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Long before there were blogs devoted to breathlessly recounting every brooch and tie pin donned by the First Couple, inauguration day attire was still a way to make a political statement by way of a fashion statement. Some First Ladies tried to emphasize their down-to-earth qualities: witness Pat Nixon’s “respectable Republican cloth coat” (as immortalized in her husband’s Checkers speech), though she opted for a less-than-demure shade of fuschia. Others took the opportunity to dress up. Take Hillary Clinton’s look-Ma-no-pantsuit glamour in an Oscar de la Renta gown. Other memorable, and politically prescient, getups included Nancy Reagan’s lavish (some thought too lavish) James Galanos number in 1981 and the proper white-gloved ensemble worn by Jackie Kennedy. Whichever side of the aisle we sit on, no one’s too partisan to gape at a drop-dead gorgeous gown.


Click here to see a slideshow of inauguration looks from the past 70 years. >>

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