Michelle Obama, Jacqueline Kennedy most fashionable of U.S. First Ladies

Published by adviser, Author: Katie Ellis, Date: February 14, 2013
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama arrive at Burville Elementary School in Washington, D.C. to address volunteers for the National Day of Service on Jan. 19.

Behind every great Commander-in-Chief is a fashionable First Lady. Over the years, First Ladies have become celebrities, advocates, and even legendary fashion icons.

Two of the most notable women to ever reside in the White House are Jacqueline Kennedy and Michelle Obama.  Although Kennedy resided in the White House nearly half a century ago, her contributions to fashion are still as notable as Obama’s are today, and likely will be 50 years from now.

These women have had to carry out their responsibilities as First Lady all while wearing the right shoe, and they have succeeded amazingly so.

Jacqueline Kennedy is undeniably one of the most recognizable fashion icons in history.  During her time as First Lady, she led efforts to restore the White House and took America on a tour of the restoration process in a television special that earned her an Emmy. Kennedy accomplished all of this while unknowingly becoming an icon in the process.

The man responsible for some of Kennedy’s most famous looks, including the Ivory Evening Gown she wore to her husband’s Inauguration gala, is Kennedy family friend, Oleg Cassini.  Her Inauguration gown featured what would become her trademark three-quarter sleeves, an A-line silhouette, and bow at the waist to symbolize her French heritage.  In addition to wearing ensembles by Cassini, she wore designs from French designers Givenchy, Dior, and Chanel.

The most iconic outfit Kennedy wore during her lifetime was the pink Chanel suit she wore on the day President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.  The suit became a symbol for one of the most tragic events in American history and now has a place in the National Archives.

Even after her reign as First Lady ended, public interest in Kennedy remained strong as she transitioned from the elegant suits that made her famous to the jeans, turtlenecks, and large sunglasses look she favored after marrying Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis.  Her chic new look symbolized their jet-setting lifestyle and even became known as the “Jackie O” look, in particular her trademark sunglasses.

Today, Kennedy’s look is emulated by women around the world and has even inspired dozens of style books dedicated to chronicling her fashionable legacy.

Current First Lady Michelle Obama is making a name for herself in the fashion world by wearing a great mix of high end pieces and affordable items.  Even before her husband became President of the United States, she was being recognized for her great sense of style in “Vanity Fair’s” list of the world’s best dressed people in 2007.

On Inauguration Day in 2009 the world took notice of her impeccable sense of style when she stepped out dressed in a bright green Isabel Toledo ensemble with classic Jimmy Choo pumps.  Her white Inauguration gala gown by Jason Wu is one of the most notable gowns ever worn by a First Lady to date.  Whenever she’s not attending State Dinners or meeting with world leaders, she can be found in relatively affordable labels like J. Crew, Gap, and White House Black Market.

Obama is a supporter of the fight to end childhood obesity and established the “Let’s Move” campaign as one of her many initiatives as First Lady during her husband’s first term in office.

Just weeks ago, the former “Vogue” cover girl attended her husband’s second Inauguration sporting a new hairstyle and a navy coat and dress designed by menswear designer Thom Browne.  The evening’s Inauguration gala showcased the icon in a dazzling red velvet and chiffon Jason Wu halter gown.  With her husband in office for four more years, the world will be watching to see what Mrs. Obama will wear next.

Jacqueline Kennedy and Michelle Obama are just two First Ladies in a long line of women who have become notable figures in American history.  They have made significant impacts in the world of fashion, and truly become icons in the process.  Their style and grace have made them two of the most loveable First Ladies in our nation’s history.


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