Category Archives: Former First Ladies

How to Dress for Your First Lady Body Type

For many years, the First Lady of the United States has dressed with elegance and class. She is held to a higher standard in each outfit she wears; the public expects her to always look her best. In order to do this, the first lady must learn to dress to flatter her body type. Most women can complement their silhouette by following a few simple rules based on their body shape. The four body types are ruler, pear, apple and hourglass.

Jackie Kennedy (Getty)

You have a ruler body shape if your figure is slender and evenly proportioned. In the silhouette of a ruler body shape, the smallest part of the frame is the natural waist-line. Jacqueline Kennedy, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, along with Grace Coolidge, all have this body shape. One popular garment which flatters this silhouette is the stylish sack dress. Dresses which have no seaming throughout the body or simply seaming at the natural waist-line, creating an hourglass shape, are ideal for the ruler body type. For more casual dress, rulers should wear jeans with pocket flaps in the back to give the impression of more shape. Adding filmy fabric to your top, similar to styles worn by Jackie Kennedy, are also best for softening an angular frame.

A pear shape is defined by having a curvy lower half, with a smaller chest and the smallest part of your waist falling just below the bust-line. Michelle Obama carries this shape and almost always flawlessly dresses for this body type. Hillary Clinton also has a definite pear shape. Pear shapes should wear empire-waist dresses, with the seaming below the bust-line, accentuating the smallest part of the waist. Sack dresses can also be worn with a slightly thick belt fastened just under the bust. Dresses or skirts should mainly be A-line, which hug the waist, skim the hips and then end just below the knee. Wider and deeper necklines are also perfect for broadening the shoulders.

Michelle Obama (Getty)

If you are apple shaped, like Barbara Bush, your waist, bust and shoulders are the widest part of your body and you have generally smaller hips and thighs. Apple shapes should avoid wearing multiple colors and try to stick with one, camouflaging the waist and lengthening the body. Smaller, circle necklines or turtlenecks will also deemphasize the size of the upper body. Avoid tailored clothing, especially if the garment accentuates the waist or bust. Pencil skirts are beautiful on apple silhouettes and also highly in style now. Sack dresses are also able to be worn with a belt slung across the hip.

Laura Bush (Reeder)

The hourglass, often seen as the “ideal” body shape, is characterized by a silhouette in which the shoulders and hips are about the same size, with a defined waist-line, parallel to the shapes of Mamie Eisenhower and Laura Bush. The main focus of dressing an hourglass body shape is to emphasize the waist without adding bulk. Fitted clothing or soft fabric which clings to the body is perfect for this frame. Belts should be worn at the natural waist-line and jeans and slacks should be straight-leg or gently flared. Hourglass body types need to avoid high necklines, baggy styles and bulky fabric, which will disguise the look of the hourglass frame.

Which first lady has your shape?

Stylishly Chic vs. Classically Elegant

Yesterday afternoon, First Lady Michelle Obama joined Former First Lady Laura Bush in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania for ceremony honoring Flight 93 of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Along with the first ladies, many more were gathered around the sight to listen to Laura Bush speak and pay tribute to the 40 fallen heroes of United Airlines Flight 93 on the ninth anniversary of September 11, 2001. According to The Washington Post, this day was also the first time these two first ladies have shared a stage since the inauguration of President Obama; consequently, I do not find this as a surprise. (For more information from The Washington Post about this event, click here.)

Laura Bush was dressed in a natural-hued, tweed skirt suit with what seem to be this season’s most popular nude pumps. She accented this look with pearl earrings and her usual, bold red lips. Michelle, on the other hand, chose to wear a streamlined, blue silk shantung pant suit with the perfect, figure flattering seaming in a vertical line down her jacket, a look designed by Narciso Rodriguez. A small, diamond flower brooch at Mrs. Obama’s shoulder completed this ensemble.

I usually prefer the tastes of Laura over Michelle; however, on this occasion, I definitely think Mrs. Obama’s outfit is much more chic than that of Mrs. Bush. In my eyes, they both dressed appropriately for the occasion, but Michelle’s ensemble seems to outshine Laura’s outfit. Then again, how many people does she have dressing her again?

Which outfit do you like best?