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Famously worn on the day JFK was assassinated, the First Lady’s pink ensemble is hidden from the public eye, preserved for historical importance by the National Archives in a climate-controlled vault outside of Washington.

Out of all of Jacqueline Kennedy’s famous fashions, none have left such a profoundly indelible mark on the American psyche as the pink suit she was wearing when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

The First Lady was still wearing the suit, stained with his blood, when Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president on Air Force One on the way back to Washington D.C., about two hours after President Kennedy was shot.

Though aides had urged her to change out of the suit, Mrs. Kennedy refused, saying, “Let them see what they’ve done.”

Still wearing her blood-stained suit, Jackie Kennedy looks on as Lyndon B. Johnson takes the oath of office aboard Air Force One two hours after John F. Kennedy’s assassination.Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Nearly 60 years since JFK’s assassination, almost no one has seen one of the most famous and recognizable artifacts of clothing in American history. Now preserved by the National Archives in a climate-controlled vault outside of Washington, Mrs. Kennedy’s pink suit, which still retains the blood stains as a reminder of the horror and heartbreak of that day, will not be seen by the public again until nearly a century from now, if at all.

According to the National Archives, the Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, now the U.S. Ambassador to Australia, donated the suit through a deed of gift, signed in 2003. The deed states that the National Archives should safeguard the clothing and personal effects as materials of historical importance, and “the family further desires to ensure that the materials never be subject to public display, research, or any other use that would in any way dishonor the memory of Mrs. Kennedy or President Kennedy or cause any grief or suffering to members of their family.”

The deed restricts the garment’s viewing until at least 2103 when the Kennedy family will reconsider possible access.

The hat and white gloves remain missing, but the rest of Jackie Kennedy’s pink ensemble is preserved at the National Archives and won’t be seen again until at least 2103.Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

The pink ensemble, made of bouclé, a woven tweed fabric, is commonly thought to be Chanel but is actually a copy of a Chanel design made by Chez Ninon. The high-end New York boutique used Chanel’s approved line-for-line system and materials sent directly from the Paris atelier. Jackie loved French couture, but first ladies had to wear American-made clothing, and Chez Ninon made copies of other French designs for her.

The double-breasted suit has a quilted navy collar and lapels, four square pockets with navy trim, and gold buttons. Jackie accessorized it with a matching pink pillbox hat, navy blouse, shoes, and handbag, and white gloves. She wore the suit at least six other times, and it was reported to be a favorite of President Kennedy, who had asked her to wear it in Dallas.

President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy descend the stairs of Air Force One at Love Field, Dallas, November 22, 1963. The First Lady’s pink suit was reportedly the president’s favorite, and he had asked her to wear it for the Dallas trip.Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

The hat and gloves went missing in the mayhem after the assassination, but the suit and its accessories, including the stockings, remain in the vault, virtually unchanged from that day.

The pink suit has come to represent the spirit of Mrs. Kennedy herself: a beloved and fashionable First Lady whose steely resolve helped her stay strong during a devastating public tragedy.

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