History Snacks

Fashion-forward Festivities

Admiring (and in some cases giggling) about the fashion choices of the past is one the many great pleasures of American history.

Whether you fancy a ball gown fit for a first lady or a handlebar mustaches straight out of the Wild West, look no further – the National Archives has it all!


Beauty and Grace

While First Lady Jackie Kennedy is well known for her keen sense of style and the influence she had on fashion around the world, she accomplished much more than that. Check out this picture book biography to learn more about her childhood and time in the White House that led to her become such a powerful figure.


From Hoop Skirts to Shorts

Even back in the day, style needed to change during the hot summer months. In the 1800s, women were searching for a way to keep heavy dress fabric away from their skin, and thus, the hoop skirt was born. This patent shows the inner workings of such a skirt and how cumbersome this style was. How thankful are we for shorts!


I’ll Dress Myself Today

There comes a certain time in every person’s life when they feel responsible enough to make their own fashion choices. For President John F. Kennedy, this moment came when he had just entered his teenage years at Choate Academy. He wrote to his mother that he had received the suit she sent, but that he “did not like the color and it was a pretty itchy looking material.” We can only imagine what the suit looked like to so displease young JFK.


FLOTUS Fashion

First Ladies and their fashion not only served as an outward display of style, but were also used to advance their own (and their husbands’) agendas on special causes and politics. Explore some of the most memorable First Lady Fashions on the National Archives Pinterest page, and then head over to the Eisenhower Library to put together a puzzle of Mamie’s inaugural gown.



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