Jennifer Pickens: Nancy Reagan's 100th birthday – her legacy of class, elegance and style endures. Here's why

The iconic Reagan style mixed Washington, D.C., politicos with Hollywood royalty under the exquisite eye of first lady Nancy Reagan, whose centennial we celebrate this 6th of July.

As our country begins to reopen, and we return to having celebrations and many of our beloved traditions, we can hope that the White House will do the same. When it does, it will do so under the direction of our new first lady, who could draw inspiration from Nancy Reagan on how to capitalize on building meaningful international relationships through social diplomacy.


Nancy Reagan always personified class, elegance and style in a way that made people want to come and experience anything at the White House.

In her memoir, “My Turn” 彼女は書いた, “Every first lady makes her own choices, and mine was to become very involved in planning White House events, right down to the details: the menu, table settings, flowers and entertainment,”


Social diplomacy is an integral part of America’s strength in the world and has helped build and strengthen our alliances throughout our history. In addition to her many other contributions as first lady, 彼女を含む “just say no campaign,” historic restorations and more, Nancy Reagan was a trailblazer in utilizing soft diplomacy.

The grandest and most coveted social invitations in the world is without a doubt an invitation to a U.S. state dinner. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “A state dinner is the highest social honor we can bestow on another country. It is very much sought after. If we’ve honored a country with a state dinner, it means that country is certainly in good standing with the United States.


And no first lady worked harder at these affairs that Nancy Reagan.

The Reagans infused every White House event with a level of sophistication that had not been seen in years. The first lady restored many protocols that the Carters stripped away, such as the Color Guard accompanying the first couple and their guests of honor down the Grand Staircase as they were announced, and made an invitation to the White House the envy of the world.

Famed American fashion designer Carolina Herrera said, “夫人. Reagan knew the essentials of a great party were great lighting, great flowers, great food and a great mix of guests, which produced great distinction and great American style and glamour.

Nancy Reagan looked forward to the challenge of entertaining regularly – and on a grand scale – knowing what could be accomplished in a social setting. Through their Hollywood connections, the Reagans filled the White House with some of the biggest celebrities of their day – Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, エリザベス・テイラー, Betsy Bloomingdale, Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck – whom the first couple entertained alongside power brokers, writers, politicians and titans of industry. She would use the tools to create moments that would stun the globe.

Nancy Reagan’s social events helped lead to some of the strongest alliances with foreign powers.