As we get ready to bid adieu to the current First Lady Michelle Obama, who has wowed the world with her fashion sense during her time in the White House, let us take a moment to reflect on some of the chicest First Ladies of all time.
Here are the Most Stylish First Ladies Ever
How could we begin this list any other way than with Jackie O. She is still regarded as the most iconic First Lady in American History. Over twenty years after her passing, Jackie Kennedy remains a fashion role model for women around the world. She’s best known for her classic pearl necklaces, ladylike pillbox hats and skirt suits, but the former First Lady also took several risks in her time at the White House with pussy-bow blouses, cropped pants and off-the-shoulder tops. Jackie pioneered a new take on power dressing for women, opting for bold colors and sophisticated cuts, while still embracing major ’60s trends. In fact, one of the first trends she introduced was the dainty pillbox hat. She owned dozens of hats in different colors made by the revolutionary designer Halston.
Whether it was her feminine clutches and purses or how she styled silk gloves so perfectly, Jackie O. was a fashionista without a doubt. Another famous look of the First Lady was monochromatic dressing, oversized sunglasses and the styling of a statement scarf.
First Lady Roosevelt knew how to rock a floor-sweeping evening gown. In fact she was so enamored with a dramatic look, even during the daytime, she layered her outfits in beads, gloves and floral hats. Eleanor always look polished.
Although the First Lady was known for fashion risks, she always wore classic cuts styled with classic colors that gave her fashion sense a grace and elegance. One accessory that was a favorite of hers were hats. She often wore this accessory doused in flowers and ribbon. Eleanor also loved to wear fur jackets as soon as the temperatures dropped. Her style aided in her appearing as the poised and driven First Lady she was.
Mamie Eisenhower was a true testament to the term “lady-like”. From the feminine dresses she donned to the way she posed for photos. Just look at her in the photos above curtsying in embellished gowns and folding her hands atop a fanned-out dresses. Every accessory from earrings, necklaces and bracelets, looked not only perfectly styled, but also perfectly placed.
The First Lady was a vibrant spirit and always wanted her style to reflect that. She never let her age dictate what she could or could not wear and attended as many fashion shows in Paris as she could during her time in the White House. When Dior first debuted his “New Look” (a cinched waist and a full skirt) Mamie immediately adopted it as her signature style. Since pink was her favorite color, she tried to incorporate the shade into every outfit she wore. In fact, it was Mamie Eisenhower’s head-turning pink gowns that established pink as the feminine color is is known as today.
Lady Bird Johnson
During her time as First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson was never recognized widely for her fashion, due mainly to the fact that her successor was Jacqueline Kennedy, but she had her own elegant style that was still capturing. Lady Bird had a particular grasp on fashion and influence in the industry as she was always seen sporting the latest designers. In fact, she often used her work in nature and the environment to inspire many designers to incorporate natural elements into their designs.
Lady Bird always featured special elements in her outfits. Whether is was a contrast Peter Pan collar, statement shoes and a bag or full-length gloves that extended past the hem of her sleeve . There was something opulent about everything she wore. She is forever famous by the look of a gown accessorized with white gloves and fur.
Patricia Nixon was known for her admiration of all that glitters. She was often seen in a bejeweled gown, the more it glittered the better. In fact a glittering gold set is what she wore to her first inaugural ball. The First Lady was also known for the way she styled cropped short-sleeved jackets over floor length dresses. This was particularly memorable because wearing jackets to formal affairs was unexpected and “breaking the fashion rules.”
First Lady Betty Ford knew how dominate her signature look. Her look featured a chic bob,tailored jackets, an array of silk scarves and cat-eye sunglasses. She represented seventies style in the most elegant and iconic way. Betty also knew how to rock a statement purse, as she was often seen with a structured white bag that would make fashionistas today have closet envy.
The First Lady had a knack for polished separates and although her outfits were always modern, they were also practical and functional looks for her ventures. From a silk patterned scarf, to detailed sleeves or a tailored blazer, Betty was never afraid to wear what she liked and when she liked.
One of Betty’s iconic fashion moments was at a State Dinner at the White House where she donned a gown that was covered in lovely intricate beadwork and featured a Mandarin collar. There was a zipper detail up the front of the gown and the color of the dress was her infamous light green she loved so much.
