Rosalynn Carter's Inaugural Gown, 1977

inaugural gown

Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Gift of Rosalynn Carter

Rosalynn Carter wore this gold-embroidered sleeveless coat over a gold-trimmed blue chiffon gown to the 1977 inaugural balls. It was designed by Mary Matise for Jimmae and purchased through Jason’s in Americus, Georgia. Mrs. Carter’s decision to wear the same dress that she had worn to the 1971 ball celebrating her husband’s inauguration as governor of Georgia raised questions. News stories discussed the first lady’s responsibility to the American fashion industry, the symbolism of the inaugural gown, and Americans’ desire for glamour in the White House.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

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