How Michelle Obama's Dress Measures Up All the First Ladies' Gowns

Elspeth Reeve



2009: Michelle Obama, and her famously toned arms, wore a one-shouldered white dress.

RELATED: A Visual History of Presidents Petting Turkeys

2005: Laura Bush wore light blue, long sleeves, and sparkly stuff.

RELATED: The Absurd Fantasy of Conservatives Embracing Hillary Clinton

The Bushes' daughters were old enough to wear gowns for us to obsess over. They went sleeveless.

2001: Laura Bush wore a red long-sleeved gown. That year, Bush's daughters were still in the prom zone.

1997: Hillary Clinton in glittery gold sleeves.

1993: Clinton wore a lacy blue dress for her husband's first inauguration.

1989: Barbara Bush donating her dress to the Smithsonian a few days after the balls. Notice those pouffy sleeves.

1985: Nancy Reagan's favorite color was red, but she wore white at the start of both her husband's terms.

1981: Nancy and Ronald Reagan.

Here's the back, from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The museum has a huge collection of first ladies' dresses.

1977: Rosalynn Carter chose to wear the same gown she wore to Jimmy Carter's 1971 inauguration as governor of Georgia.

The Smithsonian reports this was a controversial choice. Here's the dress in color:

1969: Pat Nixon reportedly took her husband to pick out her dress. It was yellow, his favorite color.

See it in full color at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History:

1965: Lyndon Johnson and a fur-trimmed Lady Bird.

The Smithsonian says Johnson intentionally picked a simple dress because she knew it'd go in the museum. She wanted it to age well.

1961: Jackie Kennedy keeps her dress out of the snow, with JFK behind her.

1957: President Dwight Eisenhower and Mamie Eisenhower.

The first couple with son John Eisenhower and daughter-in-law Barbara Eisenhower.

(All photos via Associated Press unless otherwise noted.)