A picture is worth a thousand words, and politics and fashion merge in the United States, raising as iconic the style of some of the first ladies. And in the country where in its political culture nothing is left to chance; the way to the White House is achieved with a message of responsibility dressed with an elegant style. Campaign advisers control to the millimetre the position, hairstyle and suit, both for the candidate and the first lady and cabinet.
An image of power that in the United States begins with Jackie Kennedy, the most famous and influential “first lady” in a matter of style. Not surprisingly, and after more than 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the dress worn by his wife in such fateful moment, an iconic pink suit of Chez Ninon (with a Chanel look) with matching hat (Halston) is preserved intact… However, there have been and there are other influential women or even more than her regarding style.
Discover the style of the first ladies!
JACKIE KENNEDY Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, a young Irish and Catholic descent, educated in American aristocracy; was the first “first lady” to bring high fashion to the White House. Wife of the President JFK during his brief and fatal mandate (1961-1963), achieved thanks to her innate elegance and good taste to be remembered as a fashion icon of the 60s and 70s.
Her unmistakable “ladylike” style perfectly combined high fashion and minimalism to get to be demure, feminine and sexy …Chanel, Givenchy, Valentino, and especially Oleg Cassini, the one who, according to Wikipedia, “designed the dresses that helped Jacqueline Kennedy to be the first most glamorous lady in US history”, were the creators of her look. A “Jackie” look which has served and serves as a source of inspiration for her successors in the White House.
NANCY REAGAN Actress turned into first lady; she was in the White House between 1981 and 1989 with her husband Ronald Reagan. Amid the splendor of the 80’s: fluorescent colors, oversized garments, disproportionate shoulder straps and impossible carded hair; Nancy opted for an extremely simple and formal style.
Therefore, while during the day she used tailored suits by Cuban designer Adolfo Sardiña, for the evening she chose gowns by James Galanos, Oscar de la Renta and Bill Blass. An image that eventually passed from the austerity to the “glamor” of Hollywood and that dressed in tailor-made designs; being deep red her favorite color and the most prominent in her closet, tinting multiple suits, gowns and even heavy coats.
HILLARY CLINTON The former Secretary of State with Barack Obama has spent half of her life tied to the White House; but her first step was as first lady of Bill Clinton, 1993-2001. As an example of practical woman, her “working girl” style had as main outfit pantsuits, although in her role as “first lady” she alternated them with skirts and dresses.
A functional style, mixing femininity and safety in which her hair was the protagonist, the most imitated and criticized. In addition, her constant changes of look, cuts or carded generated new headlines. Adamant that her simple outfits did not overshadow her work as a democrat, we owe the former first lady the revival of headbands and “scrunchie” (XL).
MICHELLE OBAMA The former first lady of African origin (reason why she will be in the history books), a former lawyer and mother of two teenage daughters (Malia, 17, and Sasha, 14); she is known for her spontaneity, independence and for the loving complicity with her presidential husband (2009-2017). Reflect of this, she created her own style. A look in which her bet on designs that bared her toned arms due to the exercise and that did not aim to hide her curves stood up.
Very comfortable garments, full of color and vivid prints. Trapeze skirts, line “A” dresses tight-fitting with a belt (the cut that best favors her silhouette), ankle or wide leg pants, combined with blazers and hip cut jackets; and sleeveless tops and dresses that show her shapely arms, define the style of Michelle. A style which she found in the “bar” silhouette and in American designers, her biggest allies.
And, although she followed the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and chose for her official trips clothes by the designers of the country that she visited (Christopher Kane in London, Missoni in Italy, Kenzo in Japan…), her favorite firms were: Jason Wu, Tracy Reese, Narciso Rodriguez, Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Carolina Herrera and Michael Kors. But also she did not hide her weakness for more or less affordable firms like J. Crew and other directly “low cost” as GAP or H&M.
MELANIA KNAUSS TRUMP Current first lady of the United States, this former model from Slovenia and businesswoman (failed), is the most atypical “first lady” of the United States. Possessing an enviable slim figure, she has been forced to quit sensuality to her looks betting on sobriety and sophistication. Thus, the evolution of her style throughout the campaign to reaching the first lady has shown her fetish clothes.
Fitted long-midi dresses or tight-fitting with belts to define her wonderful silhouette, accompanied by coats or striking volumes to subtract prominence to her body. Simple asymmetrical “jumpsuits” or with ingenious cuts. Without prints or stridency, she alternates easily the “color block” both in pastel and in vibrant tones; being white her favorite tone. To complete her looks, she uses Christian Louboutain stilettos, in most cases.
What is clear is that although she still has plenty of time to define her “ladylike” style inspired in Jackie Kennedy; this will not be a bed of roses. As many great American designers who dressed Michelle Obama said that due to a matter of principle and political ideology, they will not dress the elected first lady. Among others: Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Marc Jacobs, Joseph Altuzarra, Thakoon and Donna Karan.
However, this does not seem to worry Melania too much, since in most of her appearances, she has opted to choose designs of European firms. Making clear that the refusal of the US firms to dress her is not a problem; because she has enough money to pay for the clothes she wants to use, without resorting to the exchange.
Besides having the money to buy any “outfit” of these designers, do we need to expose our political ideas? Is not democracy about accepting what the majority vote? Should fashion designers take sides?
Images courtesy of zimbio.com
Translated by: Raquel Sanchez