Laura Bush's Unexpected Fashion Faceoff

12/08/2006 at 05:58 AM ET

Imagine spending $8,500 on a beaded Oscar de la Renta gown to wear to an exclusive White House holiday reception and then arriving to find three other women wearing the same dress. Now, imagine that you’re the First Lady who has found herself in the middle of a real-life, four-way fashion faceoff! That’s what happened to Laura Bush at a Dec. 3 event at the White House. Luckily, she able to sneak off upstairs mid-party to change into a new dress. Susan Whitson, Press Secretary to Mrs. Bush, tells PEOPLE: “Though Mrs. Bush has seen guests at the White House wearing dresses she herself owns, this was the first identical dress-to-dress encounter she has had.  She and the President found it quite amusing that Mrs. Bush and three other ladies had on the same gown at the same event.” If only all Fashion Faceoffs could be solved with a quick run upstairs!

Photo: Eric Draper/The White House/AP

FILED UNDER: Fashion Faceoff
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Showing 77 comments

Becky on

as the first lady i would think she would have one of kinfd things. I bet that never happened to Nancy Reagan!

Merissa on

I am not a big fan of the Bush family…………….but they do look good

Jess on

awe they are so cute. I think it is admirable taht they were able to laugh at it.

Wendy O on

I’m so glad that my tax money went to pay for that way over-priced and way tacky dress.

Rita on

I think they are a wonderful couple, and extremely blessed to have each other. Also wish I was blessed enough to spend $8500.00 on a dress!!! But, if you’ve got it, may as well spend it on something. I wonder how the other 3 women looked in it, and would have to see them to know which one looked the best. Mrs. Bush looks beautiful & happy in it.

Allison on

Looking fantastic as always… :)

Stella on

I am definitely not a fan of her husband’s, but I must say, she has always been a class act. As for the previous post, “our” tax dollars did not pay for that dress, they only pay his salary…and thankfully, only for a couple of more years.

Terra on

Funny…… and they are too cute………

sharon on

lovely dress.

Jennifer on

I see they’re having tons of fun while our soldiers are in Iraq…

Becky on

and it is nice to know the bush’s can celebrate the holidays while innocent men and women are dying and getting blown up.

Kristin on

Quite funny and I am glad she diodn’t get bent out of shape about it like a Lindsy Lohan for example. Oh wait, she is the First Lady- she has way too much class for that… LOl But you would think Oscar de le Renta would have not allowed anyone else to have a dress the First Lady has for a White House holiday function. Didn’t Jackie-O sort of start that trend with unique or one-of-a-kind wardrobe items?

Kristin on

BTW- our tax dollars don’t pay for anything of hers, salary included. The Bush family is wealthy without mr Bush’s salary as Preseident. Ironically enough, his salary is next to nothing in comparison to his wealth as an oil man from Texas.

jonezy on

Hey Stella, were in the heck do you think Mrs. Bush gets her money from!! If our tax dollars pay for President’s salary and his wife does not hold a job……huh, who’s money do you think she used to buy the dress.

RT on

She just proves that she is a woman of class and grace. I commend her and President Bush for all they have done for us. It’s just a bonus that he is from the greatest state ever!!!

Jenn on

Leave it to you idiots to turn a simple comment about a dress into something political.

Danielle on

So, 4 women had the same taste? Big deal. And she was able to laugh it off. Good for her. Shows class. And even thought I think the dress is ugly, I don’t wear haute couture. I dress from Lands End, Levis, Walmart, Fashion Bug, and the outlet malls. What do I know of haute couture??? haha

Michele on

Laura has always been a class act, but why did she have to run upstairs and change dresses mid-way? What’s the big deal? I would have gotten together with the 3 other ladies and taken a picture and laughed about it- then stayed in the same dress the whole night. Remaining in the gown would have shown that she was no different than everyone else there. Probably made the other 3 ladies uncomfortable that they weren’t able to change, too. Beautiful dress, though. They all have good taste.

