Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Morning Inspiration/The First Ladies

The events of this past weekend prompted me to take a look back at past inaugurations. What began as simple curiosity, turned into admiration as I looked back at the gowns, and more so, the wives of past presidents. I looked at their smiling faces, wearing their beautiful gowns, and realized that they had no idea what was ahead of them.

History has not been so kind to Mary Todd Lincoln, but how many of us could endure the loss of 2 children and having her husband assassinated while sitting next to her? What many do not know is that it was she who encouraged her husband to run for the presidency. After reading. "Lincoln The Unknown," written by Dale Carnegie, I have a profound respect for President Lincoln, and sincere gratitude for Mrs. Lincoln.

While their gowns are beautiful, it's only a  very small portion of their stories. These women endured assassinations, attempted assassinations, a civil war, world wars, a great depression, a resignation and leaving the White House in disgrace, a scandal that would end most marriages, and the list goes on. 

So many turned their position as First Lady into a platform. The second Mrs. Bush tackled literacy. Mrs. Obama worked to end childhood obesity and give our children a better future. Mrs. Johnson beautified our roads, and Mrs. Kennedy took on the monumental task of preserving the history of the White House. 

Mrs. Roosevelt is the only First Lady to go through 4 elections, and was truly an exemplary First Lady in so many ways. Below is one of my favorite pictures of her, taken when she visited Tuskegee University and flew with Charles Anderson, head of the flight program.

This is not about whether we like the politics of their husbands, just a look back. Of course the story of Mrs. Trump has yet to be written. But, I'm sure she too will have issues to deal with that she could never have imagined. 

I hope that as you scroll through, think about the stories of these ladies, and that you too will be able to find respect for them. 

I only pulled out the pictures of the most recent first ladies. If you would like to see earlier gowns, beginning with Dolly Madison, you can find them HERE.   

You'll see that their gowns depict the styles of the time. Enjoy :) 

Mrs. Lincoln Circa 1861

Mrs. McKinley 1897

Mrs. Taft 1909 

Mrs. Coolidge 1925

Mrs. Hoover 1929

Mrs. Roosevelt 1933




Mrs. Eisenhower 1953


Mrs. Kennedy 1961

Mrs. Johnson 1965

Mrs. Nixon 1969


Mrs. Ford 1976

Mrs. Carter 1977

Mrs. Reagan 1981


Mrs. Bush 1989

Mrs. Clinton 1993


Mrs. Bush 2001


Mrs. Obama 2009


Mrs. Trump 2017

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  1. I like mrs hoover's dress, kinda missoni in the 30ies. And the look of Obama to his wife...

  2. Thank you! What a fun retrospective.

  3. Thanks for putting that together. I am so very used to only seeing red, white, or blue dresses at these events, presumably because they are on the flag and, therefore, "patriotic" that I was quite surprised to see the yellow dresses from the 1960s. It's funny; I didn't think I was so rigid in my thinking about dresses for these occasions!

  4. I learned recently that Melania Trump's mother and sister sewed many of her clothes growing up. Melania loved to design them and then they brought her visions to reality. Fascinating! I was wondering if you would be researching our new First Lady's life and learn that about her. This First Lady's post is almost even better than that. I'd like to find some photos of what Melania's mother sewed.


  5. I really enjoyed scrolling through these photos! Thank you for putting this together for us to look back on the fashions and tastes of first ladies.

  6. Such pretty dresses. Thanks for putting the photos together in 1 blog post.

  7. I really enjoyed looking at all the different first lady gowns. Thank You for posting it.

  8. This was fascinating. Thank you for putting this together.

  9. Thanks so much, Rhonda, for this lovely retrospective. I am sure we all have favorites. Mine is Mrs. Bush the elder. The color, textures and drape are amazing on this dress. I think her gown is definitely the most flattering. I would love to know who the designer was as he/she definitely caught her best features.

    1. I read somewhere that she had no issues with what she called her mature body, but she wanted to show that she could still have style, and wear a dress that was flattering.