From the first days on a campaign trail to the final days living in the White House, the First Ladies of the United States have attracted attention in numerous ways. Both historic and modern First Ladies have harnessed the power of fashion to build identity and inform Americans. In conjunction with our exhibition “Making Their Mark,” we present a distinguished panel to discuss and examine the fashions of America’s First Ladies through conversation and photos. Moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway, panelists include Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology; Lisa Kathleen Graddy, Deputy Chair and Chief Curator of Political History and the First Ladies Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of American History; and Tracy Reese, a fashion designer who has designed for First Lady Michelle Obama. Presented in partnership with the White House Historical Association.
Tuesday, September 30, at 7 p.m. in the William G. McGowan Theater
The discussion will be streamed live on YouTube.
“Photograph of Betty Ford, Frankie Welch, the designer of the gown being donated, and S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, with the gown Betty Ford is donating in the First Ladies Hall at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of History and Technology on 6/24/1976."
This sequined chiffon gown embroidered in a chrysanthemum pattern was her State Dinner Dress in 1975.
Courtesy of the Gerald R. Ford Library. National Archives Identifier: 7347186
Fascinated by First Ladies’ Fashion? Don’t miss the First Ladies’ Fashions panel moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway on Wednesday September 30th at the National Archives!
#DCFashionWeek Opens Tonight at usnatarchives! Don’t forget that Perfect Hat!
In New York, creations of the country’s foremost milliners for the November to January season are previewed. Ranging from chic miniature pillboxes to resplendent toques and turbans, the mood is appropriately festive.
DC Fashion Week is finally here!
On Wednesday, September 24, the opening night event will be held at the National Archives, and Wednesday September 30th we will be hosting a panel on First Ladies Fashions moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway. Be sure to follow along with all of the Fashion Week activities, programs, and exhibits on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, as we bring the fashion from the Archives to you!
Our last week in Six Weeks of Style at the National Archives is one of the grooviest weeks yet, and we kick it off with the signing of the Equal Rights Amendment. This controversial bill, which was first introduced to Congress in 1923, finally passed in both houses of Congress in 1972. When it came to the deadline for ratification by the state legislatures ten years later, however, it was three states short of the 38 and was never ratified. The Equal Rights Resolution is currently on display at the National Archives in the Records of Rights exhibit. Courtesy of the Jimmy Carter Library.
National Archives Identifier 181970
London designers show Fall Fashions in this 1967 Universal News clip. Featured are capes, high collars, and highway-robber outfits, complete with mask and two flint-guns. More practical options include black tunics and long, V-necked white wools for evening.
To read more about the fashion in this news reel, visit the Unwritten Record blog.
"Jenny on the job - Wears styles designed for Victory"
"Jenny on the Job" was a series of posters issued by the Public Health Services in 1943 created by artist Kula Robbins. This specific poster is titled "Jenny on the Job - Wears styles designed for victory", depicting what women working in the factories and around machines were expected to wear.
In today’s Pieces of History post, you can read more about how women’s pivotal role in the workforce during WWII greatly influence the fashion trends of the decade.
National Archives Identifier: 514684.
At ease, soldier, it’s DC Fashion Week!
This stylish WAC appears courtesy of The Pleasure of Your Company (1970), an Army training film for the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), which covered many pressing fashion & etiquette questions for WACs watching the film, including:
- Can I wear a mini skirt and jewelry when out of uniform?
- Who opens the door first when not in uniform?
- If I go out on a dinner date, who orders? (Hint: It’s not the lady!)
The Pleasure of Your Company, stands as an artifact of an American military and society that were to undergo sweeping changes over the following decade. By the end of the 1970s, the WAC would be integrated into the rest of the Army and society would be on its way to treating women much differently in the workplace. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how far we have come until we take a look back at the films of the past.