Ann on

I think they look cute. I wish we could see a picture of all three of them. Mrs. Bush is a very classy lady and she is a much better First Lady then the last First Lady we had. I’m glad she was able to laugh about it but at least there are other people out there with good taste about clothes. I think it is a nice dress.

Clena on

That is so funny lol
I love the president and his family.

annoyed on

Jenn you read my mind. Some people have serious issues.

Vanessa on

It is weird that Oscar de la Renta allowed to sell 4 dresses for the same event… I mean, in my small town, you go to a nice store and they ask you the date and event you are going to wear it so they wont sell another dress like yours to any other attendant.

It is difficult to believe.. but hey ,,, yes they look after having in their heads the deads of thousand of Irakies and hundreds of American soldiers.. =(

Stella on

jonezy, do you really think his salary is their only money? C’mon! Don’t be upset about what they spend their money on, be upset about what direction he, and his advisors have taken our country in.

Sarah on

I agree with Jenn…how can you people turn something fun and silly into a political debate about tax dollars. Get over it!!!

Michell on


Vanessa on

And how come you Sarah and Jenn instead of giving your opinion bugs us?? let us say whatever we want to say.. Isnt this a free country??


misscat on

dang, i hope she didn’t pay too much for that thing. thing looks like she got it at a dress barn on clearance

Brandy on

All political issues aside, she is a very beautiful woman.

Rita on

This is not a political forum, people. This is a nice picture of a good couple. While it does seem trivial, this is a way to lighten up a little during war time.
Those of you who want to discuss the Iraqi war, please remember Pearl Harbor!! What Mr. Bush has done is fight for our country the same way we did when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Yes, it is taking a long time. We have much more sophisticated technology to deal with today. He is a brave leader of our country, no matter what his political affiliations. I’m neither Republican or Democrat, I’m AMERICAN.

Alicia on

Well as far as opinions go, everyone has one. As a Canadian, all I can say about some of these posts is WOW. Remember, your politicians are also PEOPLE. The original post was about FASHION- NOT POLITICS.

I don’t agree with what is going on in Iraq. I think all foreign troops need to get out of there. Many soldiers from the Army Base 20 minutes from here have been killed there and in Afghanistan recently-some friends of mine. But, that being said, I don’t expect the leader of this country to stop having a life (i.e.-celebrate Christmas)because he had to make tough decisions.

And some of you should study up on your politics. George W. Bush was an obscenely wealthy man BEFORE he became President. I doubt your tax dollars bought that dress or most of the other things the Bush family enjoys.


For those who are saying why should he be having fun while the men and women in Iraq are not. Bush is just a figure head, the decisions to be in Iraq come from many different people and if anyone could do a better job then start campaigning. Anyone can criticize. Thank you to the men and women that sacrifice so much that we can be here to celebrate Christmas and that we have the freedom to say what we want when we want. God Bless America. And Bush is doing the best job he is allowed to do. And Mrs. Bush looks great.

Wildflower on

I love Laura Bush, she has so much class and is such a lady. I am happy to hear that they were able to find humor in it, I could see myself using it for a good laugh for the evening.

Could you even imagine if it had been Hilary Clinton that that happened to? She would have had security remove the other two women immediately! That woman frieghtens me!!!!

Jennifer on

The funny thing is that people are turning this into a political debate, but just remember it’s only in America that you have the freedom to say what you think and want without getting killed for it. I thank God for the men and women who have fought for our freedom so we can continue to have our freedom. If you don’t like what the President and his advisors are doing, run for office and see if you can do a better job.

As for Laura Bush, she looks amazing and how sweet it must be to be able to sneek upstairs to change. Good for her to be able to have a laugh over it!

