Well Suited: JFK and Ronald Reagan Through the Lens of Richard Avedon

"Fashion is where I make my living…and then there's the deeper pleasure of doing my portraits."

Images courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum and The Richard Avedon Foundation.

Though he rose to fame as a fashion photographer, Richard Avedon—who would have turned 91 today—also became known for his portraits of famous, influential, and seriously powerful people.

"Fashion is where I make my living," he once said. "I'm not knocking it. It's a pleasure to make a living that way. It's pleasure, and then there's the deeper pleasure of doing my portraits."

We wonder how much pleasure he took in being the only person to photograph President John F. Kennedy and his family between his election in November 1960 and his swearing-in ceremony just a few months later. In addition to capturing men like Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, and our current commander-in-chief, Barack Obama, he also took one of the most defining portraits of President Ronald Reagan when he was still the governor of California in 1976.

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Images courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum and The Richard Avedon Foundation.

So what can Avedon's portraits teach us about suiting up? Probably that while tie widths will change with the years, a crisp pocket square—and a seat in the Oval Office—will never go out of style.

—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.

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