Style Icon: Jacqueline Kennedy

by - 12:22 PM

Today marks the release of the formerly-sealed audio tapes of interviews between Arthur Schlesigner and Jacqueline Kennedy. I’ve already set my DVR to record tonights' segment with Diane Sawyer and will be picking up a copy of the book: Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy, to add to my already-massive collection of Jackie lit.

A lovely peach silk dress for her trip to India.
Revered for her classic, east-coast preppy style, Jackie O. has been an inspiration to many, myself included. My obsession dates way back, when in the 5th grade my social studies teacher assigned a research project on a notable historic figure of our choice. Visibly upset with my own indecision, she kindly directly me towards the classrooms’ small bookshelf where I landed upon a bronze covered biography: Jackie Kennedy. I devoured the book, scanning the photographs, entranced with the beautiful woman her picturesque family scenes. Come presentation time a few weeks later, I would jauntily walk down the halls in a brown sweater set and pencil skirt, assuming the role of distinguished wife and fashion icon. 

Less than two years after my obsession first began, the ingenious exhibition curated by MET superstar Harold Koda, Jackie Kennedy: the White House Years, stopped in D.C. at the Corcoran. The only way my Mom could drag me out was with a very expensive visit to the gift shop. The exhibition poster still hangs above my bed to this day, and I count the exhibition catalog among my most prized possessions.  

Jacqueline Kennedy is a fascinating figure in American history. (I refer to her pre-Onassis years, which I pretend do not exist.) Her struggles and triumphs in a time of great unrest explain some of her personal faux-pas, and account for her remarkable strength. Much has been speculated on her supposed indiscretions with notable men of the time, as well as apparent drug use behind the closed doors of the White House, which may all be true—yet she remains a graceful style icon. Her class, beauty and personal relationship with designers was unparalleled in the history of First Ladies.
At her wedding to Jack Kennedy.
Her wedding dress on display.
It is incredibly difficult to choose only one outfit for which she is best known , and which best represents her personality, for her choices were all impeccable: a feat that very few women can achieve. Her wedding gown was designed by the famed seamstress, Ann Lowe, a black designer who was the South's "best keep secret" in debutante dress design. (Her designs have passed through the conservation lab where I work, and I count myself lucky to even be in the same room as one of her historic pieces!)  Jackies choices reflect the sentiment that fashion is political, and kept close ties to designer Oleg Cassini--forging the lifelong bond between designer and model, understanding the benefits of an allie in design. When appearance is everything, one must make sure they have a guardian behind the scenes in their atelier! 
Jackie and the shift dresses!

At 31 years old, Jackie was the youngest first lady in White House history--and her outfits most definitely reflected her youth. Colors, silhouettes and textiles were all fresh and new! 

My most favorite picture of a young Jacqueline Bouvier. 


You May Also Like


  1. Is anyone else having issues with the video introduction by Caroline not working? Other than that, I am enjoying the book and videos. My rating would be higher if all components of the book worked. I bought the enhanced version to have all the videos.


Merci pour des commentaires! Thanks for letting me know what you think!