inaugural gowns

Inaugural Gowns From Edith Roosevelt to Michelle Obama: A Fashion Analysis

I feel very scared, and very sad about the impending Trump presidency. I don’t know how to respond to it, or what I should be saying. This, and motherhood, are my only realities right now, and it is a very sad situation. Mostly sad for the state of this blog, which is becoming fucking boring and repetitive.

I thought a lot about a post I could write that would respond to tomorrow’s inauguration. In truth, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it because when the baby is not awake, I have an hour to myself before I have to go to sleep. I chose a blog post over a shower tonight, and I’m honestly not sure that’s the right decision. 

I was going to do a fashion analysis of Michelle Obama’s best looks, but Jesus, I’d need someone to pay me money to do that kind of image research. I was going to do a fashion analysis of Melania Trump next because there are far fewer pictures of her. Also, I don’t hold anything against her, she’s just a girl from Slovakia looking for a rich husband – which girl from Slovakia couldn’t say the same? I know she’s from Slovenia, what’s the difference. 

When I sat down tonight, and thought, what is the laziest possible option on the eve of an impending national nightmare, I thought, “Oh, I could do a fashion analysis of inaugural gowns.” So here they are, chronologically since Edith Roosevelt, the wife of Teddy. 

Theodore Roosevelt doesn’t look so fat here, but I think he got super fat later.

This was his second wife, she was hot.

Oh maybe it was Taft who was the fattie.

Helen Taft looks like she got attacked by birds in her inaugural gown. Either that or her husband sat on her.

Oh the latter, definitely the latter.

Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration looks like Trump’s current day cabinet picks plus the gigolo they hired to take care of Sonny Perdue at the afterparty.

The one in the military uniform, duh.

Yo, who knew Woodrow Wilson was a cradle robber? His wife Edith was very young when he married her. I can’t find a picture of her until Kennedy’s inauguration.


BY THEN SHE WAS A LITERAL HAG.

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Kittyinva: 1918-19 c. Evening dress by Sadie Nemser of cream floral and bird-beaded Georgette silk with heavily hand-beaded motifs. Pale pinks and blue glass beads trim along the neckline and hem. There is a straight neckline with silk straps. The gown is lined in cream-colored silk. Designer Sadie Nemser designed Grace Coolidge’s Inaugural gown. From E-Collectique Luxury Resale.

saviorswanjones  asked:

top 5 Looks™️ of HRC?

1. that pink pansuit she wore at the 1995 UN conference
2. her 1993 purple inaugural gown
3. her white pantsuit she wore when she accepted the dnc nomination :’)
4. that embroidered floral jacket/blazer she wore while casually strolling through central park with bill
5. every single turtleneck she wore during the 90s

The Martha Washington, Fashion Queen Post

Okay, so I feel I have to address an issue, I, as a thoroughly ignorant Brit, didn’t know until now.

WHY DID NO-ONE TELL ME MARTHA WASHINGTON WAS A FASHION QUEEN?

Now, granted, I’ve not had much exposure to American history, outside of my gran showing me Gone With The Wind, and the little I gleaned growing up from Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Simpsons, and National Treasure.
Watching Turn and having international friends who are enthusiastic about their history was a massive epiphany for me. Wait, there’s a whole new arena of history I haven’t explored? Sweet!

But on of my pre-conceived notions from all that pop-culture was that Martha Washington was a Founding Grandmother. You know…

Looks like little Red Riding Hood’s granny…

Look, granny! Carries knitting in one hand (possibly patriotic knitting. After all, Betsy Ross doesn’t just get dibs.)

Why Grandmamma, what big 1780s caps you have! (all the better to be First Lady with, my dear…)

From the paintings and iconography of Martha Washington, I’d have been very surprised if she didn’t own a rocking-chair. And I’m sure, in later life, she did. But that wasn’t ALL there was to Martha….

Wait, THIS is Martha, too?!


At first, there seems nothing to connect the staid, sensible-looking old lady in the first few portraits to this reconstructed painting of young Martha Washington, or the “Widow Custis.”

One of the first things I was struck by was that for a long time, Washington wasn’t really “George Washington” pre-Revolutionary War. He was the ‘Widow Custis’ husband’.

Now, according to Wikipedia:

“Martha Washington has traditionally been seen as a small, frumpy woman, who spent her days at the Revolutionary War winter encampments visiting with the common soldiers in their huts.”

I think the Widow Custis’ rather fabulous wardrobe would beg to disagree!

See the colours up there? Blue - especially that deep indigo blue - was tradionally one of the most expensive dyes available. No-one who could afford indigo is EVER going to be accused of being frumpy by 18th century peers.

Also - I could write a whole essay about Martha Washington and the colour yellow.