Sara on

First, that dress is ugly and does not fit her right. Second, that is not a couture dress because there were four of them sold and hundreds of other made to be sold across the country. Third, traditionally first ladies do not buy couture dresses unless they are made by an American designer and everything else is usually bought off the rack unless it is a major occasion like the Inauguration Ball. Fourth, our tax dollars did not pay for the dress so don’t worry about it if she wants to spend $8,000 on a dress let her but it’s only making the two of them look bad!! Fifth, I find it odd that more of you are disturbed by the dress then by the real issue, they are celebrating Christmas in style while hundreds of Americans will celebrate Christmas without loved ones because of the lies and mistakes of the Bush Administration.

Allison T. on

I always read the comments on the Stylewatch blog and was particularly fascinated by the comments on this post. Even when it comes to fashion, when the Bushes are involved, there’s a tremendous diversity of opinion. I agree with the person who wrote that it’s a free country (thank goodness!) and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion— that’s what makes this country so great. But I relate the most to Jenn’s comment on Dec. 8th. I mean, this is a funny fashion story about duplicate dresses—must everything that touches politics become so partisan and nasty? Thanks, Jenn, for telling it like it is (or should be)!

amrija on

She looks BEAUTIFUL as always and they are ADORABLE. Do you think that because there is a war going on that he is not entilted to attend a party? Do you really think he is ever at ease without the war on his mind? Our soldiers chose to serve and protect our country. Mr. Bush did not force them to enlist. When you do enlist you take the chance of maybe having to fight in a war. Let’s pray for Mr. Bush rather than bash him. I can’t imagine having to fill his shoes. GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR SOLDIERS.

Lia Smith on

It would have been better if she stayed in the dress. I would just have said “Looks like we all have good taste” and gone with it. (It happened to me at my wedding reception – the other room in the banquet hall. Not only did we have the same wedding dress, but the bridesmaids had the same dresses in the same color. We laughed and said now we could crash each other’s wedding and hardly anyone would notice!). But frankly, if she paid $8,500 for an original and it wasn’t (obviously), then I ask for a refund.
No comment on politics – this is strickly FASHION.

Shelli on

They are the cutest couple! It shows that she is not snotty enough to get a one-of-a-kind dress!! Plus, they seem to have a great sense of humor.

Shelli on

To those negative people, the Bushes deserve to have a nice holiday. The Clintons sure partied way more than the Bushes! Celebrating the holidays is custom for the White House in times of war and peace. Plus, most everyone I know serving our country are behind the President and proud to be serving for a worthwhile cause.

Stephanie on

It happens to the best of them. At my HS prom three girls had on the same dress I did, I was horrified. At least Mrs. Bush could go upstairs and change her dress. THey do look cute all dressed up!

Bunky on

I agree with Amrija – as the President himself explained, he thinks about Iraq *every single day*. I mean, I’d be happy with a President who thought about a war we were currently fighting every third or fourth day, but *this* guy is all over it. And she’s also right that our army is composed entirely of volunteers. If it were composed of draftees, then the President would have to be much more careful about sending them to fight with no real justification and no plan. But since they’re volunteers, heck, I say send ’em wherever, whenever. They *knew* this might happen.

It is a stunning outfit she’s wearing, but for some reason it doesn’t work. I don’t think she can pull off that much red.

A on

So…what was the question? She wore the same dress as a few other women and then went to change. Big deal.

Wildflower on

I admire Laura for her continuous display of class. People may or may not agree with the president, but you can not deny she is one hell of a wife standing by her man.

They look great together.

enigma on

As hard as it may be not to say something “malicious” or “negative” or political about a certain someone in this picture……….
Putting it aside, they do look like a more or less happy couple….and the dress seems fitting for Mrs. Laura Bush.
And, yes they do deserve happy holidays.
Peace and Love will prosper! Cheers!

American Girl on

More people have died in the city of Compton this year than in Iraq since the war began. Just remember 9/11 when those demons killed 4,000 Americans 5 years ago. Should we just ignore that small fact? If so, maybe a plane should crash into your home or your mother’s place of employment today. I’d bet money that if your mother died in a terrorist attack, you’d be all for war. And those soldiers are proud to be fighting for our freedom. It was their choice to fight for our country. No one forced them! They signed up voluntarily and I’m grateful that they have the courage and honor to fight for us.

