What the First Ladies Wore on Inauguration Day Through the Decades

When you think about the first ladies of the United States, their roles have varied throughout the years, but fashion is always a topic of conversation no matter what their causes are. Whether it’s admiring Jackie Kennedy’s iconic hats or criticizing Hillary Clinton’s pant suits, their fashion choices are analyzed — unwarranted or not.

There’s no doubt that the current first lady, Michelle Obama, has brought her own approach to fashion into the White House. She came out of the gate making a statement by wearing a white Jason Wu gown at the 2009 inauguration ball. At the time, Wu was relatively unknown,  and the moment — and that dress — launched the designer to national recognition.

Michelle Obama Inauguration Day Style
First lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama in 2009 at the inauguration ball.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

Obama’s shoe style has ranged through her eight years as first lady. She walked down Pennsylvania Avenue in pair of Jimmy Choo heels on Inauguration Day in 2009, and four years later, she chose knee-high boots by Reed Krakoff. Choo has been a constant go-to, but she’s been seen in other labels including Givenchy and Manolo Blahnik.

Michelle Obama Inauguration Day Style
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at the inaugural parade in 2008. Michelle chose Jimmy Choo heels for the occasion.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.
Michelle Obama Inauguration Day Style
First lady Michelle Obama wore Reed Krakoff leather suede boots and a Thome Brown jacket for the 2013 presidential inauguration.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

One thing is for certain: On Inauguration Day, comfort takes priority. Nearly every first lady opted for a short heel during the day’s events. Kennedy was seen in a sleek black shoe style and her famous pillbox hat in 1961, and in 1989, Barbara Bush wore a similar heel style.

Jackie Kennedy Inauguration Day Style
Jackie Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy at his inauguration in 1961.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.
Barbara Bush Inauguration Day Style
From left to right: President-elect George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, outgoing President Ronald Reagan, Madelyn Quayle and Vice President-elect Dan Quayle at the White House in 1989.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

The classic black heel seemed to be trend for the inauguration festivities, as seen on first lady Mamie Eisenhower in 1953 and Laura Bush in 2001.

Eisenhower Inauguration Day Style
President Dwight Eisenhower and first lady Mamie Eisenhower on Inauguration Day in 1953.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.
Laura Bush Inauguration Day Style
From left to right: Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton with Laura Bush and President-elect George Bush at the 2001 inauguration.
CREDIT: REX Shutterstock.

This year marks the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and soon-to-be first lady Melania Trump. The former model is fan of Christian Louboutin heels, and she often wears sky-high stilettos. Stay tuned to see what she will be wearing in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Click through the gallery to see more fashion from Inauguration Day through the years. 

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