American dynasties are an anomaly in the extreme, and among them no family name stirs emotion over the past century as does that of Kennedy. We were reminded of this once more as the last surviving brother of the clan’s storied generation, Edward Moore Kennedy, passed on on August 25, 2009, at 77 years old.
Their story is iconic. You couldn’t have made it up; it’s a narrative in every sense as mythic and dramatic as the American dream itself—the ascension from poverty, the reign in Washington, the tragic deaths, the weekends in the Cape. They were not only prominent in politics, but in fashion. The Kennedys were the best dressed family America has ever witnessed. Their family portrait essentially sits next to “Ivy League style” in the fashion dictionary.
“I tell [my kids] that when they end this life, if they can count their friends on one hand, they will be lucky. Stick with family.”     —Joe P. Kennedy
Style weaved in and out of the Kennedy tapestry. Jackie O. was a style icon in her own right, rubbing elbows and summering in Lilly Pulitzer dresses, her friend and classmate from Porter’s. Jack, Bobby and Ted embodied the American look in their elegant, hardworking clothes that lasted decades, not just a season. Cable knit sweaters, polos, herringbone blazers, madras shorts—the Kennedys made history in these iconic pieces.