- Hillary Clinton

The First Ladies at the Smithsonian

Hillary Clinton: A New Kind of First Lady

Hillary and Bill Clinton walking in the inaugural parade, 1993. Courtesy of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.

Questions dominated coverage of the incoming first lady in the weeks before the 1993 inauguration. What would Hillary Clinton do as first lady? Would the Yale-trained lawyer have an official position in the new administration? How would she handle the traditional aspects of the first lady’s job? Would she permanently alter the role of the first lady? Columnists questioned whether these concerns reflected Americans’ conflicted feelings about the changing role of women at work and in families. They asked if we should really expect a first lady to be a role model for working women. The questions continued when, the day after the inauguration, the White House announced that Mrs. Clinton would have an office in the West Wing and work on domestic policy issues.

“Second only to the favorite speculation—what kind of president will Bill Clinton make?—is the matching question: What kind of first lady will Hillary Clinton make?”
Christian Science Monitor, December 3, 1992

Gift of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Presidential Inaugural Committee of 1993

Hillary Clinton’s Inaugural Gown, 1993

Hillary Clinton wore this violet beaded lace sheath gown with iridescent blue velvet silk mousseline overskirt to the 1993 inaugural balls. The dress was designed by Sarah Phillips and made by Barbara Matera Ltd., a New York theatrical costume maker.

Gift of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Presidential Inaugural Committee of 1993

Hillary Clinton’s gown (back)

Gift of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Presidential Inaugural Committee of 1993

Hillary Clinton’s gown (detail)

Gift of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Presidential Inaugural Committee of 1993

Hillary Clinton's shoes

For the inaugural balls, Hillary Clinton wore beaded shoes by Bruno Magli and carried a purse designed by Judith Leiber.

Gift of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Presidential Inaugural Committee of 1993

Hillary Clinton's purse

Courtesy of Associated Press

Hillary and Bill Clinton at the inaugural balls, 1993