STYLE EVOLUTION

Jackie Kennedy Through the Years: A Look Back at the Original White House Style Icon


Image via Getty

Jackie Kennedy was a certified style icon even before she officially took on the role of first lady, inspiring countless copycats and setting major trends every time she stepped out in a new monochromatic ensemble, Chanel suit, or pillbox hat. But her reign as Queen of Camelot was just the beginning for Jackie O, as she became known after her marriage to Aristotle Onassis in 1968. Naturally, the former first lady ushered in her new era with a new look, this one centered around billowy maxi dresses and menswear-inspired suits. And, of course, she debuted a new signature accessory: oversized sunglasses. In the later 70s, widowed once again, Jackie put the focus on her career as a book editor, and adopted a businesswoman-about-town style to match. Today, on what would have been her 90th birthday, Onassis’s status as Commander-in-Chief of Style remains unrivaled—despite the current president’s insistence that the title has now been taken up by Melania Trump. Here, a look back at how Onassis made her mark on fashion and influenced generations of women to come.

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A smiling Jacqueline Bouvier arrives at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, R.I., on the arm of her stepfather, Hugh D. Auchincloss, for her wedding, 1953. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Kennedy on a visit to India in 1962. Her signature pearls and gloves accessorize an apricot dress with bow accent. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie looks windswept on a December afternoon in 1969 in a casual black turtleneck. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Onassis pictured receiving a gift from Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia and his wife during a trip to Cambodia in 1967. She dons a teal one-shoulder dress with decorative trim. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Kennedy on a trip to Canada in 1961. The First Lady matches an iconic pillbox hat to her red wool suit. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Onassis attends the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center in 1967 wearing a white 3/4 sleeve gown cinched at the waist by a chunky belt with stone inlays. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in a formal pants suit on East 75th Street, New York, 1960. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Onassis on the way to the Metropolitan Opera House House Royal Ballet in 1974. Her printed maxi dress exudes 70’s glamour. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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President and Mrs. Kennedy in West Palm Beach, Florida, 1961. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Ms. Onassis arriving at La Cote Basque in 1970. In a stunning red moment, Jackie looks playful in a beautiful ruffled dress that’s belted at the waist. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jacqueline Kennedy wearing a checked blue and white high cloche with a matching blue ribbon around the crown as she arrives with the President to greet the Pakastan President, Ayub Khan, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, July 11, 1961. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy walks a pace behind her husband in a monochromatic white outfit, a look that quickly became synonymous with Mrs. Kennedy during her Camelot days in 1962. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Kennedy exits a plane at Laguardia Airport Field in a knee-length leopard coat in 1962. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie is pictured wearing her riding outfit at the 17th Annual Horse Show in 1970. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Onassis is photographed in 1970 at The Alvin Theater in New York wearing a black and white cocktail dress belted at the waist with geometric inserts. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie is photographed at Heathrow Airport sporting a casual printed blouse and iconic oversized glasses in 1976. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Onassis pictured wearing a green cocktail dress to a dinner at La Cote Basque Restaurant in 1974. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie wears a vibrant yellow gown to the Metropolitan Opera House in 1973. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie wears a navy suit with a red bowtie while out with her children in 1971. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie looks effortless exiting the cinema in a simple khaki skirt and tucked blouse during the summer of 1981. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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First Lady Jackie Kennedy attends the unveiling ceremonies at the National Gallery of Art in a strapless lavender evening gown and satin elbow length gloves in January of 1963. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wears a ballgown with a long sleeved sequin top to a gala at the New York Public Library in November of 1986. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Before she was a Kennedy, she was Jacqueline Bouvier. Here, the future Mrs. Kennedy is pictured in a floppy hat and shorts on holiday at the Kennedy compound in 1953. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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In 1989, Jackie Onassis is sighted wearing a yellow sequin skirt paired with a crisp white blazer and pearls in New York. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Jackie Onassis attends her daughter Caroline’s wedding wearing a long sleeved mint colored cocktail dress and gloves in 1986. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.