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Washington's Autumn Foliage

From rich golds to all-American reds, D.C.'s politicos show their colors as the nation awaits word from Florida.


Get your eyes off Florida long enough to focus on an issue of national unimportance: noteworthy D.C. style, post-election.

Our style vote goes to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Two days after the senator-elect acknowledged her "six black pantsuits later" win, she looked simply regal in a gold Oscar de la Renta gown at the 200th anniversary gala for the White House.

The first couple invited all former residents to celebrate the bicentennial event last Thursday. They included Lady Bird Johnson (widow of President Lyndon Johnson), Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Gerald and Betty Ford and George and Barbara Bush. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were unable to attend.

The men, led by President Clinton, were in status-quo tuxedos, but the current and former first ladies were a study in individual taste and style.

Mrs. Clinton's floor-length gown featured leaf patterns in varying shades of gold and a button-down bodice and flared shirt. She wore earrings that the White House described as rhinestones--sparkly and about the size of a quarter. She wore off-white pumps.

Lady Bird Johnson was elegant in a Victor Costa long-sleeved, fur cuffed, brown-on-brown gown with a pattern of dark brown velvet flowers and leaves with a little beading. She wore her two-strand pearl necklace, a pair of silk low pumps and carried a small evening clutch with bronze bugle beads. Mrs. Johnson's dress was originally created for her 87th birthday last December.

Mrs. Ford was a vision of sapphire blue in a tailored, long sheath dress with a knee-high front slit and matching jacket. She carried a Judith Lieber black satin bag with her custom-made dress--minus the label, since Mrs. Ford removes them because they scratch.

Mrs. Bush accented her long, black silk with white polka dots, by Scaasi, with her trademark three-strand pearl necklace. Draped over her shoulders was a black shawl, a gift from her good friend, Mrs. Walter Annenberg. Mrs. Bush wore black satin pumps.

Mrs. Carter also chose pearls to wear with her Louis Feraud black silk crepe suit. She wore black silk shoes with her knee-length straight skirt and carried a Judith Lieber evening purse with a thin gold chain shoulder strap.

Band-Aid fix: Maybe it was a close shave, or an ingrown hair or turning the other cheek--nah, make that stress--that brought on the boil on George W. Bush's cheek. He might have selected a fashion-matching, less conspicuous round bandage over the round blemish. Perhaps no little, dinky round bandage was going to cover up a Texas-size boil. Anyway, if the boil was stress-induced, a Flintstone bandage would have helped everyone lighten up. It might not have looked presidential, but then he isn't the president-elect--at least yet.

Also, during the Super Boil, Al Gore uncoiled. The vice president, dressed in a black pullover, jeans and sneakers, released tension by playing touch football at home with his family in Washington. Gore looked quite Kennedy-esque.

Color me: The freshman Congressional class was a vision of red with the newly elected women all in suits of that color and the guys opting for ties of the same color.

Candace Wedlan can be reached at

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