Betty Ford — American Classic fashionista…

American Classic – Day 15

It’s kind of an unspoken rule that women in politics in America dress in American Classic clothes – and that includes the First Ladies.  Nancy Reagan never dressed in Rock and Roll.  Pat Nixon never went Mod on us and you never heard an announcer saying, “And here comes Hilary Clinton sporting the ‘steam punk’ look for tonight’s Kennedy Center Honors.”

Our First Ladies have always looked nice, if not a little boring, most of the time.  Jackie O and Michelle Obama are the only two that have been trend-setters – women we all look to for fashion inspiration.

Ford Campaigns In The South

But what about Betty Ford?  She is most famous for “The Betty Ford Clinic” and bringing substance abuse out of the shadows and into the chic.  At least that’s the only thing I knew about her.  But after googling her last night, I am even more impressed.

Did you know Betty Ford was a model?  Did you know she was a Martha Graham dancer and performed at Carnegie Hall?  Did you know she was married before marrying Gerald Ford?  Did you know that no one wanted the rising political star Gerald Ford to marry a divorced ex-dancer, but he did it anyway because he loved her?  Did you know they were married for fifty-eight years?


Did you know Betty tirelessly fought for women’s right and was pro-choice?  Did you know Betty said in her memoir, “I liked alcohol.  It made me feel warm.  And I loved pills.”  Rock the truth, Betty.  But most of all, did you know that Betty Ford was an unsung fashionista?  Check out these pictures!


I love this one — matching scarf and dress!  It’s hard to look good in front of those curtains and yet she does!

At Home In The White House

And this one!  A First Lady in a knit tube dress?  Take that Mary Todd Lincoln!

Gerald Ford And Betty Ford Aboard the USS Forrestal

Okay, this chic outfit takes moxie.  I don’t think Betty was still drinking at this point, but I’d need a cocktail or two to put this baby on.  We are not talking “shy people” clothes here.

Betty Ford reminded me that women can not only multi-task with their children, but multi-task with their lives.  We all have the ability to do many wonderful things at once and if we happen to fail at one or all of them, we can start over.  We can use our life lessons to inspire others.  We don’t consider our mistakes failures, but texture.  Grist.  Stuff that makes a great memoir.

So go have a big life.  Betty certainly did.




  • Bo says:

    I said to Dennis, did you now the Fords were married 58 years….to which he replied ‘Well, we’re not gonna make that’ ..that’s not what I was really looking for…and what a depressing thought, I wasn’t even thinking along that route.

    Anyway, I too enjoyed the lesson on Betty!

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      Yes. Bill and I aren’t going to make that either unless we live into our hundreds… I was so impressed when I read about Betty Ford. She did all this cool stuff and you only really know her for the clinic…

  • Tina says:

    I’m so glad to have learned all that about Betty. She kinda reminds one of an American Classic-ized Queen Elizabeth II. Had the queen been a model and a dancer.

  • Janice says:

    Did not know, thanks for that! Love that tube dress on her. I am certainly guilty of the “small” life…breaking out of my shell more and more.

    • My Year of Fabulous says:

      I love the tube dress on Betty too! It’s too bad for first ladies in some ways — I think they are expected to be so boring and thoughtless — like just sit there and look pretty and have a charity that doesn’t offend anyone! I prefer them with opinions and a voice.

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