Last Tuesday, of course, was finally the inauguration of President Obama! I watched TV all day, and besides the speeches and music and oaths, I wanted to see who wore what. (Shallow of me, I know, but it seems I was not alone–when I googled “Michelle Obama inauguration clothes” I found millions of hits!). I thought she looked great, both in the Isabel Toledo lemony-yellow dress and coat and the floaty white goddess gown by young New York designer Jason Wu. Elegant and appropriate, without being stuffy or dowdy (though I did not care for those green shoes!). Malia and Sasha Obama were adorable–I must get an orange scarf to go with my pink coat, immediately.

I have to say, though, my favorite outfits of the day belonged to Jill Biden. The red coat and groovy boots, the red chiffon Reem Acra gown–gorgeous. I love the way these women are making it not only fine, but fashionable, to be both smart and serious and have fun with clothes!

It made me wonder–what did some of the great ladies of history wear for their coronations? What I found: lots of white satin, gold embroidery, purple velvet, and ermine! I saw none of that on Tuesday…

Elizabeth I (January 15, 1559)

Marie Antoinette (I could not actually find a portrait; it was described as white satin, embroidered with gold thread, pearls, and sapphires. The date was June 11, 1775)

Queen Charlotte (September 22, 1761–she had just been married on September 8)

Empress Josephine (December 2, 1804)

Queen Victoria (June 28, 1838)

Tsarina Alexandra (May 14, 1896)

Elizabeth II (June 2, 1953–gown by Norman Hartnell, who also did her wedding dress in 1947. The embroidery is emblems of the British Empire)

If you were going to a coronation or an inauguration, what would you wear???