro style that involves pieces such as black cropped cigarette pants, black heels, and a black shirt.
As for her inaugural ball dress, she collaborated with Frenchman Herve Pierre who moved to New York and is currently the creative director of Carolina Herrera. After designing Melania’s “architectural off-the-shoulder white crepe column” dress “with a thin burgundy ribbon as a belt”, the designer has now become an overnight sensation.
So far, Melania seems to have outfit choices that very closely resemble Jackie Kennedy’s. Will she be the future Jackie Kennedy? We’ll have to wait and see.