By The Editors
The pressure of what to wear when you meet the president (and possibly the first lady) is tenfolds anxiety-inducing compared to picking out a normal ensemble for work meetings. Most of us mere mortals may never get to experience these nerves (we, for one, don't mind), but we can empathize with celebrities who often have a front row seat or access to meeting the president. When this happens, they are photographed and publicized (we want to know what happened when Barack Obama met The Rock!), which means their outfits have to be on point. And, you know the celebrity's team of stylists have carefully thought out his/her every outfits. Most celebrities appear in modest dresses, suits, and the like, along with giddy smiles and a few tears. Ahead, see what the stars wore while meeting the presidents.
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Katharine Hepburn With Franklin D. Roosevelt
Did you know that FDR and Katharine Hepburn were related through a common ancestor on the Mayflower? Well, when the actress joined the president for a luncheon devoted planning a radio show special on behalf of his 1940 presidential election—to which Hepburn wore a signature button down—they probably talked about that and more.
Marilyn Monroe With John F. Kennedy
Hollywood's most iconic blonde bombshell sang a brow-raising rendition of "Happy Birthday" for President Kennedy's 45th birthday in a stunning glittery gown. Fun fact: This is the only known photo of the two rumored lovers.
Barbra Streisand With John F. Kennedy
Barbra Streisand is obviously a mega star in her own right, but even this diva looked smitten with JFK when she met him in 1963. Her elbow-length white gloves and feathery boa are fancy and fun. And look at that chic bob!
Elvis Presley With Richard Nixon
In 1970, Elvis appeared at the White House in a collar nearly as exaggerated as his belt and was named a “Federal Agent at Large" by President Nixon—he also received an honorary badge.
Christie Brinkley, Cheryl Tiegs, and Brooke Shields With Ronald Reagan
President Reagan and his wife Nancy snapped a quick photo with the famous supermodels at a Tribute to Bob Hope's 80th birthday at the Kennedy Center in 1983. All the women were in gowns—Brinkley in a two-piece number (a look that's recently back in style)!
Michael Jackson With Ronald Reagan
President Ronald Reagan awarded Michael Jackson with the Presidential Public Safety Communication Award; the award was the result of MJ's classic song "Beat It" being used as the anthem of Reagan's public service campaign against teen drinking and driving. The King of Pop donned a single glove, naturally.
Michael Jackson With George H.W. Bush
Michael Jackson visited the White House in this snazzy black and red military-inspired ensemble in 1990 when he received the “Artist of the Decade” award from the first President Bush. The megastar received this honor more than one time throughout his life.
Whitney Houston With George H.W. Bush
Music legend Whitney Houston got a private tour of the White House from the president himself 1990. During that visit, President Bush named the icon a “Point of Light Contributing Leader.”
Brooke Shields With George H.W. Bush
In 1991, Brooke Shields joined President Bush and many others at "Welcome Home, America," the United Service Organization's 50th anniversary. (Her sleeves are perfectly turn-of-the-decade.) To the delight of the audience, Frank Sinatra sang the patriotic ballad "What is America to Me?" at the event.
Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross With Bill Clinton
Many celebrities were thrilled when Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd president of the United States. Just before his inauguration, to celebrate cultural diversity, the likes of MJ, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder performed in a two-day festival called America's Reunion on the Mall. The monochromatic ensemble Ross chose for the event is truly as iconic as she is.
Sarah Jessica Parker With Bill Clinton
The VH1 Save the Music Foundation (founded in 1997) raised funding to maintain and support music programs in public schools across the United States. In 1999, the nonprofit organization held its Concert of the Century, and famous supporters of the arts such as SJP showed love. The star had just begun her role on Sex and the City and we think Carrie would very much approve of this outfit.
Lenny Kravitz With Bill Clinton
Grammy-winning rocker Leny Kravitz also performed at VH1's Concert of the Century. The "American Woman" singer rocked the mic onstage, showing off his patriotism with his red, white, and blue guitar. 'Merica.
Meryl Streep With Bill Clinton
Meryl Streep got close and personal with President Clinton at the Concert of the Century. The Oscar-winning actress maintained a close relationship with the Clinton family, campaigning for Secretary Hilary Clinton in her 2016 presidential bid and was reportedly considered to play her in a biopic.
