Fashionable First Ladies

White House styles, from Dolley Madison to Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama’s sleeveless dresses. Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits. Laura Bush’s sleek but soft pixie cut. Our recent First Ladies have created styles to suit themselves, and inspired thousands of American women to follow suit.

But not many people know that our First Ladies of yesteryear made even bigger splashes with their fashion choices. They were famous (and sometimes infamous) for their lavish outfits, their quirky styles or simply for being daring and fashion-forward. And their effect on the nation was clear, from the entire houses decorated in ‘Mamie Pink,’ to the case of Frankie Cleveland and the disappearing bustle.

Some First Ladies have chosen to support their husbands’ agendas through their couture. Others have forged their own separate identities through their choices in clothes and haircuts. But all have used fashion to tell their own fascinating stories.

By Kathryn Hempstead
Kathryn Hempstead is a writer and marketing manager based in Los Angeles, Calif.

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