November 10, 2012 6:22:57 PM
With the election still on every American's mind, whether you bleed red or blue, it's true that history has given us some memorable first ladies.
I can't sink my teeth into one of my mama's Martha Washington Balls during the holidays without thinking of our "first" first lady all those years ago, and Mamie Eisenhower's name still comes up in the salon when someone remarks that her bangs resemble those once worn very, very short by President Eisenhower's leading lady.
Fast forward a generation to the incomparable Jacqueline Kennedy, or even into her "Jackie O" years, and images of a classic, modern woman entering the White House remain in our minds today.
The bouffant was big at the time and not just because of the rolling, teasing and poofing. It was bigger than life, and President Kennedy's love wore it best of all as it was one of the most photographed hairstyles in the world. I can still close my eyes and see her in a swirling cloud of smoke from a cigarette, very French I'm sure, and those unforgettable sunglasses, perhaps reading on the White House lawn or in Central Park.
Then we skip forward a few terms to a first-class first lady who won the world over with her infectious smile, meticulous attire and polished hairstyles. Of course, I am speaking of Nancy Reagan, who had every woman in America pledging allegiance to the freedom of the short, layered coif adorning one of the best-dressed first ladies of all time. Who will ever forget the timeless elegance of this rare beauty who accompanied her husband to many state dinners?
First ladies are symbols of the American dream just as much as their husbands, gracing covers of magazines and hosting dignitaries from foreign countries, all the while decorating America's palace with their own touches of fashion and beauty.
Both Barbara Bush and Laura Bush came later, elevating the style barometer to equally distinctive heights in their own ways. That ravishing white hair color of Barbara Bush is quite memorable, as was her appropriate refusal to color it, and I can't pass by a strand of pearls without some wink to her classic approach to dressing.
Laura Bush made the brown bob a household name in all 50 states, with the "girl next door" stamp she put on her stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and our hearts. Hillary Clinton burst onto the scene with an ever-changing array of hairstyles, from the earlier years when she had the longer bob, to the later years when we watched it evolve right before our very eyes. The bob kept getting shorter and shorter until this iconic first lady proved to the House, Senate and the country that she was both beauty and brains. Finally, she began highlighting and tucking strands effortlessly behind the ears for a smart, flattering hairstyle that kept all eyes on her.
Today we celebrate the current first lady, who has a "je ne sais quoi" about her that transcends time. Modern, fresh and always stunning is President Obama's "better half," as he so charmingly refers to her. So, you can clearly see that elections don't just determine leaders for our country, but also first ladies who we can't help but follow when it comes to being beautiful. I say hail to the real chiefs!
Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]