America’s First Ladies of Fashion
Here are our top choices for America’s First Ladies of Fashion. Our country was in the midst of a heated presidential election and a politically influential fashion season. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the campaign trail promoting their ideas to the American public. For Hillary Clinton, image consultants and stylists were hired, hairstyles were changed, and designer clothing and accessories were selected to package her like-ability and credibility.
This upcoming election will have a unique impact on fashion, perhaps in more ways than ever before. For the first time in United States history, we have a female presidential candidate. Not only is Hillary the first woman to run for president, but she was previously a first lady. Therefore, in this political race, there is only one true candidate for FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States), Melania Trump. How will either of these two “Firsts” affect fashion? We set out to answer this question when planning our fashion issue.
The president’s wife has a key role, representing the U.S. on both a national and international platform. Throughout the president’s term, the first lady is busy with her own projects while she raises awareness about current events and world issues. In addition, the first lady has become a fashion icon for women in the U.S. and around the globe.
How will this year’s historic presidential election impact fashion for the next four years? The first of two questions is this: will we have a new first lady or will we have a new first spouse? The change in terminology doesn’t come naturally. And if we don’t have a first lady, what will we have? A first man…a first gentleman…a first former-president? Regardless of what you might choose to call past President Bill Clinton, should his wife Hillary win, he definitely won’t be a first lady!
If Melania Trump becomes our next first lady, she will definitely maintain the state of high fashion in the White House. The former GQ cover model brings a contemporary look to the political campaign. Her attention to detail is impeccable, and she seems to love classic solid looks with complimentary colors. Often seen “shoulder robing” a jacket along with her signature knee-length sheath dresses, she typically adds a matching Chanel bag and Christian Louboutin shoes.
Some of her favorite designers are Valentino, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen and Michael Kors. Melania Trump has already brought her style and fashion je ne sais quoi to the world stage on the campaign trail with her husband. If her $100,000 Couture Dior wedding dress is any prediction of the possible inaugural days to come, we will be in for a spectacular four-year fashion ride. Melania, now 46, will celebrate her 50th birthday in the next election cycle. She is poised to be a fashion icon for the Fabulously50+ for years to come. Inquiring fashion minds want to know what this lady (first, or otherwise) will wear next.
On the other hand, if we elect our first female president how will her fashion choices impress the women of the world? Hillary Clinton was first lady during Bill Clinton’s two terms spanning 1993 to 2001 when she was in her mid-40s and early 50s. How do we remember Hillary’s fashion impact as a first lady…headbands, pantsuits and a myriad of hair styles? On the campaign trail at age 68, Hillary is still bringing flair to her signature power pantsuits, and she inspires many modern women to wear them as well. However, she can also turn heads as she did at one of Bill’s inaugurations when she wore a royal purple gown with a lace top and silk velvet overskirt. Oscar de la Renta is one of her favorite designers. Her outfits are expertly tailored and often feature a statement piece of jewelry to exude femininity and style. Her hair has been more expertly shaped and styled. This begs the question; does society pressure a woman in power to dress in a more masculine way? Or does the woman instinctively know that in order to be taken seriously she has to lose her “feminine” fashions? Either way, with Hillary as our first female president, high-end fashion will most likely take a back seat to the priorities of the Oval Office and matters of national security.
Fashion and Women in Power
It’s hard not to compare the current unique fashion dynamic to that of a Margaret Thatcher vs. Grace Kelly. Both were incredible ladies, but they were polar opposites in dress. One was a British stateswoman and politician who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, while the other was an American movie star who later became Princess of Monaco. No matter which style you prefer, they were both powerful women to be reckoned with.
Fashion has evolved immeasurably since America’s founding, and our first ladies have been instrumental in its progression. Each first lady brings her own special flair to the White House and helps to define an era. From American classics to bold looks from new designers, first ladies are trendsetters and style icons. Look to these fashionable first ladies for inspiration in creating your own legacy of glamour, grace and style.
We do not have to look very far back in history to remember one of the most influential first ladies when it came to fashion, Jacqueline Kennedy. While her husband, John F. Kennedy, was in the White House, and for years after his tragic death, Jackie was regarded as a fashion icon and trendsetter in the U.S. and around the world. She exuded grace and charm, and her stylish suits and skirts were always perfectly tailored. She popularized the pillbox hat and owned dozens of styles by Halston. Her oversized sunglasses and silk scarves were signature pieces. Elbow-length gloves, bows and capes also defined her style, and the result was unmatched glamour in the White House.
Dwight Eisenhower was U.S. President from 1953 to 1961, and his wife Mamie brought a genial energy to her role as first lady. She was known to attend numerous Paris fashion shows and reportedly fell in love with Christian Dior’s “New Look.” This style was characterized by a full skirt and cinched waist, which Mamie Eisenhower went on to make her signature style. She loved the color pink and inspired many other women to wear more of it.
Ronald Reagan served as U.S. President from 1981 to 1989, and first lady Nancy Reagan quickly became a fashion favorite. Glamorous looks from high-end designers epitomized the former actress’s style, and she was known to favor vivid red outfits that featured chic gold embellishments.
As first lady during President Barack Obama’s two terms, Michelle Obama is considered one of the most fashion-forward. Her style is All-American and can range from classic floral dresses to more daring, modern silhouettes. Her sleeveless fitted shifts show off her athletic arms, but she also dresses fashionably in pants and other casual selections by J.Crew.
And the “presidential” ruling?
These are just the fashion facts as we see them. We are not attempting to “fashion” political prose for one candidate or another. We sincerely hope that voters in this country are not casting their ballots in favor of their fashion preference! However, we do believe that this political race and its outcome will definitely influence the current state of fashion no matter who wins.