This particular shade, known as “Imperial yellow” ,was a big thing in both 18th century East and West. Like the fad for Chinoiserie that was prevalent at the time, this was a cultural fashion import from China.

According to an article by the University of Nottingham,

“Yellow, as one of the five colours derived from the Five Elements Theory surpassed the other colours when it became the emblem of emperor. It was thought that the emperor was located in the centre of the five directions and the centre was represented by the element earth and the colour yellow. “

The idea struck a chord with the 18th century west, and yellow became an increasingly popular colour in gowns for the upper class, gradually filtering down to the middle classes towards the end of the 18th century. Back in the 1750s when Martha was the young, attractive, fiery Widow Custis, this would have made one heck of an impact, especially in the colonies. It showed her wealth and status in one go as well as - her ability to source fabrics from the other end of the earth.

I’m also going to add that when marrying Washington, Martha’s wedding gown of choice?

Imperial Yellow. Plain and frumpy this ain’t. Martha’s practically wearing a solid gold dress.

(Reproduction on display at Mount Vernon)

And, keeping up that ‘indigo blue/purple’ is one of the most expensive dyes around theme?

May I present the First Lady’s extremely sassy wedding shoes? In purple silk and gilt thread - and with that ahem, ‘imperial yellow’ silk lining peeping out there?

to quote the excellent @americanrevolutionhotties, these were the ‘Manolo Blahniks’ of their day. And they certainly say “you are one LUCKY man, Georgie boy” in spades (although George was by no means a shabby dresser himself, the gorgeous red-haired dork.) Martha was 27 when she married him, a young, attractive widow  and businesswoman with two children and an incredible inheritance from her previous husband. This must have been the powerhouse wedding of the century!

Being an absolute costume nerd, I did a bit more research into Martha Washington’s wardrobe. What else did this fashion forward woman have in her linen press?

Well…

This gown’s an absolute confection! Pink, embroidered satin, muslin and fine lace sleeves - and don’t froget, touch of yellow in the florals there. Martha still kept her style!

It’s sometimes incorrectly named her ‘inaugural ballgown’, as it’s part of the Smithsonian’s First Ladies Inaugural Gown collection. Martha strongly disapproved of George being President and actually didn’t show up for his inauguration. She was at home, busy ‘packing’. (So you can add strong-willed and independent to the list of amazing things Martha is, too)

There’s also this rather fantastic gold brocaded ballgown. The colours have faded, but you can see traces of the original colour in the bodice -and can you imagine it glittering by candlelight at a dinner table?

In her later years, Martha adopted a simpler transitional 1790s style that’s mostly commonly shown in the portraits of her as an older lady; practical, in keeping with her status, but a little more restrained (as befits a sober older lady, by the standards of the time) Still, amazingly classy in silk…

(Also, plus-size, and still rocking it. You go, girl!)

Loving the button detailing, very chic.

Sadly, these are the only gowns that survive intact from Martha’s wardrobe. Martha was nothing if not practical and a lot of her and George’s clothes were cut up and distributed to admirers and friends. But luckily, Mount Vernon has a great collection of these remnants of finery, so I’m going to post the “scraps of history” here, with a few thoughts on what they might have been…

Gorgeous red brocade with blue and gold trailing flowers! You can still see the folds where it was pleated, probably into a robe francaise. According to Mount Vernon, the little circle you can see cut-out is too small to be an armhole. It was probably used by her granddaughter to make a pin-cushion.

MOAR IMPERIAL YELLOW. YESSS, MARTHA. WEAR ALL THE YELLOW.

And this lovely green damask - hey, there’s something that probably looked like the gown Martha wears in Turn! Full points, costume designers!

AMAZINGLY similar lace, saved from Martha’s wedding gown. The exquisite lace sleeves would be re-used on other gowns as an accessory. Again, 10/10, Turn costume designers!

one of my favourites out of the Mount Vernon collection. The peach and white and brown… oh, would look stunning on a brunette!  I can only imagine this in an open robe, or a robe francaise, or anglaise, or… *grabby hands at fabric* 

well, look who’s rocking 18th century fuchsia and imperial yellow together! DAMN IT MARTHA, GIVE ME YOUR FASHION SENSE.This is my other favourite, in case you couldn’t tell…

and finally, this gorgeous white handpainted silk. You can only imagine what this must have looked like in a gown.

