I was reminded of a famous JFK quote when I read Cathy Horyn’s 11.14 N.Y. Times piece about the legend and the whereabouts of Jackie Kennedy‘s pink suit (“a classic cardigan-style Chanel with navy lapels”) that she wore on 11.22.63. In an interview with Death of a President author William Manchester, Mrs. Kennedy recalled that her husband wanted her to make a stylistic statement during their Dallas visit. “There are going to be all these rich Republican women at [a lunch they were scheduled to attend], wearing mink coats and diamond bracelets,” JFK told her. “[So] be simple — show those cheap Texas broads what good taste really is.”
In a subsequent dispute with publishers of Manchester’s book, Mrs. Kennedy managed to dilute “cheap Texas broads” into “rich Texas broads” and then “those Texans.”
I’m mentioning the original quote because (a) it makes JFK seem more human and less iconic, which is always a welcome thing, and (b) because I relate to it. It indicates that Kennedy was capable of stern aesthetic judgments about how gauche or clueless people dressed. It suggests that had he survived into his 90s and found himself at a rooftop restaurant in Hue yesterday — I realize this sounds a stretch but it isn’t really — he too would have been appalled at the sight of old-man feet inside rubber and leather sandals. Not to mention the shorts and the golf shirts. Maybe.