In classic First Lady fashion, the clothes that Rosalyn Carter wore were very conservative, but at the same time she wore striking and sometimes dramatic looks. High necklines and pastel colors were a staple in First Lady Carter’s wardrobe. Rosalynn’s outfits were colorful, but demure with feminine statement pieces like pussy-bow blouses and long-wispy hemlines.
Rosalyn Carter’s inaugural gown was a bright piece of light blue and green with a matching jacket done up at the neck and draped open over her gown.First Lady Carter would wear would include a Mandarin collar and button or lace detailing, giving her a refined appearance.
First Lady and former movie star Nancy Reagan seemed to have brought red carpet style to the White House. Nancy brought glamour and sophistication. She was even recognized for having a signature color that became known as ‘Reagan Red’. The First Lady always seemed to go with glamorous and feminine details such as gold lamé over choosing boring neutrals. She often did so to express her vibrant patriotism. Even the late Oscar de la Renta once said she never made a single faux pas.
Nancy loved a coordinated set or details such as exaggerated shoulders, statement stud earrings and matched buttons. She wore designers such as Bill Blass, James Galanos and Carolina Herrera.
“Mrs. Reagan gave glamour to the White House, like Mrs. Kennedy,” says Carolina Herrera, who designed dresses for both first ladies. “Her style was very special, and she knew exactly what looked good on her. There was one evening when she was wearing a green velvet gown, and reporters asked something political like Iran. She turned around and said simply, ‘This dress is Carolina Herrera,’ as if she was saying, ‘We are talking about fashion now.’ “
First Lady Hilary Clinton’s white house style can be wrapped up in one word: pantsuits. However, even in the beginning, where Hilary wore pencil skirts and not pantsuits, the First Lady was known to carry out a color scheme. During her time as First Lady, she looked at every detail, often coordinating her outfits with Bill’s tie or wearing an outfit that complimented his suits with pastel colors such as light pink or mint green separates.
Hilary’s signature outfits have since become a bold pantsuit, often in saturated colors. Because of her liking to wear an outfit entirely in a single color, some have mentioned the First Lady’s fashion inspiration may be from Queen Elizabeth monochromatic looks. Although Hilary loved her pantsuits, she still impressed in her inaugural gown. Her first inaugural gown was a royal purple. The top was created from lace and draped from the belt was a velvet silk overskirt. This dress was designed by theatrical costume makers Sarah Phillips and Barbara Matera and her second gown was designed by Oscar de la Renta. Regardless of her outfits, she seems to always bring a signature look that exudes power and femininity.
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, the current first lady of the United States Of America, has been named as the most stylish First Lady ever to stay in the White House by many in the fashion industry. The First Lady’s looks have not only inspired trends, but anything she wears becomes gold and leads to spiked sales in the fashion industry. Her daring cuts such as one-shoulder gowns and knee-length outfits have made her a style icon of sophistication and class. Michelle’s distinct eye for detailed and one-of-a-kind pieces has had fresh talent like Jason Wu & Zac Posen returning to dress her time and time again.
When Michelle Obama first became First Lady of the United States, she immediately charmed both the general public and fashion critics with her All-American style. However, as her time at the White House progressed so did her sense of style and individual stance on First Lady fashion. Michelle’s looks became more colorful, bold and she quickly became known for floral dresses accessorized with belts. And although the First Lady has donned many of designer gowns and dresses, she is also recognized for her chic casual sense of style often being seen wearing J.Crew. Michelle Obama set the bar as a modern First Lady of sophistication and a real trend-setter in fashion.
Only hours away from becoming the next First Lady of the United States, we are excited to see how the White House will transform Malania Trump’s style. She is already known for turning heads on the red carpet and in the public scene as ell as having quite the hand in the fashion scene both in the U.S. and abroad. However, even throughout the campaign trails, we have seen the next First Lady’s style evolve into lovely sophistication and classic look.
So, who is dressing Malania on Donald Trump’s inauguration day? According to Women’s Wear Daily, two names are in the drawing: Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld. We’ll just have to wait for tomorrow to see who has the honor.