At 31, she was the youngest First Lady since Frances Cleveland; and she was known for her love of arts and culture and as an international style icon. And with good reason. Today, we explore the life of Jackie Kennedy, and take some style tips from the stylish first lady that we all love.
Born in 1929 in New York, Jackie Bouvier attended George Washington University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and French after studying abroad for a year at the University of Grenoble and at the Sorobonne in Paris.
A creative writer and avid reader meant that Jacqueline Bouvier was writing essays, stories and poetry as a child; her work was often printed in newspapers. At high school, she won the literature award given to outstanding student writer in her graduating class for a cartoon series she drew. During her senior year, she also won the prestigous Prix de Paris contest sponsored by Vogue. The prize, a years internship with 6 months in New York and 6 months in Paris as junior editor of the magazine was a great opportunity. However, Jackie’s mother didn’t want her to leave the country again so soon. After turning down the honor, she became the Inquiring photographer girl for the Washington Times Herald.
After meeting then congressman John Kennedy in 1952, they married on the 12th September 1953 after he was elected to the Senate. Her dress, designed by African American Ann Lowe featured a portrait neckline, bouffant skirt and interwoven bands. Made with Ivory silk taffeta and covered in wax flowers it was made in a week and a half after a flood in the studio destroyed the original. Accessorised with a lace veil belonging to Jackie grandmother, held in place with a lace and orange blossom tiara it was the start of the world seeing Jackie as the style icon that she was.
In 1960, John was elected as president. After moving into the White House, Jackie started to renovate and collect antique furniture. She adored arts and culture, and started to grow these within the US. Known for her style, grace and elegance; here’s some style tips we can all get from Jackie to be inspired.
Pillbox hats and matching suits
The pink Chanel suit is probably the most famous outfit for Jackie. She wore this on the unfortunate day that John Kennedy was assassinated, but this was a style staple of hers. Usually in pastel colours, with a matching pillbox hat the look is chic, stylish and elegant. Her hats were designed by Halston, he reached great fame after Jackie wore one of his hats to the presidential inauguration in 1961.
Jackie was often seen in oversized sunglasses and simple shift dresses. Having one colour across your clothing, handbag and headscarf can really pull your look together, especially if worn in white. The look is fresh, and kept modern by adding some large shades. It’s a perfect look for spring and summer.
Strapless gowns and elbow length gloves
I love wearing long gloves with a beautiful evening gown and it’s something that Jackie loved too. Everyday she was seen with her signature gloves, and at black tie events she wore satin elbow length gloves alongside her evening wear. This easily takes your outfit to the next level, so next time you have somewhere formal to go, team this with some opera gloves in black or white.
After John was assassinated on the 22nd November 1963, Jackie removed herself from the public eye after his funeral. She went on to remarry long term friend Aristotle Onassis in 1968. A wealthy shipping magnate, he was able to provide the privacy she desired.
When Jackie passed away in 1994, she was interred alongside president Kennedy.
Jackie lived life her own way, and never hid what she was passionate about. She was stylish, classy and elegant and had her own style. Since writing this post, I’ve been wearing pastel outfits myself, which is a lovely change for me. I hope you become inspired too.