One can only dream of owning a wardrobe that compares to Jackie Kennedy’s. But here’s the next best thing: A new memoir by her longtime assistant will give readers a glimpse inside the fashion icon’s closet.
Because no matter how much time you’ve spent marveling over Kennedy’s iconic ensembles, there’s one detail about the former first lady’s footwear you’ve never noticed: A quarter-inch lift is present on one heel of every single pair of shoes she owned.
Kathy McKeon lived in Kennedy's Fifth Avenue apartment from 1964 to 1977, and one of her tasks was maintaining her boss’ wardrobe. According to McKeon’s memoir, Jackie's Girl: My Life with the Kennedy Family, this unique feature is affixed to the sole of all of Kennedy’s shoes.
"More intriguing to me was the quarter-inch lift affixed to one heel on each pair of shoes, apparently meant to compensate for one leg being slightly shorter than the other," McKeon writes in her memoir. "No one would have ever guessed."
The detail is so minor that it went unnoticed by even the most conscientious auctioneers. To put it in perspective, a grain of rice is taller than a quarter inch — so McKeon definitely wins the prize for “Most Observant Personal Assistant Ever.”
Of course, that’s hardly the only insight McKeon has into Kennedy’s wardrobe. The former first lady’s closet “overflowed” with clothing, accessories, and shoes from the likes of Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue (natch).
“The bedroom walk-in closet was jam-packed with Madam’s everyday clothing, all arranged according to color,” McKeon writes. “I had never seen such a dazzling selection of shoes! London-look boots, pumps in every color, spotless sneakers for morning jogs around the reservoir.”
McKeon, an Irish immigrant, began working for Kennedy at the young age of 19 and the pair became extremely close over the years. When McKeon left her job to get married and start her own family, Kennedy and her children, Caroline and John Jr., attended the wedding. McKeon and her children were invited to Kennedy’s summer home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, every year.
Admirers of Kennedy’s wardrobe and accomplishments will definitely want to read Jackie’s Girl for more insight from one of the people who knew her best. If anyone needs me, I’ll be preordering my copy.