Stunning inauguration dresses chosen by America’s First Ladies

Stunning inauguration dresses chosen by America’s First Ladies


From Helen Taft to Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush, Smithsonian Museum of American History exhibition shows off inauguration ball choices of First Ladies gone by

Michelle Obama’s single-shouldered white Jason Wu gown from 2009 inauguration joins the collection

Speculation widespread over who the fashion-forward First Lady will wear to her second inauguration ball


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Glittering event: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle arrive to speak to supporters and donors at a reception for the 57th Presidential Inauguration at The National Building Museum in Washington tonight

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Donation: Helen Herron Taft, pictured right at her husband’s 1909 inauguration was the first First Lady to donate her gown to the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

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Elegant: Eleanor Roosevelt chose this simple floor length number for the 1933 inauguration ball

First Ladies Collection Mamie Eisenhower













Rhinestones: Mamie Eisenhower wore a pink full-skirted dress to her husband’s inauguration in 1953. The dress was covered in hundreds of rhinestones

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Own designs: Jackie Kennedy did her own sketches for her 1961 inauguration dress. Ethel Frankau of Bergkorf Custom Design made the white dress which had a strapless bodice and chiffon overlay. It was worn with a matching cape, picture right

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Keeping it simple: Claudia “Lady Bird”  Johnson made a departure from elaborate, detailed designs with a simple yellow dress and matching jacket by John Moore worn to the 1965 inauguration ball

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Bolero: Pat Nixon opted for a short jacket and canary yellow dress combination. It was designed for the 1969 inauguration ball by Karen Stark for Harvey Berin

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Recycled: Rosalynn Carter caused some outrage by wearing this long-sleeved dress to the 1977 inauguration because  the First Lady had been seen wearing it previously. It was clearly a firm favorite and did her husband no harm by suggesting she was un-extravagant

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Asymmetrical: Nancy Reagan wore an inauguration gown similar to the one Michelle Obama wore in 2009. The one-shouldered white embellished dress was designed by James Galanos. ‘She knew her style very well, and it was always simple and elegant,’ Galanos told the Los Angeles Times

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Possible clash: Arnold Scaasi designed this gown for Barbara Bush. The designer had already sold three so he called his other clients to ensure they weren’t wearing it to the 1989 ball

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Purple reign: Hillary Clinton, often criticized by the fashion pack, took on an uncharacteristic glitzy style with this gown for the 1993 inauguration ball

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First Lady in red: Laura Bush opted for this eye-catching Michael Faircloth gown for her husbands 2001 inauguration ball

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Getting it right: Michelle Obama chose a Jason Wu dress for the inauguration ball in 2009, left. The First Lady started the inauguration festivities in style yesterday opting for a simple and chic white shirt and black trousers. The fashion world has been speculating for weeks over who will design her gown for the balls tomorrow night

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Well-received: Michelle Obama’s Jason Wu gown from the 2009 inauguration was a hit among the fashion critics. There has been plenty of speculation about who she will wear tomorrow


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