50 Years of First Lady Inaugural Fashion

From Mamie Eisenhower to Michelle Obama, take a look back at 50 years of fashionable first ladies and what wore to their husband's inaugurations.

18 photos
1/18
AP
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, wearing a ruby colored chiffon and velvet Jason Wu gown, get ready to dance at the Washington Convention Center during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
2/18
AP
Michelle Obama made her grand entrance to the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball in a custom made Jason Wu ruby red chiffon and velvet gown. Though you can't see them in this photo, she's wearing Jimmy Choo shoes. The whole ensemble will head to the National Archives.
3/18
AP
First Lady Michelle Obama is wearing a navy Thom Browne coat and dress. The fabric for the first lady's Inauguration Day attire was developed based on the style of a man's silk tie. The belt she is wearing is from J.Crew and her necklace was designed by Cathy Waterman. She is also wearing J.Crew shoes.
4/18
AFP/Getty Images
First Lady Michelle Obama, in a Jason Wu design, attends the Midatlantic Regional Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, January 20, 2009. Obama was sworn in as the 44th US president earlier in the day. Click to see what other first ladies wore at their husband's presidential inaugurations.
5/18
Getty Images
President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, wearing a ruby gown by Michael Faircloth, greet the crowd January 20, 2001 at the Texas, Wyoming Inaugural Ball in Washington DC.
6/18
Getty Images
First Lady Laura Bush jokes with daughters Barbara and Jenna at the Constitution Ball on Jan. 20, 2005 in Washington DC.
7/18
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image
George H. W. Bush with his wife, Barbara, sporting her signature pearls, have a high old time at the Texas-style Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball. Their son, George W. Jr., right rear, looks like he's having a grand time as well.
8/18
AP
Hillary and Bill Clinton dance during Clinton's second inaugural New England Ball in Washington on Jan. 20, 1997. This gorgeous lace gown was designed by Oscar de la Renta, a First Lady favorite.
9/18
AFP/Getty Images
President Bill Clinton twirls First Lady Hillary Clinton during an onstage dance at the Arkansas inaugural ball in Washington, D.C. Fashion experts Barbara Baber and Cliff Chally teamed up to pick this violet lace gown by designer Sara Phillips, a relatively unknown designer at the time.
10/18
J. Scott Applewhite
President George Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush, wearing a blue satin gown designed by Arnold Scaasi, attend one of the Inaugural Balls at the D.C. Armory in Washington.
11/18
Ira Schwarz
President Ronald Reagan smiles as first lady Nancy Reagan waves to guests while wearing a beaded gown designed by James Galanos. The first lady was highly criticized for her inaugural wardrobe which had a price tag of more than $46,000, though her spokesperson said the estimate is inflated.
12/18
AP
Rosalynn Carter wore this gown to husband Jimmy Carter's gubernatorial inauguration and again to his 1977 presidential inauguration. The embroidered sleeveless coat and blue chiffon gown was designed by Mary Matise for Jimmae.
13/18
AP
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter dance in front of the bandstand at the Inaugural Ball held at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington on Jan. 20, 1977. VP Walter Mondale and his wife dance to the left of them.
14/18
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pat Nixon, wife of Vice President Richard M. Nixon, wears her Inaugural gown at home in Washington D.C. January 20, 1953.
15/18
ASSOCIATED PRESS
This Jan. 1965 photo provided by the LBJ Library shows Lady Bird Johnson at the White House during the inauguration wearing a cheerful yellow gown designed by John Moore.
16/18
Style icon Jacqueline Kennedy wears a cape over her white sheath with puffy over blouse gown designed by Oleg Cassini. The gown is an off-white sleeveless gown of silk chiffon over peau d'ange; under the floor-length cape is a strapless bodice embroidered with silver thread.
17/18
NBC 5 News
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower with his wife, Mamie, and VP Richard M. Nixon with his wife, Pat, at the 1953 Inaugural Ball.
18/18
Associated Press
President Dwight Eisenhower holds the arm of his wife, first lady Mamie, who dons a pink rhinestone gown by New York designer Nettie Rosenstein, who loved to say, "It's what you leave off a dress that makes it smart."
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