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The dark history of Jackie Kennedy’s pink suit and why it hasn’t been seen

Here’s the story of that iconic suit and why Jackie Kennedy refused to take it off when President Johnson swore in.

One of the most popular pieces of wardrobe in American history is the pink suit Jackie Kennedy wore the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. 

Until this day, the pink Chanel-like suit keeps the bloodstains and will remain away from the public eye for almost 100 years. 

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Here’s the story of that iconic suit and why Jackie Kennedy refused to take it off when President Johnson swore in. 

The history behind the pink suit

It is said that this particular suit was one of John’s favorite pieces of his wife's wardrobe, and he requested her to look elegant, sophisticated, and “show all Republican women in Dallas what good taste is.”

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Jackie chose this Chanel replica mainly because it was expected for First Ladies to wear American fashion, and picked a pillbox hat, some pearls, and a navy purse to match the outfit. 

During that period, Chanel suits evoked a powerful image, mainly because it was the epitome of the sophisticated and independent modern woman.

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[Image: Wikicommons]

Why Jackie wore a Chanel replica

For years, there were doubts whether the suit was approved by Chanel or not; however, in 2010, the authorized biography of Coco Chanel revealed that it was indeed approved by the designer and made out of French pieces put together in the U.S.

It was expected that First Ladies wore American fashion to appear patriotic, so to keep Jackie stylish, the suit was made at Chez Ninon in New York. Chanel approved they could take their design and make it on American soil; the French house provided all the materials, from the iconic tweed to buttons and chains.

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It is important to remark that this decision had nothing to do with money because the price was the same coming from Chanel or Chez Ninon, an estimated 800 to 1,000 dollars, ($6,646 to $8,307 in 2019). 

Curious fact: most of the public didn’t know the suit was pink until 1963 when Life magazine published colored pictures for the first time as a part of a memorial issue.

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Why Jackie Kennedy didn’t take off the suit after the assassination

After the infamous shot that ended President Kennedy’s life, the suit got a splash of blood because Jackie was seated next to her husband. 

Even though it was offered to her a change of clothes for the ceremony where President Johnson swore in, she decided to keep the stained jacket on to “show what they did to Jack,” as she reportedly said. 

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She even got her leg and gloves covered in blood, which she refused to change or clean. 

As to the pillbox hat, since that day is still missing.

A couple of days after the shocking event, the suit was kept unwashed in a box and sent to Kennedy’s mother. 

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The box was kept in the attic and later given to the National Archives in Maryland. Nowadays, it is preserved in an acid-free container, windowless and out of the public eye mainly because the Kennedy family asked for it to be kept for 100 years, to avoid sad memories.

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