The Most Iconic First Lady Inaugural Gowns
Look back at the most memorable FLOTUS ensembles
Written by Atalie Gimmel
Mamie Eisenhower, 1953
Mamie Eisenhower, 1953
Jacqueline Kennedy, 1961
Designed by Ethel Frankau of Bergdorf Custom Salon, the dress is embroidered with silver thread and as no surprise, was built based on suggestions by the style icon herself.
Lady Bird Johnson, 1965
True to her role as a pioneer in the world of First Ladies, the politically savvy FLOTUS donned this coat, lined with fur and accented by delicate white gloves.
Pat Nixon, 1969
Karen Stark for Harvey Berin designed this satin number encrusted with Austrian crystals.
Pat Nixon, 1973
For her second inauguration Pat Nixon wore another piece by designer Karen Stark.
Betty Ford, 1975
Ford’s inception as FLOTUS was a rushed one due to Nixon’s resignation, so for her contribution to the Smithsonian’s collection she chose this green number, the gown she wore for her appearance as First Lady at the State Dinner.
Rosalynn Carter, 1977
The sleeveless coat and blue chiffon gown underneath were both designed by Mary Matise for Jimmae. This look made headlines not for its intricate design but instead because the First Lady had previously worn it to her husband’s inauguration as governor of Georgia.
Nancy Reagan, 1981
Nancy Reagan paired this elegant one-shouldered gown, designed by James Galanos, with a purse designed by Judith Leiber.
Barbara Bush, 1989
Arnold Scaasi designed this royal blue gown for Barbara Bush, which the First Lady paired perfectly with a set of pearls.
Hillary Clinton, 1993
The gown and overskirt were designed by Sarah Phillips and made by Barbara Matera Ltd., a theatrical costume maker based in New York.
Hillary Clinton, 1997
For her second Presidential Inauguration, Clinton wore this embroidered tulle Oscar de la Renta piece. The First Lady paired the gown with a matching satin cape, a style nod to former FLOTUS Kennedy.
Laura Bush, 2001
Texan designer Michael Faircloth created this lace gown and gave the normally conservative FLOTUS a memorable moment by choosing the ruby-red shade.
Laura Bush, 2005
First Lady Laura Bush sparkled in Oscar de la Renta for her second inauguration.
Michelle Obama, 2009
Michelle Obama, 2013
Again opting for a piece by Jason Wu, Michelle Obama paired her ruby gown with Jimmy Choo shoes and a Kimberly McDonald ring for her final presentation as First Lady.