American socialite, writer, photographer, book editor, and First Lady are just a few words that can be used to describe Jackie Kennedy Onassis, though we would probably go with something like fierce feminist and fashion icon. While it’s no secret that Jackie O, despite having a seemingly privileged life dealt with her fair share of tragedies, publically, we might add, but today we’re going to take a moment to discuss some major fashion moments and how this icon used her power for good when it came to empowering women.
Being First Lady means the eyes of a nation are upon you, and despite most of us thinking that Jackie’s style is simply unmatched, a lot of people criticized her look. She was a woman that knew what she wanted and for her, that happened to be French couture. The team working for the Kennedys, however, feared this would make Jackie appear out of touch with the majority of American families. To create some balance here, Jackie was put in contact with Oleg Cassini, an American designer that created over 300 outfits for Jackie.
Speaking of fashion, Jackie married John F. Kennedy in September of 1953, and because of his political position, neither had much to do with wedding planning which included attire worn. Today, we know that despite the happy faces we see in the photos, Jackie actually despised her wedding gown stating that not only did it accentuate her flat chest, but it made her look like a lampshade. Her words, not ours.
JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, with Jackie by his side. Footage of the horrible act shows us that Jackie‘s pink wool suit was spattered with blood, but what stunned the nation was when Jackie insisted on wearing the suit when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president. When asked if she would like to wear something else, Jackie simply replied, “Oh no, I want them to see what they’ve done to Jack.” The dress now hangs in the National Archives, the matching pink pillbox hat, however, was lost and never recovered.
Jackie was a working woman’s, well, woman. During a time when it was almost frowned upon that women seek work outside of the home, Jackie made it very clear that she wanted to be more than just a housewife. Sure, a famous life meant a flashy one brimming with cocktail parties, pretty clothes, and more money than a person knew what to do with, but she wanted more than that. At one time she even stated that while the world could be a glamorous one, it could also be hell if you were in it and lonely.