Savvy Fashion Icons
by Style Guru Pat Jacobs
Jackie Kennedy was nationally and globally respected as American royalty, charming the world during the early '60s as the young, glamorous, dignified, style-setting wife of President John F. Kennedy.
The world mourned with her upon her husband's death, and then cherished her ever after. Even when she fell slightly out of favor with her marriage to Aristotle Onassis in 1968, the world was still totally fascinated.
So strong was her impact that countless books and articles have been written about her, and at one time she was the most sought after photo subject in the world. The Franklin Mint Co. memorialized her with a porcelain Jackie doll, wearing the white sleeveless gown from the '61 inauguration; Mattel created Jackie-style fashions for Barbie; Carlton Cards made a Christmas ornament of her in a ballgown, and there was even a beanie bear created in her honor (fashionably dressed, I'm sure).
The above mentioned are just a drop in the bucket of the thousands of accolades bestowed upon this woman who was such a political, social, and cultural force. Did you know that the characters of Rob and Laura Petrie (as portrayed by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore) on the classic TV series "The Dick Van Dyke Show" were modeled on JFK and Jackie Kenndey? Notice the wardrobe and hairstyles. The Laura Petrie character in particular, wore Jackie-style clothes and her bouffant hairdo! When Jackie let her hair grow a little, so did Laura Petrie. (Check out the show via cable or website).
She was born July 28th (a Leo), 1929 (died May 19th, 1994), as Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Southhampton, New York. You could even say she was raised to be regal, a member of an aristocratic family. Of course, she grew up riding horses (becoming a champion rider), attending prestigious private schools, coming out as a debutante, and living the preppy lifestyle. All this influenced and shaped her sense of fashion and style. And it was to serve her well throughout her life. (Her daughter, Caroline, has inherited her fashion sense beautifully!)
Some people considered Jackie Kennedy one of America's best-looking women during the '60s. I don't think she was "classically beautiful", but she knew how to enhance what she had - wide-set eyes, a big smile, and a rather square face which she worked with that still made her major eye candy.
Designer Oleg Cassini referred to her as a "geometrical goddess". He created her wardrobe for the 1961 inauguration. Jackie told him she wanted to dress as if "Jack were President of France". The duo succeeded and the nation was dazzled; Jackie Kennedy became a role model and trend setter. When she accidentally dented a pillbox hat, similar ones with similar dents suddenly became 'the thing'.
I remember seeing a picture of JFK and
Jackie Kennedy in France with then President Charles De Gaulle
and his wife. The four are standing on a balcony,
greeting the crowds. De Gaulle and his wife were all
right, but you couldn't take your eyes off Jack and
Jackie. They made a dashing couple. Jack was dressed to
the nines... very handsome, and she had a gown with
beaded embroidery (or whatever it was), long gloves, her
hair upswept into an elegant French twist. She was
Jackie was the perfect size for high fashion; she stood 5' 7', was long-waisted with a small chest and weighed between 120-130 lbs throughout her life (She had very big feet, however - a size 10!)
According to ”What Would Jackie Do?” (a delightful book by Shelly Branch and Sue Callaway, 2006) she favored: Chanel jackets, A-line skirts, brooches, double-faced cashmere and silk satin, single-color schemes, and the neutral hue, "greige", a cross between gray and beige. She wore boat and V-necks, few furs, and would blend orange and pink! (But she knew how to work her colors and shades well.)
Other classic Jackie looks were: Black turtlenecks, Jack Rogers sandals, those big oversized sunglasses, and a black-and white combo - she preferred white (pants or skirt) on the bottom, black sweater, blouse, or shirt on the top - she felt the other way around gave you a "waiter look." She didn't wear her jewelry every day, only when the occasion really called for it. Jackie studied "Women's Wear Daily" but she wasn't a high-fashion slave.
Her favorite shopping haunts were : Giorgio Armani, Carolina Herrera (she was very fond of this designer's dresses), Chanel, Lacoste, Pucci, Lilly Pulitzer, Valentino, Zoran, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Ave. YET, she also loved shopping at the Gap -she liked wearing jeans years before it was even fashionable! She would often pair a T-shirt with designer pants.
Wouldn't the world be a better looking place if some of today's celebrities considered what Jackie Kennedy would do before they step out in public or buy something awful? (And it's not like they're poor; they can afford to shop at the same places she did!)
Wouldn't you rather be remembered for a