Jacqueline Kennedy set the precedent, and in recent years more and more first ladies have been making headlines for their sense of style.
Michelle Obama is frequently lauded for the revival of shift dresses, belts and exposed arms, while Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is regularly praised for her sartorial selections.
And Britain's own Samantha Cameron is also quietly carving out a name for herself in the world of fashion.
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The wife of Prime Minister David Cameron has made her debut on Vanity Fair's 2010 International Best Dressed list, taking her place alongside her American and French counterparts.
What's more, she is the first visibly pregnant woman to do so.
Her style described as "real politik". Samantha – due to welcome her fourth child in September – is applauded for her wardrobe that includes outfits by designers Phillip Lim and Erdem, brooches and bib necklaces.
Amy Fine Collins, who compiled the list, said: "People who make the list are individuals. They don't look like anyone else. They tend to be fashion followers, not leaders."
Samantha, whose resume includes creative director of Smythson of Bond Street, joins Mrs Obama – her fourth consecutive appearance – and Carla, as well as some other famous Brits on the list.
David Beckham, Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Mulligan all appear, alongside Crown Princess Mary, Diane Kruger, Javier Bardem, Arki Busson and Alec Baldwin.