Long after Jacqueline Kennedy's fashionable White House reign, and years before Michelle Obama began her haute hold on America, there was the sparkling, demure and always appropriately dressed first lady Nancy Reagan.

Reagan — who donned a white, $10,000 one-shoulder gown, courtesy of Philadelphia-bred designer James Galanos to her husband's inauguration in 1981 — was the epitome of quietly chic.

During those years, it wasn't all about the designer label. The "Who are you wearing?" question was considered more gauche than glamorous. Still, even without knowing who Reagan was wearing, Americans could always count on the fact that what she wore would shine.

Her style was elegant and expensive. Reagan had an affinity for diamond studs and furs. She dared bring a short hair cut into the White House. In addition to Galanos, her favorite designers were Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta and Adolfo — from whom she received many a free gown. Red was her signature color.

She was sometimes criticized for her expensive tastes. But many of her signature pieces — blouses that tied at the nape or boxy blazers with shoulder pads -- appealed to everyday working women.

And then there was Reagan's style staple: the monochromatic skirt and matching jacket combo. One might surmise this favorite look of hers inspired many women ascending the corprate ladder.
And still does.