Fashion history lesson over, kids. Spread the word. Martha Washington was an outrageous, daring, fabulous fashion queen.

anonymous asked:

I remember before the election I asked my mom who adores Hillary (almost) as much as we all do what made her first love HRC and she said that she knew she liked her after 60 minutes and cookie but that she remembered reading the paper in '93 and the reporter was making a point to discuss that HRCs inaugural gown was a size 8 and Nancy's had been a 2. At that moment, she knew she loved her. I don't know why I shared that but oh well :)

thanks for sharing! i love to hear from people who have liked her for so long

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Fashion Friday - 1st Ladies Inaugural Gowns

Mamie Eisenhower’s Inaugural Gown, 1953 and 1957 - Mamie Eisenhower wore a pink peau de soie gown embroidered with more than 2.000 rhinestones to the 1953 inaugural balls. The dress was designed by Nettie Rosenstein. For her husband inauguration in 1957 she wore a citron yellow dress with a princess silhoutte and translucent topaz bedding also designed by Nettie Rosenstein.

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Fashion Friday - 1st Ladies Inaugural Gowns

Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Gowns, 2009 and 2013 – Michelle wore a one shouldered white silk chiffon gown embelished with organza flowers with swarovski crystal designed by Jaon Wu for the 2009 inaugural ball. She wore a  red Jason Wu gown with chiffon and velvet overlay to the 2013 inaugural ball. 

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Royal coronation- Consecration- Inauguration gowns and dresses (as requested) 

  • Queen Elizabeth II (1953) and The Queen Mother (1937)
  • Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (2013) and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (1980)
  • Queen Sofia of Spain (1975) and Queen Letizia of Spain (2014)
  • Queen Mathilde of the Belgians (2013) and Queen Sonja of Norway (1991)
Michelle Obama's 50th Birthday Bash: PEOPLE Gets the Inside Scoop

Michelle Obama danced into the morning hours with a glittery crowd of 500 that kept the White House’s East Room bumping at the First Lady’s 50th birthday bash Saturday night.

Sasha and Malia Obama watched in awe as Beyoncé sang, while elsewhere, Paul McCartney danced and Hillary Clinton schmoozed. “It was just an incredible party,” the guest told PEOPLE, “chock-full of celebrities.”

And, just as she wished for, the birthday girl danced. And danced. Wearing a long red jumpsuit reminiscent of her 2012 Inaugural gown, Mrs. Obama arrived laughing and never stopped beaming. “She was enthralled. You could tell she had a lot of fun,” says the guest.

Smokey Robinson greeted Hillary Clinton with a bear hug at the North Portico door where she’d been talking with Democratic Party donors, while Bill Clinton chatted with Jennifer Hudson. Top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett was on the arm of NFL veteran and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad. James Taylor held court with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who later tried to get a dance with McCartney, who only had eyes for his wife of two years, Nancy Shevell.

“Sir Paul didn’t allow many people to come between him and his bride. He came to party!” says the source. “He pulled his jacket off, put it at Valerie’s table and then danced away with his wife.”

To fuel all that partying, there were mini crab cakes, fried oysters on toast rounds, roast beef sliders and champagne. When the birthday cake was brought out, John Legend sang two different renditions of “Happy Birthday” – the standard-issue version, then a jazzier take.

Among the other stars spotted in the crowd were Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Janelle Monae, Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Courtney Vance, Herbie Hancock, Samuel L. Jackson, Grant Hill, Alonzo Mourning, Ledisi, Emmett Smith, Star Jones, Al Roker, Steve Harvey, Magic Johnson, Billie Jean King and Michael Jordan.

Vice President Biden worked the room, as did the Clintons, who avoided the dance floor, our source says.

“They said there were 500 people there, but it felt like more,” a second guest tells PEOPLE. “Still, it somehow felt so intimate. And everyone got teary when Barack spoke.”

The President gave a “moving tribute to his wife, recounting the first time he laid eyes on her, how he was soaking wet and had on bad shoes but she didn’t hold it against him,” the first source reported. “He thanked her for being patient with him. You could tell he had married his best friend.”

Beyoncé, who brought her mother with her and wore a cream-colored and feathered mini dress, performed a mini concert of a half-dozen hits, including All The Single Ladies.

DJ Cassidy took over around midnight, Bey changed into slippers to hit the floor herself, and Mrs. Obama slipped upstairs. “Around 1:15, she came back down. She’d taken off her heels and put her hair up and that’s when the party kicked into another gear. Every woman in that place took their shoes off!”

During DJ Cassidy’s set, Stevie Wonder got behind a keyboard and played an impromptu medley of songs.

“At 2 a.m., there were the President and First Lady on the dance floor with a circle around them,” says the first guest. “It was Beyoncé and some of her dancers and the Obamas were more than keeping up. It looked like they got briefed on all the new moves. The First Lady danced like she was one of her daughters’ generation.”

Guests had been greeted by a “cell phone check” table where they deposited their camera phones on arrival and it was understood that this was not an occasion for Tweeting party photos or Facebooking details. So Ledisi played it safe, posting an Instagram photo of her feet at 3 a.m. along with a message that summed it all up: “What a night! Our feet hurt! lol!”