You can’t have a convo about American style without mentioning Ms. Jackie O, it’s just not happening! The name itself, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, screams effortless sophistication. As one of the youngest First Ladies of her time, Ms. O has left an indelible mark on women’s fashion. I mean, can you really see “Jackie O” shades becoming obsolete? Nope, me either!
As RJ celebrates Women’s History Month, we celebrate one who has changed the face of fashion and American culture in a way no one else has. She gained the title of First Lady in January 1961, and quickly inserted the world of the arts into politics. She often invited poets, writers and other artists to White House events. Foreign dignitaries and other political front runners were enamored by her immense grace and poise. No one threw a party like Jackie! Not only did she spend those years entertaining Washington, Ms. O was dedicated to preserving its historical sites, to include Lafayette Square. She would later do the same in NYC by saving the Grand Central Terminal from demolition. Even after the assissination of her beloved JFK in 1963, Onassis stayed in the business of preservation. She worked hard to honor his legacy by attending countless dedication ceremonies, and oversaw the plans for the JFK Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Despite her contributions to historical heritage, Jackie O is most notably known for her oversized frames, streamlined flats and classic black turtlenecks. Ms. O’s effortless style is perhaps her most obvious contribution to American culture. During her first year as First Lady, she worked with fashion designer and family friend, Oleg Cassini, to create some of her most iconic ensembles. She also wore classics from Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy and Dior. Ms. O’s style became a bit more relaxed after her White House years. During this time she wore more color and could even be seen in denim– which was the total opposite of the prim and proper First Lady wardrobe. During these years she also made her black turtleneck and white jean look a wardrobe staple. Ms. O was a fashion risk taker: no belt needed and shirt untucked. Her silhouette stole the show in what seems a very basic look. To this day, designers, American or not, are inspired by her style.
Whether it’s politics, the arts or the world of fashion, Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ contributions have significantly shaped our, and many other, cultures. For that, she definitely deserves a standing O.