Keith Richards With Bill Clinton
Only a rocker could meet a president in just a vest. Here, the Rolling Stones singer-songwriter poses with the former president backstage at the 2001 Concert for New York City, a benefit concert in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mandy Moore With George W. Bush
Mandy Moore appeared with President Bush and the FLOTUS at TNT's annual holiday spectacular, "Christmas in Washington," in 2001 (for which she chose an appropriately festive red dress). She starred in the romantic comedy classic The Princess Diaries and released her self-titled third album that same year.
Ashanti With George W. Bush
In 2003, R&B songstress Ashanti joined the president at the same holiday celebration clad in a chic black dress with button details.
Carrie Underwood With George W. Bush
"Christmas in Washington" continued in 2005, and Carrie Underwood belted out various holiday staples onstage including "Last Christmas" and "O Holy Night." All eyes were on the American Idol winner as she glittered in a sparkled in a white ballgown, reminiscent of holiday tinsel.
Ciara With George W. Bush
Ciara also scored an invite to the 2005 "Christmas in Washington" special, dressed in a festive emerald gown. The singer's debut album Goodies put her on the map, and Ciara spent much of that year touring the country with fellow R&B and hip hop up-and-comers Bow Wow and Omarion.
Hilary Duff With George W. Bush
When George W. Bush was elected president for a second time, the 2005 inaugural festivities included a youth concert headlined by Disney darling Hilary Duff (note the totally early 2000s red streaks in her hair) and featuring American Idol winner Reuben Studdard, Jojo, and Ryan Cabrera. The concert, called "America's Future Rocks Today," caused a stir when Brett Scallions of the band Fuel cursed on stage. A totally different time, 2005.
Oprah Winfrey With Barack Obama
Oprah Winfrey stepped out in a grey power suit to offer one of the earliest endorsements of then-Senator Barack Obama's first presidential run in 2007. Passionate about the young senator's cause and drive, the TV mogul even hit the road with the Obamas and joined them on the campaign trail. To this day, Winfrey and the Obamas remain the best of friends.
Kerry Washington and Usher With Barack Obama
Kerry Washington and Usher showed some love to the future 44th president as he campaigned for his first election in 2008. The trio reunited once more at President Obama's White House farewell party in 2017, which, apparently, was a total rager—word on the street is that the demure actress was moshing!
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony With Barack Obama
Snazzily dressed in their best black-tie attire, J.Lo and Marc Anthony posed with the First Couple at President Obama's inaugural ball in 2008. The then-married couple also performed together at the big event, singing the romantic duet "No Me Ames" onstage.
Fergie With Barack Obama
Barack Obama thanks Fergie for performing the national anthem during the 2009 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn in 2009. The star wore a classic white trench coat.
Mariska Hargitay With Barack Obama
Barack Obama and Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay shared an air kiss during a Domestic Violence Awareness Month event in the East Room of the White House in 2010. The star kept it classic in black, which also paid homage to her character Olivia Benson's professional wardrobe.
Kobe Bryant With Barack Obama
The Los Angeles Lakers guard looked so dapper in a suit while presenting a jersey to Barack Obama during an event with the National Basketball Association 2009 champions in the East Room of the White House in 2010.
George Clooney With Barack Obama
The actor dressed up in formal attire and visited Obama to talk about Sudan during a meeting outside the Oval Office in 2010.
Sheryl Crow With Barack Obama
Sheryl Crow went in for a hug after hitting the stage at the 2009 "We are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration" in Washington, D.C. (in a T-shirt featuring his visage, no less). The singer-songwriter supported President Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and even performed at a 2015 Democratic primary debate.
Alicia Keys With Barack Obama
The "Girl on Fire" reconnected with President Obama at a World AIDS Day event at George Washington University. The event, Hosted by ONE and (RED), was attended by politicians (including former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) and major entertainment influencers like Keys and U2 frontman Bono.
