50 Years of First Lady Fashion: How Jackie, Nancy & Michelle Defined American Style

For the past half-century, America's first ladies have led the nation's shifting attitudes toward style. We present a look back at the fashion that ruled the White House through the last 10 presidencies (12 Photos)

Fiorella Valdesolo on Jan 11, 2013 at 12:28PM

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50 Years of First Lady Fashion: How Jackie, Nancy & Michelle Defined American Style

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First Lady Pat Nixon: 1969-1974

Though the press often delighted in describing her fashion sense as square, the wife of one of our most infamous presidents was actually quite trend-conscious. During her time in the White House at the cusp of the 1970s, Pat Nixon embraced the mini-skirt and was the first incumbent First Lady to appear publicly in pants, indicating a major shift (towards comfort!) in women’s fashion.

No matter what the ensemble, femininity always ruled with Pat. “The Nixons are middle-American people who don’t want to be flash in the pan,” wardrobe mistress Clara Treyz once told Time. “They don’t want to be jet-setty or way out. Mrs. Nixon must be ladylike.” What might be most memorable about Pat’s dressing was her penchant for the color yellow—she liked it so much it was the theme for her daughter Tricia’s wedding and as well as countless of her own White House look during Richard Nixon’s presidency.

Signature: Real floral brooches, the color yellow.

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