We could never ignore the stylish first ladies. In the case of the 10 women here — Michelle Obama, Jackie Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and Eleanor Roosevelt all included — we were completely smitten.
These women redefined power dressing during their time in the White House, proving their confidence through fashion-forward outfits.
Whether they were slipping into a gown for the inaugural ball or just giving a speech in a colorful suit, there was one common thread: these first ladies knew (or know) how to get noticed and make a memorable, sophisticated statement —now isn’t that what politics is all about?
Eleanor Roosevelt -Years as First Lady: 1933-1945
Her Look: She wore the heck out of a floor-sweeping evening gown and always polished off her daytime outfits with beads, gloves, or a floral hat.
Mamie Eisenhower -Years as First Lady: 1953-1961
Her Look: Even the way Mamie wore her dresses was princess-like. She knew how to pose, curtsying in embellished gowns and folding her hands atop a fanned-out dress while pictured sitting down. Every accessory looked not only perfectly matched but also perfectly placed.
Jacqueline Kennedy -Years as First Lady: 1961-1963
Her Look: Though her time in the White House was short, Jackie Kennedy was not short of influence. She pioneered a new take on power dressing, opting for bold colors and sophisticated cuts, while still embracing major ’60s trends. Whether it was the delicate way she clutched her purse or how she fastened her pillbox hat just so, Jackie O. was a clear fashion girl, through and through.
Lady Bird Johnson -Years as First Lady: 1963-1969
Her Look: Her outfits always felt special. Whether it was a contrast Peter Pan collar, accented by coordinated shoes and a bag or full-length gloves that extended past the hem of her sleeve and elongated her coat, there was something opulent about everything she wore.
Pat Nixon -Years as First Lady: 1969-1974
Her Look: Pat loved a bejeweled gown and wore this glittering gold set to her first inaugural ball. More than anything, she loved to slip into fancy dresses, but she wore plenty of cropped short-sleeved jackets over dresses too.
Betty Ford -Years as First Lady: 1974-1977
Her Look: Betty loved polished separates, and her outfits often veered on the modern, tomboy side. Whether it was a silk patterned scarf, furry sleeves, or a crisply tailored blazer, Betty added whatever she liked onto her outfits and carried herself with confidence.
Rosalynn Carter -Years as First Lady: 1977-1981
Her Look: Rosalynn’s outfits were colorful but demure. She fancied a pussy-bow blouse and a long hemline, and many of her dresses featured feminine details like pleating or a waist-defining cinch.
Nancy Reagan -Years as First Lady: 1981-1989
Her Look: Nancy loved a coordinated set or a fancy outfit with exaggerated shoulders and shine. She thought about all the little details, selecting stud earrings that perfectly matched the buttons on her blouse or popping a crisp white collar from under her cardigan.
Hillary Clinton -Years as First Lady: 1993-2001
Her Look: Even when it was pencil skirts, not pantsuits, Hillary loved to carry out a color scheme. During her time as first lady, she pulled out all the stops, coordinating her outfit with Bill’s tie or adding lightness to his dark suit with sugar-pink or mint-green separates.
Michelle Obama -Years as First Lady: 2009-present
Her Look: Michelle has worn her fair share of show-stealing gowns, some even splashed with prints or saturated in bold color. But we’ll always picture her in an A-line silhouette, kitten heels, and hoop earrings — her go-to ensemble, usually by way of a favorite American designer.