10 First Ladies and Their Famous Hairdos

With all of the recent media attention paid to President Obama’s noticeably darker hair, it hardly compares to the amount of coif talk that his wife, Michelle, sparks. More than her organic vegetable garden or sculpted arms (or, sadly, her impressive law career), Mrs. Obama’s hair has been the talk of the nation since her husband stepped into the political limelight. But that’s par for the course in this country, for behind every new president stands a First Lady with one soon-to-be-iconic hairdo.

Louisa Adams

The wife of the sixth U.S. president, John Quincy Adams, had light-brown ringlets that she swept up (save a few face-framing pieces) into lacy bonnets and ornate hair pieces.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Ida Saxton McKinley

By the time Mrs. William McKinley entered the White House, she had taken quite ill and would remain so for the duration of her husband’s presidency. Even so, she would still dress to the nines on special occasions, adding adornments like diamonds and egret feathers to her short, graying hair.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Eleanor Roosevelt

As a young woman, she piled her long locks into one looming bun on top of her head. In later years, as her family increased and her hands-on role as First Lady required more attention, she became known more for fabulous hats and minimalistic hairstyles.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Mamie Eisenhower

It turns out that the side-bun trend we usually associate with Princess Leia actually has roots in the Eisenhower administration. Well, perhaps that’s a stretch, but Mrs. Eisenhower’s barely there bangs, known as “Mamie bangs,” did start a national trend.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Jackie Kennedy

As a member of a family that’s as close to American royalty as this democracy will ever get, Mrs. Kennedy defined an entire generation’s style, from her perfectly tailored dress suits to the matching pillbox hats to, of course, her lovely bouffant hairdo.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Lady Bird Johnson

The wife of Lyndon B. Johnson, who ascended to the presidency after Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Lady Bird favored the same hairstyle as her First Lady predecessor.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Nancy Reagan

“Nancy Reagan fell down and broke her hair,” Johnny Carson famously quipped during her reign. He was referring to her full, hard-as-a-helmet hairstyle. She clearly never said “no” to hairspray.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Barbara Bush

It’s said that the senior Bush’s wife turned gray at a young age due to her baby’s death, but that’s a myth. Even though some saw her hair as too grandmotherly for a First Lady, according to the book Barbara Bush: Matriarch of a Destiny, it actually helped her and her husband stand out while campaigning.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Hillary Clinton

Her hair has gone through many changes throughout her husband’s presidency and into her own political career. When she first came into the public eye in the early 90s, she had a conservative, highly shellacked bob.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Hillary Clinton, Part Two

As a former Senator and the current Secretary of State, she’s moved toward a short, sassy ‘do with a voluminous side part.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons


Michelle Obama

Sometimes her hair is pulled back into an elegant bun or ponytail; other times it’s a subtle flip that nicely grazes her shoulders. Only time will tell what she does with her hair next.

Photo source: dbking on Wikimedia Commons

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Bonnie M.
Bonnie M.2 years ago

How times have changed, from the fashion to the hairdo. Thank you for this photos. Goes to show how society is evolving.

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia3 years ago

I loved seeing how times has changed esp in dress and hair styles.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.3 years ago

thank you

Nancy Black
Nancy Black3 years ago

The women who were chosen generally were those who influenced their husbands and the country loved. No doubt that Jackie Kennedy was chosen because she was beautiful and later she was widowed. Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton were both leaders on their own. The one I missed and who I think was exceptional was Betty Ford.

Heather M
Heather Marv3 years ago

Hair, a womans glory.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

hilary clinton used to be pretty. and i liked seeing them.. a lot of them id never actually seen before

Joe R.
Joe R.3 years ago

Was it Callista Gingrich's hairdo that undid Newt?

Jane Johnson
Jane J.3 years ago

I agree with "greenplanet e." With everything going on that will impact every family in America, the First Lady's hair is the least of my concerns.

Brynn Guse
Past Member 3 years ago

Michelle Obama is absolutely stunning.

susan k.
susan k.3 years ago

I think that we the one that has been a fashion icon is Jackie Kennedy and the pillbox hats. The others are very so , so . But interesting article .