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PHOTOS: Jill Biden’s Inaugural Dresses Added to the Smithsonian’s First Ladies Collection

It's the first time both daytime and nighttime wear have been featured in the popular exhibit.

From left to right: Anthea M. Hartig, director of the National Museum of American History, First Lady Jill Biden, and Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Photograph by Evy Mages

First Lady Jill Biden attended a ceremony Wednesday morning to add her inaugural attire to The First Ladies Collection in the National Museum of American History. It was the first time both inaugural ensembles were presented as a part of the collection, which includes more than 1,000 objects—including 27 dresses, some of which were worn by Frances Cleveland, Lou Hoover, Jacqueline Kennedy, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump.

“Clothing is an art and an articulation,” Biden said, later adding, “Clothes help me say something important.”

More than 100 years old, the collection is one of the Smithsonian’s most popular attractions. Biden added two pieces:

  • Her inaugural blue wool tapered tweed dress—detailed with pearls and crystals in a floral pattern and paired with a matching overcoat— designed by Alexandra O’Neill, Founder and Designer of Markarian.
  • Her evening ensemble, an ivory silk wool dress and a matching cashmere coat designed by Gabriela Hearst. As a symbol of unity, embroidery on the dress reflects the federal flowers from every U.S. state and territory, while a peach blossom—the official flower of Biden’s home state of Delaware—is stitched right above her heart.

The First Lady’s matching face masks will also be displayed. The updated collection will be available for public viewing beginning tomorrow.

Photograph by Evy Mages


Photograph by Evy Mages


Editorial Fellow

Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.