Why the first lady’s style matters most in American fashion – footwear news
As a new administration prepares to begin its term, all eyes will be on the next First Lady, Jill Biden. What she will wear over the next four years is likely to influence the way the public perceives not only her but also the leadership style of her husband Joe Biden.
Although not a real requirement, the position and tradition of the First Lady has long been to use the symbolism of fashion to translate, through the power of the image, attitudes, themes and general messages of a US presidential administration. Until a woman herself reaches the highest office of the presidency – and / or traditional gendered fashion conformities are broken by a president – this legacy will likely continue as it has for centuries. .
When Dolley Madison married James Madison in 1794, she traded in her somber Quaker outfit for a more ornate look of royal influence that helped her become a social maven in the Jefferson era. When her husband was elected president in 1809, Dolley hosted the first inaugural ball.
Jackie Kennedy’s stately, feminine looks may have been all the rage in the early ’60s. But they also forever sealed in style the fairytale “Camelot” legacy of her murdered husband. Even as the former first lady moved on to new husbands and a new look, it was her days in the White House, pillbox hat and white gloves in hand, that cemented her status as a style icon forever. .
Nancy Reagan’s sequinned dresses and buckled jackets helped define not only ’80s excess but also the celebrity weight of the presidency. The Reagans regularly dated everyone from Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor to Michael Jackson.
Hillary Clinton’s White House-era costume of power – even amid a public eye that scrutinized all of her fashion and beauty experiments and despite more personal controversy – helped establish the Clintons as the ultimate political couple. In the next administration, Laura Bush’s bright but modest skirt suits held her firmly in the role of the first lady as the first teacher.
Fashion has always played a role in the public opinion of a First Lady. But it was around Michelle Obama’s time that the fashion industry began to pay more attention to every event and release, with brands positioning themselves more strategically in alignment not only with the red carpet but with the White House.
More recently, Melania Trump’s outfit choices, from her campaign bow tie blouse to the Republican National Convention military costume (and let’s not forget the infamous Zara jacket in between) have looked like hypberbole from Marie Antoinette – but also sartorial puzzles for a woman who refuses to be defined by her fashion choices or her marriage.
As Inauguration Day approaches, Jill Biden has already embraced the tradition of wearing American designers – and young independents to boot. What and who she is wearing will not only convey symbolic messages; it could also give the opportunity of global visibility to the brands she chooses, as was the case for designers like Jason Wu with Michelle Obama.
Click to check out some of the best First Lady outfits in American history.