15 Most Fashionable American First Ladies

Feb 8, 2016 by Sarah (Day Styles)

The First Lady of the United States is an American icon, representing the country on the world stage and helping to raise awareness for important issues at home and abroad. But she’s also a fashion icon, so much that you could almost call her the First Fashion Model of the United States! Check out the top fifteen most fashionable First Ladies. Who do you think will be number one?

15. Eleanor Rosalynn Carter

Eleanor Rosalynn Carter was First Lady to President Jimmy Carter while he served from 1977 until 1981, serving as his closest advisor and an advocate for mental health. In classic First Lady fashion, the clothes that she wore were very conservative, but at the time, she had striking looks that always complimented her strong facial features. High necklines and pastel colors were a staple in First Lady Carter’s wardrobe. Her 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. She frequently wore a strand of pearls around her neck, which is a very popular look for the First Ladies. A lot of the dresses and blouses that First Lady Carter would wear would include a Mandarin collar and button or lace detailing, giving her a refined appearance.

14. Elizabeth Ann “Betty” Ford

First Lady Betty Ford was wife to President Gerald Ford and served as First Lady of the United States from 1974-1977. A renowned women’s rights activist and public speaker, Betty Ford was frequently seen sporting different hues of green, and it was well known that green was her favorite color. At a State Dinner at the White House (there was no inaugural dinner in 1975), she sported a gown that was covered in very intricate beadwork and sported a Mandarin collar. There was a zipper up the front, which was open at a very respectable length, and it was all her signature light green that she loved so much. When she wasn’t wearing green, Ford was not afraid of wearing bright colors and would be seeing wearing orange, red, and pink. Betty Ford truly brought her own sense of style and life to the office of the First Lady!

13. Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison was the wife of President James Madison, who served from 1809-1817. At the time, there was no official title for the wife of the President, and the graceful Dolley Madison did a lot to establish the important social role of the lady of the White House. Although there are obviously no photographs of Dolley Madison, there are many paintings and portraits in which we can see her the clothing she would wear and how fashionable she was during the era in which she served. She wore high-waisted Empire dresses, which were narrow in the front but full in the back along with a raised back waist. The colors she wore were typically light with a lot of white and off-white (following the trend of the time, and color was only just making its way into women’s fashion). First Lady Madison also frequently wore hats, and if she didn’t have a hat on, her hair was pinned back and parted in the center with a few curls framing her face. It was certainly an elegant time for women’s fashion!

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