Mrs-O.com is a blog dedicated to chronicling the fashion and style of First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded September 2008. 


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When Grace Went on Vacation

Image via Library of Congress

When Grace Coolidge was First Lady (1923-1929), she and her family frequently turned to the great outdoors as a vacation destination. Mrs. Coolidge was a nature lover at heart and, as such, she enjoyed hiking, camping, and horseback riding. She also enjoyed traveling with her numerous pets, including several dogs, a wombat, and a raccoon named Rebecca. Favorite vacation spots for the Coolidges included the Adirondacks in New York and the Black Hills in South Dakota.


Mrs. Coolidge, whose nickname was Sunshine (perhaps in contrast to her famously silent husband), had a reputation as a stylish dresser. Her official White House portrait showed her dressed in a sleeveless red velvet dress with the distinctive dropped waist of the flapper era, accompanied by her dog Rob Roy.


While her exact fashion sense may not translate to today, we love certain details of the vacationing Mrs. Coolidge in her off-duty clothes: her embrace of white for a cool summer look on hot days; a fuller skirt for graceful movement; and a signature necklace for a small but mesmerizing hint of glamour. Compared to some of the more elaborate fashions of the time, these summer outfits seem pared down—making them appropriate not just for the weather of the day, but also for the test of time.


Image via Library of Congress

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Reader Comments (19)

Lovely Mrs C, thank you.

(Sleeveless red dress for the portrait you say? Good lordy Miss Maudy.... ;-) )

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 1:06 PM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

What a beautiful photograph with the president and her dog. Does anyone know the photographer's name?

By the way, thank for this lovely blog. It is truly one of my guilty pleasures. I love Ms. Obama and all that she stands for. Who knew in the early days of the campaign that she would come to symbolize the best in everyday fashion. SHE is so smart.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnn-Marie Stillion

A lady can never go wrong with a white dress for summer. Huffington Post has pics of the Obamas and guests (including POTUS sister and brother-in-law, as well as Valerie Jarrett) going out for dinner Tuesday at the Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs. Mrs. O's sleeveless white dress looks cool and comfy; And, of course, don't forget the bling. I love the diamond hoops!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 1:32 PM | Registered Commenteravo

New pics of MO and the girls on yahoo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 4:14 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Mrs. O is wearing her bathing suit underneath a white button down and whtie capris. They look fresh from the beach.

Just a side note: I need Mrs. O to shop for Mr. O to get him some new downtime clothes. His polo shirts are clearly losing their shape, and while I don't need him to wear tight jeans, they need to be a better fit. With, or without a new wardrobe, I still love my president ta bits...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 4:31 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

I see a new book in your future Mrs T., "First Lady's Fashion".

Iva, I agree with you, some of Mr O off duty clothes have really achieved that comfy look.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 4:44 PM | Registered Commenterboazwife

Thank you for this post, Mrs. T. I think my all-time favorite fashion period is WWI through roaring 20s. I love the shift!

(Early 60s through Mod early-Carnaby Street had some good shifts, too.)

PS -- Saw the new Yahoo pix. President O's bad jeans are perfect for visiting a beach town shack, aren'ty they? (I mean this as a compliment & I was one of those who mocked those drawers mercilessly..... He really does need an intervention on the casual clothes front.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 6:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

The posts featuring archival photos of past First Ladys are truly fascinating and a good reminder of the many different ways fashion reflects the wearer! Thank you for these historical views and please keep them coming.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterGette Morphis

Iva, I noticed that too. I was like his polo shirts are extra big and you notice with him tucking them in all the time. However, I think we might as well get use to it because the POTUS hates to shop and he already said he likes to be comfy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 6:46 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

I also love that Grace Coolidge's official portrait was in a sleeveless red velvet dress! here is a jpg http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/furnishings/Grace%20Coolidge.jpg

Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 11:59 PM | Unregistered Commenteryvette

Ladies, the article was written by Mrs C - I mean nothing snarky by this, it's just that I know you'll all want to acknowledge the right person! (And I made the same mistake myself the other week!!!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 10:48 AM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

Yes, thanks Posh! It has been a wonderful series by Mrs. C!

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 11:12 AM | Registered CommenterMrs. T

I'm so obsessed with this post. Her style is divine! :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 11:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterCafe Fashionista

Time for flapper dresses to make a comeback. They are so pretty! There's a book (chick lit) called 20s girl by Sophie Kinsella that has a lot about flapper fashion in it. Great beach read.

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterjenh

Yvette, thanks for the link to Mrs. Coolidge's portrait! I wish someone had dug that up when there was such a fuss about Mrs. O's "right to bare arms."

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandy Beach

I thought they have just been in? Last winter working through this summer....

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 6:06 PM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

Video of President Obama and his family arriving at Sweet Life Cafe in Martha's Vineyard. He's holding his little niece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-JaFWCtUFI

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 10:15 PM | Registered Commentermarabout40

I can't wait to see the montage..... ya gotta have a montage.

Friday, August 28, 2009 at 2:51 PM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

Enough of history. Moving on. ...http://www.michelleostyle.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 5:48 AM | Registered CommenterKris Kath

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