Kamala Harris knows what she’s doing. All female politicians are held to a different aesthetic standard than their male counterparts—their every outfit analysed and picked apart. Some women, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, embrace the power of the medium, using clothes to make deft political statements. Others, like Melania Trump, use fashion to assert their role as a quiet, decorative accoutrement to the truly powerful. Harris, with her sensible navy suits, is sartorially apathetic—much like Barack Obama’s attitude towards clothes (he famously wore the same tuxedo for eight years), Harris sees fashion as a simple means to an end.
Which makes her regular rotation of Converse high-tops all the more enjoyable. When Harris wore a pair of lace-up white Cons with with riot grrrl-esque LGBTQ+ and ‘Black joy’ badges attached to a campaign even last month, it offered a meaningful glimpse into another side of the woman who is likely to become the first female Vice President in the United States’ history. They were playful, casual, relatable—the exact things all politicians struggle to be.
This isn’t the first time Harris has donned Converse on the campaign trail—in fact, she’s been photographed in Chucks regularly. When she kicked off the Biden/Harris campaign in Wisconsin in August, she wore a pair of lace-up black Converse to disembark from the campaign plane—she titled the shot on Instagram ‘laced-up and ready to win’. In 2018 she told The Cut “I have a whole collection of Chuck Taylors: a black leather pair, a white pair, I have the kind that don’t lace, the kind that do lace, the kind I wear in the hot weather, the kind I wear in the cold weather, and the platform kind for when I’m wearing a pantsuit.”
This may seem like a small point to labour, but it’s quietly political. Even Hillary Clinton—who eschewed so many parts of traditional First Lady domesticity—was rarely seen in anything but a sensible block heel, either while she was First Lady or on her own presidential campaign trail in 2016. Melania Trump’s penchant for six-inch Louboutins may look stylish, but as anyone who has worn a pair can attest, they are not particularly conducive with getting anything done.
Chuck Taylors, on the other hand, are the equally-chic (you’d be hard-pressed to find a Parisian fashion editor or off-duty runway model who doesn’t own a pair) footwear of choice for a person on the move—a person who has shit to do and has no interest in torturing themselves in restrictive, painful stilettos for the sake of fashion. Here’s hoping all goes to plan, and that we’ll be seeing much more of Kamala and her growing Converse collection in the coming four years.