It was Jackie Kennedy who glamorized the White House State dinners and made Washington the most sought-after invitation in the world. With her charismatic husband, the President of the United States, she dazzled the whole world with her exotic looks and widely-copied wardrobe. And it all began, on the eve of the Inauguration.

I know the ribbon is supposed to symbolize the cockades worn by the French in battle (or a blue ribbon awarded to horses) but I found the detail rather nondescript. The three-fourth sleeves also do no appeal to me and I guess ivory is a ceremonial color.

The inaugural ball gown that forever assured that all First Ladies’ inaugural gowns would now become fair game for Norman Blackwell and just about everyone who takes an interest in women’s clothing. I love the detail of Jackie’s cape and how it billows just right around the ankles.

Without the cape, the dress shows a sheer overblouse and a diamante studded bodice. It was regal and refined. Everything was absolutely right, sartorial wise for Jackie: her hair curled daintily, the diamond earrings and the prescription formal-length gloves.

Jack and Jackie during their State Visit to France. I love Jackie’s coat here and frankly, I like how her hair is style in a topknot. It really enhanced her prominent cheekbones. However, I think she should have just kept the coat because the dress does not impress me:

It was created by Givenchy on cream-colored silk and flowery patterns on the bodice. This was the dress that supposedly launched her into the world’s consciousness as the style icon, the glamour-mama. I much prefer her pink-and-white dinner ensemble, one made by Oleg Cassini:

This dress, for me, reflects the essence of Jackie’s style – how she preferred to keep a tight rein on her clothing, adjusting and making changes to her gowns. I love how the stole here completes her look.

With de Gaulle. Frankly, am not too impressed by de Gaulle and with France then, in general. Apart from his World War II exploits, the General seemed too snooty, too self-important. And Jackie, for all her elegance, strikes me on occasion as being too full of it herself.

With the Queen and Prince Philip. Jackie’s dress here is a beautiful silk gown with a bow to the waist. She loves the severe collar which sets off her square jaw. Queen Elizabeth’s own tulle confection of a dress looks like a frou-frou nonsense.

Their first State Dinner with the Trumans. Jackie wears the basic silhouette of most of her evening gowns and she accessorizes it with her signature three-strand pearl necklace, the diamond bracelet from the Ambassador and a dainty clutch bag (literally envelope-size).

Jackie shimmers in this white creation, overlaid in gold detail. I really like those envelope-style clutches. Her pink lipstick accentuates her healthy tan.

One of my favorite of Jackie’s evening gowns – pink with a beaded layered hem. She should have worn those earrings more often.

Jackie wore this celadon green jersey dress for a state dinner for American Nobel laureates. It is one of the more memorable and more modern pieces she wore during her reign as First Lady. A closer look at the detail of the dress:

I am not a fan of Jackie’s clip (at the side of her head, it looks too little girl for a grown woman) but her dress is exquisitely detailed here.

This is an iconic moment – Jacqueline shimmers in a pink silk dress, which sets off her tan beautifully, with French Minister of Culture, Malraux and President Kennedy gazing up at her. I love Jackie’s sunburst headpiece (which doubles as a brooch). She never wore the sunburst in her hair after her White House days. It is one of her signature pieces as First Lady, as observed in the next two pictures:

Jackie wearing an off-the-shoulder gown – a style which was considered daring back then. The brooch on the lone strap provides much needed balance to the overall look.

The skirt’s cloth was actually a gift from an Arab Sheik. This dress received negative reviews but there is something rather quaint about the design and I like it.

This is one of my favorite Jackie gowns – she wore it for the waist detail to camouflage her pregnancy (she was then pregnant with Patrick). The starburst hairpiece and three-strand pearls make another tandem appearance.

Another one of my favorite gowns – the brilliant yellow and the big waist bow are excellent touches. Senora Prado’s gown, though, nearly gave Jackie’s ensemble a run for its money. Jackie owns this since she opted for a pared down, more youthful-looking skirt.

This is one look which I did not appreciate. Jackie seems overembellished here with a beaded gown and her jewels all flashing. Plus, her hair here is one of the worst Kenneth has done for her.

Jackie had two Christmas ensembles, two pink/red cocktail dresses. The first one features a wrap-around collar which is still popular until today:

But I love her Yuletide 1962 dress, which features a unique “gift-wrap” detail:

Jackie dazzled the world with her choice of evening wear and to this day, she remains the icon of such elegance. The dresses she wore nearly fifty years ago remain timeless and can still be worn today.

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