Candi on

First of all, for all you people that have negative things to say about our Soldiers being over there. Lest you not forget, they aren’t forced to be there. Never were. They CHOSE to enlist to serve our country because they WANTED to, not because Bush made them. He had a difficult decision to make that he knew would affect many lives. Just think of where we would be if our former president had to make that decision.

Anyways, the issue is the dress and she is absolutely stunning in it. She is a very classy lady and they look wonderful!

Leisa on

They look happy and festive this holiday season without a care in the world… is there even a war going on??? You wouldn’t know it by looking at these two… sigh!

whatever on

Leisa…Are you sitting at home because there is a war going on? Should we all sit and sulk…silly me..I thought that is what our soldiers SIGNED up for…to protect our freedom.

ABC123 on

Ok, for the record, please know that ALL soldiers do not SIGN up to be a war. There is a such thing called DRAFTing. Second, she probably did use tax dollars to buy the dress (but hey, what can we do…get over it, she wore the dress already). And finally, $8,500 is a lot of money to pay for a dress that almost looks similar to a tablecloth or a curtain.

321CBA on

ABC123… Sweetie there has been no draft.

Stephanie on

They look great! And Laura Bush has more class than Hillary does in her left pinkie…

At least the CHRISTmas tree looks beautifully decorated, the previous administration decorated trees with condoms.

ig on

ABC123, what in the heck do you think goes through their minds when they sign up to be a soldier. They know that it is a possibility that they will be in one. That is part of “FIGHTING FOR OUR COUNTRY”duh… Oh, and there wasn’t a draft. There were enough VOLUNTEERS (key word) that signed up to do it. And our tax money couldn’t buy her that dress. If you would do a little studying of how much money our Pres makes you would know that it is around $200k a year. Not so much for someone that is running our country. People should really know what they are talking about before they open their mouths!

The dress is beautiful, if my husband was a wealty Oil Man from Texas then I would be able to afford an 8500 dress and no one would have anything to say about it. Who cares what it costs, everyone knows that if they had it, they would spend it too.

Katherine on

I think that regardless of your political beliefs, the dress is beautiful and just goes to show how classy Laura Bush truly is.

Alex on

ABC 123…wow, you are outdated! The draft was never re-instated, they thought about it, but it never went through…so if there are soldiers fighting our current war that were drafted, we might want to get them out of there, seeing as they would be in their 70’s!
by the way..on the original topic, it’s a dress…why is this even a question…designers make lots of one item to (shock alert) make a profit!!

Misty on

***Shakes Head*** Laura Bush is a class act & looks beautiful as always. This wasn’t a political question. Quit bashing and be mature. It gets old to see so much negativity.

Amber on

I think that dress she is wearing in that picture looks hideous on her…

Sunni on

Laura Bush is such a lady. I can see her taking it all in with great humor and it goes to show, all these women have great taste in their choices. Mrs Bush handled it with such class. She is an example to all of us.

Erica on

Can we say “mother of the bride” dress?
And to think that three other women were dumb enough to wear this thing too. Well, you don’t say!

Tina on

She’s from Texas, what did you expect? a less tacky dress. I would think not.

Tom on

That would never happened to Jackie O.

RN123 on

I love the color, but the dress is too busy, it only needed a small amount of the decorative trim. And about all the other comments, the war is a mess, it was not & is not about 911, it is Bush’s own agenda, lets just thank god his term is almost over. Also, I have never watched a political leader make such a mess of everything even down to his speeches.

BethDC on

I read that she changed dresses b/c she didn’t want the other ladies to feel uncomfortable. Very classy. Plus the dress is off the rack. What are the odds that 4 people would wear the same $8500 dress to an event in the same location? One of the ladies came in from CA so it probably just is a case of women from the same generation with similar taste. I think FLOTUS handled the situation with grace.

nikki on

They are not a cute couple. They are just as ugly as their politics.