Jennifer Hudson, Victoria Justice, and Justin Bieber With Barack Obama
The celebrities joined the First Family in the capital for the the 2011 "Christmas in Washington" festivities. And all showed up in their formal holiday best (Bieber even went for a white jacket!). It wouldn't be Jennifer Hudson's last time performing in front of the Obamas, however; the Chicago native dazzled the crowd at the president's second inaugural ball with a jazzy rendition of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together."
Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara With Barack Obama
The cast of ABC's family sitcom Modern Family laughed it up with the president during a 2012 visit to the White House. President Obama looked excited to be meeting some of his favorite actors—he is, after all a huge fan of the show and tunes in regularly to watch the Pritchett family's shenanigans. (Unrelated, but can we just take a moment of appreciation for Bowen's biceps?)
Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross With Barack Obama
President Obama hosted a reception for the 2012 US Olympic women's gymnastics team in the White House, celebrating the Fierce Five's accomplishments at the London games. The young women traded their leotards and warm up suits for business casual.
The ever-playful POTUS even asked to pose with McKayla Maroney to recreate her viral "not impressed" face. "[Obama] the coolest person I ever met," the gold medal-winning gymnast said about the president. "He's got the hardest job in the entire world."
Whoopi Goldberg, Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck With Barack Obama
In 2010, President Obama became the first sitting president ever to appear on a daytime television show when he appeared on The View. The cast's choice of apparel didn't differ much from what they typically wear for the show, with each woman showing off her personality via her clothing. Two years later, he and Michelle visited the ABC show again to talk about his presidency and his desire to be re-elected.
Katy Perry With Barack Obama
"What are those?!" Just kidding. At a 2012 event in Doolittle Park, Katy Perry showed off her killer shoes to President Obama as her grandmother (who was also her date for the night—so precious!) looked on.
David Beckham With Barack Obama
David Beckham shook hands with the president—they were both in a suit and tie—after his team won the Major League Soccer Cup in 2012.
Shakira With Barack Obama
The president shook hands with Shakira, who wore a casual ensemble, during an event to hand over land titles to representatives of the Afro-Colombian community at the Plaza de San Pedro in Cartagena, Colombia in 2012.
Beyoncé With Barack Obama
Beyoncé was personally selected to sing the national anthem at President Obama's second inauguration ceremony in 2013, and looked stunning. But her performance wasn't without controversy. Critics believed that Beyoncé had lip-synced through the entire song (really?), but she was able to prove her haters wrong when she gave a stellar impromptu performance of the song a week later during her Super Bowl press conference. We never doubted you, Bey.
Kelly Clarkson With Barack Obama
Kelly Clarkson also attended President Obama's second inauguration, sporting a burgundy peacoat and a bright purple scarf for the occasion. The singer reminded the country that she is *the* original American Idol with a heartfelt and passionate rendition of "My Country Tis of Thee."
Dwyane Wade and LeBron James With Barack Obama
After the Miami Heat won the 2013 NBA championship, the entire team swapped their jerseys for tailored suits to visit the president, who just happens to be a major basketball fan.
Though he should be partial to the Chicago Bulls because of the hometown connection, President Obama has admitted that he would have liked to play for the San Antonio Spurs if he were a pro-baller. "They’re smart, they’re well-run, they’re focused on team,” he said of the Spurs in 2018. “They treat everybody in the organization with respect, and that is the kind of organization that I want to be a part of."
Mariah Carey With Barack Obama
The Queen of Whistle Notes and Shade Mariah Carey was all smiles beside President Obama during the 2013 National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in Washington D.C. Guess she knows him.
Gloria Steinem With Barack Obama
President Barack Obama awarded Gloria Steinem, who wore a classic black dress, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2013.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson With Barack Obama
At the 2014 TNT "Christmas in Washington" event, President Obama exchanged greetings with The Rock, who really stepped up his game in a three-piece suit, onstage. A year later, the two would cross paths again..well, kinda—the actor played The Rock Obama, the angry, jacked up version of the president, in a Saturday Night Live skit when he hosted the show in 2015.
Rita Ora With Barack Obama
Rita Ora also attended "Christmas in Washington," joining the Obamas onstage to sing Christmas carols and we really want a pair of gloves.
