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The Most Popular Dress in Washington

Thursday, December 7, 2006, 16:30 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Laura Bush's holiday party dressFirst Lady Laura Bush must have thought she had the perfect dress for the annual White House holiday reception. It was so perfect, in fact, that three other women showed up in the same dress.

Bush, of course, was home at the time and was able to pop upstairs and change, then laugh the whole thing off. But at least one person thinks the entire episode could have been avoided.

“They all should have congratulated one another on their good taste and the fact that they could afford the dress,” Letitia Baldridge, Jacqueline Kennedy’s Chief of Staff and White House social secretary, says. “Jacqueline Kennedy, when she was first lady made sure, and her couturiers made sure that nobody else wore that dress that season.”

A common trait of Laura Welch Bush and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, by all accounts, is a strong love of and deep devotion to their husbands and children. The difference, of course, is that Jacqueline Bouvier was a child of privilege, educated in prestigious private schools, and a debutante who married a child of privilege in a lavish affair attended by 800 of the couple’s closest friends. The couple lived on their families’ wealth. Laura Welch was a child of comfortable but modest means, attended public schools, and worked as a public school teacher and librarian. She was married in a small, simple ceremony to a child of wealthy parents who nonetheless expected their son to earn his way. I doubt it ever occurs to Laura Bush to ensure that nobody else wears her chosen dress that season, and if it does cross her mind, she probably dismisses it as a ridiculous notion.

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