Robin on

The dress is too busy and does not fit her properly. Now for the political side, I don’t know how George W. goes to these parties when our men and women are dying because of his lies to go into Irag,and having no plan. Now he has no plan to get out of there. He created that mess over there, I don’t know how he sleeps at night. 9/11 was about bin laden not Iraq. Our soldiers are dying because of Iraq,GeorgeW. needs to admit his mistakes. I think he will go down as one of the worst Presidents in U.S. history. What is on the news everynight,is like Vietnam in the 1960’s.

sara on

I do agree this is not a political forum but just to add – what ever happened on 9/11 was terrible. However, Iraq had nothing to do with it.anyway about the dress. its good to know Mrs. Bush can go and change her dress. She looks beautiful. Happy Holidays to the Bush family.

Stephanie on

Happy, bright and in front of a Christmas tree while our soldiers are being blown to bits on a daily basis in Iraq.

Nothing cute or classy about that abhorrent picture. We are at WAR, and for them to stand there so warm and fuzzy for a picture makes me ILL. They should be in Iraq handing out food and not posing for pictures like models.

Heather on

the dress is ugly, so is laura and her worthless husband?
After all the pain and suffering our men and woman have went through and all the pain and suffering I in particular have went through. I hope there night was horrible

ilovehilaryclinton on

I love Laura Bush, she has so much class and is such a lady. I am happy to hear that they were able to find humor in it, I could see myself using it for a good laugh for the evening.

Could you even imagine if it had been Hilary Clinton that that happened to? She would have had security remove the other two women immediately! That woman frieghtens me!!!!

yeah god forbid theres a women in the public eye that actually *gasp* has her own opinions and isnt afraid to voice them! In the 21st century! The very horror! No, no let’s make sure we have ladies like Laura who spend $8000 on dresses so that they can be seen and not heard. That is what America is all about after all.

hoogee on

I’m glad they got a good laugh about it, and Laura didn’t raise a stink-fit about it. The dress is pretty ugly (not worth $8500), but then again I don’t think the first-lady wants to look sexy anyway.

erica on

Guys, fooled you.
These are wax statutes from Madame Tussand’s.
Or they might as well be

Emma on

To Jennifer,

America is NOT the ONLY country where you have the freedom to say what you want. There are other places where you have as much freedom to do and to say whatever you want and I would even dare to say more freedom. But perhaps you have never been outside your own borders to know that. I hope not however.

Emily on

I think they look great. Laura Bush is so classy and is an all around great woman. I think everyone should stop bashing our President, becuase this isn’t a political issue. If John Kerry was our president, then his crazy wife would’ve ran over to the women with the same dresses on and would have squirted some Ketchup all over it! And we should be grateful for the men and women fighting over seas. If they weren’t our country would be getting blown up right now. People, be greatful for you freedom!

Becky on

The people that comment about not being in the war support the soldiers 100% and do appreciate all of their efforts. We do not criticize the war because we are unpatriotic or unappreciative. We criticize the war because hundreds of men and women are losing thier lives because Bush is too prideful (deadly sin) to accept he was wrong. I am anti war but 100% pro soldier.
God Bless our US service men and women and God Speed!!!

abc123 on

Yes, there’s always a possibility of war when you sign up for serving, no one is even debating that. That’s not even my issue (or THE issue of the pic), so I really don’t care about that.

321 and Alex thanks for the correction…(still makes no difference to me, not really the issue either).

My whole point of even writing my first entry is SO WHAT? Her dress isn’t even supposed to be a political issue, but of course it has to be because she is the “first lady.” This is a online style magazine, not a political debate. Dress still looks like an expensive tablecloth to me, whether they sign up, draft (or do not draft) soldiers. PERIOD.

abc123 on

Oh, and feel free to comment more on my comments, if it’ll make your day go by quicker. Have a good day all!!!






toile bandeau on

i suppose that one first lady meeting 3 other people wearing the same dress is better than 4 first ladies wearing the same dress.

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