From Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama, first ladies have set fashion trends for decades, using diplomatic outings as opportunities to express their values and personal style. Perhaps one of the most important political events is the NATO summit, which occurs at least every other year.
Formed in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is currently comprised of 31 countries, including the U.S., England and France. Finland became the most recent ally in April, and the membership will soon include Sweden. NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced on Tuesday that Turkey supports Sweden’s bid to join NATO just a day before the commencement of this year’s summit.
Since NATO’s inception, heads of state have gathered to discuss the most important issues plaguing global politics. First ladies often join their husbands at the summit, hobnobbing with foreign dignitaries at a variety of events, including dinners, receptions and daytime charity outings.
Ahead of this year’s convention in Vilnius, Lithuania, a look back at U.S. first ladies’ fashion during the NATO summit.
While arriving in Berlin for the 1982 NATO summit, Nancy Reagan wore a ribbon-trimmed skirt suit over a plaid pussy bow blouse.
President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton hosted a White House dinner in honor of the annual NATO summit in 1999. For the occasion, Hillary Clinton wore a pale yellow pantsuit and a matching set of gold jewelry.
During the 2009 NATO summit, which took place in cities in France and Germany, First Lady Michelle Obama wore a fuchsia floral midi dress by Thakoon, which she paired with black kitten heels. Her look included a coordinating black overcoat.
For an evening outing during the 2009 NATO summit, Michelle Obama sported a black sleeveless knit dress with a ruffled skirt by Azzedine Alaïa. She accessorized with hoop earrings and a chunky bangle bracelet, as well as a pair of round-toe patent leather pumps.
While attending a reception and dinner at the 2018 NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, First Lady Melania Trump donned a sleeveless tulle midi dress with floral embroidery Elie Saab. She also added on a pair of nude Christian Louboutin pumps.
In 2019, Melania Trump attended a reception at the annual NATO summit in a canary yellow high-neck Valentino cape, which she paired with purple suede Christian Louboutin heels.
First Lady Jill Biden suited up for the 2022 NATO summit in Madrid, wearing an all-white ensemble paired with layered pearl necklaces and open-toe black pumps featuring crystal embellishments.