Today, Jackie Kennedy Onassis would have been 81 years old. While I’d be the first to readily admit that the lady strikes me as rather self-involved, she does camouflage it with her own brand of charm and style. I love how she always looks so put-together in pictures (even the candid ones). She is not a great beauty – I’d select Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Charlotte Casiraghi as my favorite beauties of all time. Jackie, meanwhile, has incredible appeal to me and there is something about her that makes people want to watch her every move. Other people are fascinated by Elvis or Princess Diana; my idolatry is reserved for the Romanovs and for Jackie O.

As a birthday tribute, I’ve chosen my favorite colored pictures of Jackie. These do not include her official portrait as First Lady or Ron Gallela’s windblown New York photo. I chose the relatively uncirculated ones and here they are, in no particular order:

Jackie looks so relaxed here in full ’70’s attire. I like how she’s free from ceremonial rigors here.

Jackie glows as she hangs out with some children during her Mayan trek; it shows that she enjoys the company of the young.

Jackie takes a dip into the Aegean sea after her marriage to Onassis. It strikes me that a woman who is described as greedy takes great pleasure in the simplest joys like the sea (of course, it helps that she’s some feet away from one of the largest private yachts in the world).

Jackie is famous for her love of horses and she looks plenty regal here as she trots off in Ireland, 1967.

Jackie is described as a solitary person who enjoys taking quiet walks, whether around Central Park or by the shores of the Cape. Here she is snapped up in 1978, in Israel.

Jackie with President Kennedy at Hammersmith Farm in 1962. They both look like they are in their element – high style by Cape.

A private moment for the one of the most photographed families in history

A tender Yuletide moment for Jackie with her children Caroline and John, Jr.

JFK’s body arrives at the White House, November 22, 1963. It is amazing how the camera angle obscures Jackie’s bloodied skirt.

A winning sartorial moment: this gown of Jackie’s is not as featured as her pink gown during the Malraux dinner or as the celadon green jersey dress worn for the dinner in honor of Nobel laureates. She was actually pregnant with Patrick at this point. I love how the gold blends well with the yellow and of course, the bow detail finishes the look.

Motherhood was a role Jackie took seriously and I love how she’s focused on Caroline and John here, despite the hordes of photographers.

Despite all the tragedies, Jackie continues to smile and to bounce back. She seems to be as memorable as the New York skyline here.