The first time I heard about Jackie’s clever shennanagins with her clothing allowance was in Kathy McKeon’s Memoir, Jackie’s Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family. Kathy immigrated from Ireland to America in 1964 at just nineteen years old. She then snagged the job as Jackie’s private assistant, and occasional nanny, for the next decade.
Among Kathy’s many stories about Jackie and life with the Kennedy’s, she speaks of Jackie’s clothing allowance from Aristotle Onassis. Jackie received $30k a month for clothes. Jackie and Aristotle married in 1968 — 30k at that time is over $261,500 today.
Evidently Aristotle didn’t fancy Jackie’s spending habits overall, but he didn’t mind her dropping a pretty penny on plenty of fabulous frocks. As a side note, I remember a story about Jackie not understanding how JFK balked at spending 1k for a painting but would spend enormous amounts on campaigns.
I guess people prioritize spending differently — though I think many can definitely identify with Jackie!
Anyhow, I appreciate how a lady of her time and generation cleverly took matters into her own hands to get some spending freedom. lol.
She took Aristotle’s 30k a month. And bought fabulous clothes. Some she wore. Some she didn’t. Some even had the tags on them. Fully conscious of her plan, and with the assistance of others, Jackie would consign her clothes. And make a significant amount of money on them!
Keep in mind, 30k a month in 1968 is over 3 million annually in todays dollars. Just brilliant.
We were recently at a talk by Monte Durham, of Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta & Salon Monte. He fancies himself Jackie’s biggest fan, and recently donated his entire collection — including a replica of Jackie’s wedding dress to JFK — to the First Ladies Museum. He brought up the consignment story too, and I learned that Jackie actually was able to sell the clothing for more than she paid because people were so excited to own something that was Jackie’s.
I love stories like this!
If you like stories like this too check out Kathy’s book Jackie’s Girl, Miles and I both recommend it. We were visiting family in Grosse Pointe, and Miles read Aunt Sheila’s copy. Mummy read it too. It’s a really easy, fascinating, fun read about a poor girl from Ireland who ends up working for American royalty.