I came across this gallery of USA First Ladies and I’m just totally fascinated with it. First of all, Dolley Madison was the Chubby Hotness. And there is something about Louisa Adams that makes me want to sit up all night drinking and playing cards with her. Also take a peek into her hat closet. I swear Hannah Van Buren looks like somebody I know. It shouldn’t, because people are people (so why should it be???), but it always kind of throws me when people in old photos look like modern people, just dressed up in dusty clothes from the Old Time Photo booth on the boardwalk.
I also find it interesting to see how, around the time of Sarah Polk, so the mid-1800s and right before the Civil War, women’s fashion got really dowdy and intense. Mary Todd bucked that trend, but the Washington wives and the press really tore her a new one for it. Things didn’t really seem to lighten up much until Frances Folsom Cleveland, who was 21 when she married Grover in the Whitehouse and was considered to be pretty saucy for her day.
I also like to see how beauty standards have changed over the years. We went from the crazy frizziness of Helen Taft’s hair, to Lou Hoover’s considerable eyebrows to Lady Bird’s immaculately symmetrical brows and immobile hair helmet. And we never looked back.