Fashion is a political statement, a way for our nation’s leaders to pay homage to both the successes and the stains on America’s history. On Wednesday, January 20, Kamala Harris, Jill Biden, and Michelle Obama took full advantage of the power of style in honor of Inauguration Day 2021. Among a sea of men in black suits, women leaders stood out in bold shades of purple and blue—colors with deep-rooted meanings that can be traced back through American history.
The color purple, worn by Harris, Obama, and Hillary Clinton, symbolizes bipartisanship: the result of fusing Republican-red and Democrat-blue. Likewise, it’s also a color of the U.S. suffrage movement. In a newsletter published in 1913, the National Woman’s Party described the color’s significance: “Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause.”
Without giving the incoming first lady’s whole Inauguration Day outfit away, her ocean blue-colored ensemble is meant to signify “trust, confidence, and stability.” Blue is notoriously a calming hue, associated with peace and order, two concepts that our country is so desperately in need of achieving during Biden’s presidential term.
Ahead, GRAZIA gathered photos of Harris, Biden, Obama, and Clinton in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day. Keep scrolling for a look at their Inauguration Day outfits, and find out the designers who brought their statement-making ensembles to life.
The Vice President-elect opted for a purple ensemble on Inauguration Day, brought to life by Brooklyn-based Black designer Christopher John Rogers. Harris accessorized her outfit with a pearl necklace by Puerto Rican designer Wilfredo Rosado and Manolo Blahnik heels.
Biden wore a custom tweed coat and a matching dress embellished with Swarovski crystals. The head-turning outfit was designed by Alexandra O’Neill of the NYC-based label, Markarian. According to a press release from the brand, the incoming first lady chose the color blue to “signify trust, confidence, and stability.” She accessorized the look with a matching face mask designed by O’Neill and Jimmy Choo heels.
The former first lady stunned in a plum ensemble with a chic gold belt designed by Los Angeles-based Black designer, Sergio Hudson. She teamed the now-viral number with a black protective face mask, gloves, and Stuart Weitzman shoes.
Clinton wore a Ralph Lauren ensemble comprising a bright purple pantsuit paired with a matching ruffled scarf and a maroon coat. For accessories, she opted for a black protective face covering, gloves, and boots.