2014      The First Lady wore no ornament: Grace Coolidge and her clothes


  • Due to her husband’s laconic character, Grace Coolidge was called upon to be an ambassador, supplying necessary charm, tact, and warmth to her husband’s presidency. Yet political and cultural conditions required her to maintain a traditionally feminine role. While she appeared in media images more often than any preceding First Lady, including, for the first time, motion pictures, she was never interviewed or quoted. Her appearance, especially her clothing, was therefore highly significant. Examining the many, conflicting demands made upon Mrs. Coolidge, the multiple messages that her clothing was meant to convey, and the varied audiences she had to accommodate, her immense sartorial skill becomes evident.