The Fashion of jfk

When you think of a fashionable Kennedy, who comes to mind? My guess would be that Jackie Kennedy-Onassis is who popped into your brain, and for good reason. Her pastel shift dresses and oversized sunglasses are an iconic look, inspiring an entire subset of women’s fashion. However, we would be remiss to not acknowledge the cutting-edge fashion of John F. Kennedy during his time in office. Simply put, he revolutionized the way a sitting president could dress, opting for a casual-chic look that is still popular to this day. Let’s look at three ways JFK bucked the going trends of presidential fashion in the sixties.

1: He wasn’t scared of sneakers

President Kennedy and his brother-in-law Peter Lawford aboard the United States Coast Guard yacht ‘Manitou’, 1962. Image © CORBIS/Getty.


Most politicians at the time, especially sitting presidents, would’ve swooned at the thought of being caught out in sneakers and a t-shirt. JFK held no such fear. Simple yet elegant dress like this redefined how politicians could be seen in the public eye; it also helped bolster JFK’s “everyman” appeal

2:He rocked the mismatched suit

John F. Kennedy, President of USA with his brothers Robert and Edward Kennedy. Photo courtesy of Alamy.


The mismatched suit was an extremely radical idea during Kennedy’s presidency. It was a hard look to pull off. Even if the different components of the suit matched correctly, that would all be for naught if the wearer didn’t have the confidence and poise to complete the look. JFK was one with plenty of confidence, and that assuredness translates into a now timeless look, as pictured above.

3: He helped define beachwear

(Original Caption) 6/28/1953- Hyannisport, MA: Senator John F. Kennedy with 24-year-old fiancee Jackie Bouvier at the family compund. The two are in khakis and walking on the beach.


It’s no secret that JFK spent much of his leisure time at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts (Pictured in our sweatshirt here!) It would’ve been easy for JFK to get complacent with his oceanside fashion, opting for a tank-top or t-shirt instead of a more formal look. To be honest, who would have blamed him? However, JFK instead went with a more fashionable approach; the oxford button-down. Beachgoers never dressed the same way again!

Final thoughts



It’s difficult to overstate just how much influence JFK had on defining what was appropriate for a U.S. President to wear. It would’ve been easier for him to follow the status quo, dressing in stuffy, boring suits with no sense of expression or style. On the other hand, if he had dressed too casually, he would’ve been seen as a goofball not fit to hold the highest office in the land. Luckily, JFK was able to gracefully thread that needle. He kept himself rooted to his base through his dress and style while also staying classy. His now iconic looks have influenced a generation of men’s wear, the ripple effects of which can still be felt today.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the fashion of John F. Kennedy. Leave a comment below telling me about one of your favorite looks JFK pulled off!


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