Meryl Streep With Barack Obama
In 2014, President Obama awarded Hollywood legend Meryl Streep with a Medal of Freedom for the indelible impact she made on the world of acting. He may have held the highest title in the land as president, but Obama was also pretty much the president of Streep's fan club. “I love Meryl Streep," President Obama gushed at the event. “Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. There's nothing they can do about it.” Streep, who has a very specific aesthetic and doesn't bend to the whims of fashion, chose a wildlife motif dress to receive the honor.
Ellen Degeneres With Barack Obama
During the last few months of his presidency, President Obama made an appearance on The Ellen Show to talk about his wife Michelle, his daughters, and his life plans post-White House. Ellen wore her usual button-down and suit jacket combo. Later that year, Obama awarded his bestie (and Diana Ross, Robert DeNiro AND Tom Hanks) with a Medal of Freedom for her contributions to the LGBT community.
Eva Longoria With Barack Obama
Eva Longoria joined President Obama in a rousing rendition of "Jingle Bells" in a white belted coat dress at the 94th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 2016. The actress has long been a friend and supporter of the president; she campaigned for Obama in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections and even served on a high-profile committee to help hm figure out what he should do after his tenure in the White House.
Janelle Monae With Barack Obama
Rocking a fabulous coat, Janelle Monae performed at the White House Fourth of July party at the request of President Obama's daughter Malia, who also happened to be celebrating her 18th birthday.
The fête was the first of many great Obama-hosted parties that the singer attended, and to this day, Monae maintains that "there is nobody who can party like [Barack Obama]." Hope our invite doesn't get lost in the mail next time!
Aretha Franklin With Barack Obama
The two share a laugh at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in 2015. Barack Obama and the singer, who was in a neutral metallic ensemble, were there for the portrait unveiling ceremony for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Hilary Swank With Barack Obama
The two shared a friendly hello during the second-annual White House Student Film Festival in 2015. The event features the winning short films created by students highlighting the idea of service and helping the community. Swank kept it sleek and profesh in a dark colored blazer.
Ludacris With Barack Obama
The president greets musician Ludacris (who was in a suit) and other guests during a gathering of criminal actors, hip-hip artists, justice activists, state and local elected officials, and community leaders in 2015. The leaders gathered for a screening of Fixing the System, a special documentary about criminal justice reform.
Reese Witherspoon With Barack Obama
The actress was bundled up in black as she stood on stage with Barack Obama and Malia Obama during the national Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2015.
Leonardo DiCaprio With Barack Obama
The actor and president, both in full suits, arrived for a discussion on climate change during the South by South Lawn festival at the White House in 2016.
Prince Harry and Barack Obama
The pair matched in crisp button-downs while watching a wheelchair basketball game on day 7 of the Invictus Games in Toronto in 2017.
Kanye West With Donald Trump
Kanye West shocked the world when he announced his support for the 45th president of the United States. West claimed that he went to Trump Tower in early 2017—in black sweats and a gold chain—to talk to the president about finding solutions to gun violence in his hometown of Chicago. Though he didn't vote in the 2016 election, the rapper said that he would have been Team Trump if he had, putting him in direct conflict with his wife and Hillary Clinton–supporter Kim Kardashian.
Kanye West and Jim Brown With Donald Trump
Kanye rocked a "Make America Great Again" red hat while retired NFL player Jim Brown donned a suit as they made an appearance at the Oval Office to have a chat with the president. Brown has used his stardom to advocate for civil rights and spearhead initiatives to help African Americans.
Kim Kardashian With Donald Trump
The reality star and business mogul went to the White House in May 2018 to meet with Trump about criminal justice reform issues, which eventually lead to Trump granting 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson clemency for a low-level, non-violent drug offense that happened in the '90s. Here, Kim, dressed in a blazer, is pictured speaking alongside the president in June 2019 at a second chance hiring and criminal justice reform event in Washington D.C.
The Trumps With Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Camilla Parker Bowles
The Queen, a (royal) celebrity in her own right, along with her family, met with Melania and Trump in December 2019. The group gathered for a reception hosted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the NATO alliance summit. All the ladies wore their brightest hues.
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