Reflecting on the Fashion of Biden’s Inauguration


I sat in anticipation on my couch that morning, waiting to see not just the clothes these famous women were wearing but the message their clothes would convey. As I’ve grown up, I have realized the impact fashion can have not just for you as a person but for an entire nation. I don’t know when I first heard of Jackie Kennedy, but once I did, I was absolutely obsessed. Fashion has always played a part in politics, whether we realize it or not. Jackie brought a sense of newness and elegance that the White House had not seen in years, and I was hoping that Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris would do the same thing. I was not disappointed.  

Fashion has the power to communicate without ever using words, the power to speak when no one is talking, and the ability to convey a message worth knowing. On the eve of the inauguration, the soon-to-be first lady attended a memorial in honor of those who had lost their lives to COVID-19 in a purple dress. While you wouldn’t normally think anything about a person wearing the color purple, it was significant because purple is a mix of Republican red and Democrat blue, and a color used in the women’s suffrage movement. Although it was subtle, her fashion choice meant something. 

The next day, the First Lady attended the inauguration in a blue tweed coat and dress ensemble designed by Markirian, and the Vice President Kamala Harris wore a purple coat and dress designed by Christopher John Rogers, symbolizing the significance of the color purple. 

As a young woman sitting in my living room in my pajamas watching not only a woman but a woman of color being sworn into the office of Vice President for the first time, I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. It was a moment I will never forget, one that will change history forever. It isn’t just about the clothes that these women wear; it’s about who they are representing and what their clothes mean. These women bring change where change needs to happen, and they do it in a way that is graceful and subtle.  

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were not the only ones to make a statement with their fashion choices. The former First Ladies in attendance made some pretty similar statements as well. Michele Obama also wore purple, an  outfit by Sergio Hudson; Laura Bush wore a blue and gray coat and dress as well as flats! Can you believe it–flats! I loved that. Hilary Clinton also wore purple, a pantsuit designed by classic American designer Ralph Lauren. 

Fashion was not the focal point of Inauguration Day, but it did play its part.