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Jackie Kennedy'ÂÂs Pink Suit: The Story Behind The Outfit She Wore When JFK Was Shot

Jackie Kennedy'€™s Pink Suit: The Story Behind The Outfit She Wore When JFK Was Shot

11/22/2013

Jackie Kennedy, before, during and after John F. Kennedy’s presidency, was a style icon, inspiring the masses with her fashion and poise. One outfit worn by the former First Lady that will never be forgotten is the pink suit she wore on the day of JFK’s assassination.

Jackie Kennedy's Pink Suit

"Even those of us who were not born when Kennedy was president are not immune to the horrific image of that perfect woman in that perfectly beautiful suit covered in blood," says Nicole Mary Kelby, author of the novel The Pink Suit. "In Dallas, our dreams died. Our hopes followed. We are still in mourning for Jackie's America."

Jackie Kennedy’s pink suit was commonly mistaken to be Chanel. In truth, Jackie Kennedy, wary of receiving criticism for wearing the French designer, had the replica made by New York Couture house Chez Ninon in 1961. Prior to Nov. 22, 1963, Jackie Kennedy had already worn the suit, one of her husband’s favorites, a handful of times.

Day Of JFK's Assassination

The First Lady selected the pink dress out of her wardrobe after receiving some packing advice from her husband. “There are going to be all these rich, Republican women at that lunch … wearing mink coats and diamond bracelets,” Jackie Kennedy told historian William Manchester of JFK’s comments. “And you’ve got to look as marvelous as any of them. Be simple – show these Texans what good taste really is.”

As the President and First Lady sat in the back seat of the Lincoln Continental, making their way through Dallas and passing the Texas School Book Depository, shots were fired. When JFK was shot, once through the head, Jackie became covered in his blood. After he was pronounced dead at Parkland Hospital, Jackie Kennedy refused to change into a clean outfit.

“No, I’m going to leave these clothes on,” she told presidential aides. "I want them to see what they have done to Jack.”

Jackie Kennedy remained in the bloodstained dress as Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States, and reportedly regretted having washed the blood from her face. Lady Bird Johnson was there for the moment and later described the surreal scene of the normally pristine First Lady.

“Her hair [was] falling in her face but [she was] very composed … I looked at her. Mrs. Kennedy’s dress was stained with blood,” said Johnson. “One leg was almost entirely covered with it and her right glove was caked, it was caked with blood – her husband’s blood. Somehow that was one of the most poignant sights – that immaculate woman, exquisitely dressed, and caked in blood.”

Jackie Kennedy’s pink suit is currently held at in the National Archives building in College Park, Maryland. The suit, which has never been cleaned and has never been seen since the day of the assassination, will not be put on display for the public until 2103, reported CNN. The First Lady’s blue blouse, shoes and purse, and her stockings from that day are all kept in the National Archives vault as well.

– Chelsea Regan

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For More John F. Kennedy News:

Jack Schlossberg, Caroline Kennedy's Son, Gives Speech On Grandfather JFK'€™s Legacy

John F. Kennedy's Bomber Jacket Goes For $570K At Auction

Robert F. Kennedy Reportedly Doubted The Warren Commission

Read more: Jackie Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, History

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