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What to Wear to the 1969 Inauguration: A Guide to Appropriate Attire

Get a glimpse into the past and learn what was considered appropriate attire for the 1969 inauguration of Richard Nixon. Learn more about the formal dress code and where to buy a "Club Coat" for the ceremony.
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Plenty of Washingtonians will spend inaugural weekend re-learning how to tie a bow tie or remembering to stash comfortable shoes for late-night post-Ball hijinks.  What to wear?  It’s always a question — for those shelling out big bucks for balls and for the junior staffers whose hard work on the campaign trail will be rewarded with the expense of tuxedo rentals and Rent The Runway gowns.  Let’s take a look at some guidance on appropriate attire for 1969.

Here is a memo prepared by Clement E. Conger, Protocol Assistant to the Chairman of the Inaugural Committee for Richard Nixon. (That’s right, gentlemen.  Velvet collars were optional for your swearing-in outer wear.)

Inaugural Committee memo via Richard Nixon Presidential Library
Inaugural Committee memo via Richard Nixon Presidential Library
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So… what exactly is a “Club Coat,” the required attire for gentlemen at the inaugural ceremony?  Another memo provided a definition and recommended a supplier in the District.

Nixon Library
Via Richard Nixon Presidential Library

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