Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mamie Doud Eisenhower: Woman in Pink

Mamie Geneva Doud Eisenhower: November 14, 1896 - November 1, 1979
First Lady: 1953 - 1961

Mamie Geneva Doud was born 1896 in Boone Iowa to John and Elvira Doud. A family of privilege that afforded her luxuries like jewelry, clothes and travel. She attended public schools but completed her education at Miss Wolcott's a prestigious private finishing school for daughters of prominent families.

The Douds spent their winters in the warmer climate of San Antonio TX. In 1915, while visiting nearby Fort Sam Houston, Mamie was introduced to the handsome Second Lieutenant Dwight D. Eisenhower. Less than a year later in July of 1916 they were married. Until the start of WWII Ike's assignments took them to various locations around the world. Mamie always managed to create a comfortable home for her family no matter what the circumstances. Home and family were always her first priority. Two sons were born to the couple, however sadly they lost their first child when he was only three.


Mamie was a charming hostess and they entertained frequently, their home being nicknamed "Club Eisenhower". She once said "I had a career. His name was Ike". While preferring to stay in the background, she did provide the perfect social setting to enhance her husband's career.

Her unusual hair style, noting the curled over the forehead bangs were created for her by
Elizabeth Arden in Paris, completed what became known as the "Mamie Look". Her bangs and off-the-shoulder dresses helped define her own personal style.

Known for her china blue eyes, creamy complexion and the love of the color pink. Love of pink truly set her apart and she even had a shade of it named for her. During the 1950s, many women influenced by the First Lady, wore fashions and accessories in “Mamie Pink.” She was a fashion icon in her day with a natural sense of style that she personalized with her accessories, pearls, button earrings and her famous hats. Sally Victor designed many hats for Mamie, one being the famous pie crust hat which she wore to the Presidential Inauguration.

She was loved by the American public because she was one of them. She clipped coupons, always thrifty, spending as little at $9.95 on a mail order hat. Sometimes she wore designer fashions, but she also delighted in finding a bargain in a department store. She was always on the "Best Dressed" lists during her White House years.


On display at the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene KS is her hat collection.
Mamie Eisenhower's 1953 "First Lady pink" silk inaugural gown designed by Nettie Rosenstein, embroidered with 2,000 rhinestones. Matching evening gloves and a pearl-encrusted clutch finished the look.

The Eisenhower's pink bedroom in the White House.




Anonymous said...

What an interesting & stylish lady! I enjoyed reading this.

On This Day In Fashion said...

I love Mamie's style. She had the good luck to land in the White House just before the New Look hit, and had no qualms buying mountains of the stuff!

thevintagetraveler said...

I think it is interesting how Mamie is not really thought of today as being particularly stylish, because in her day she really was considered to be tres chic. Maybe it's because she was so over-shadowed by Jackie Kennedy???

Anne, Vintage Baubles said...

I agree that Mamie's style is overlooked, and likely due to Jackie Kennedy's reputation. I didn't know just how fashionable Mamie was until I read this blog!