All The Hidden Meanings Behind Every Fashion Moment At The 2021 U.S. Inauguration

History has been made

While the world has eagerly waited for the Inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, their swearing into office has become one of the most influential moments in history.

And with all eyes on the two new leaders of the United States, many of us were also paying close attention to the chic fashion moments that took centre stage.

Aside from their high fashion status, the most influential women in politics chose to use the monumental celebration to spread messages—unlike what we’ve heard for the last four years of Donald Trump’s controversial presidency. 

From Kamala Harris’ ode to pearls to Lady Gaga’s enormous dove pin, we’ve rounded up the meanings behind every fashion moment at the 2021 U.S. Inauguration.

Kamala Harris, Hilary Clinton And Michelle Obama Wearing Purple

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have always sent symbolic messages through their fashion choices. However, the trio joined forces to share the same sartorial message on the day of President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ inauguration.

As each of the three women made their way into the Capitol Building for the ceremony, they all sported various shades of purple. For her history-making moment, Harris made a statement when she wore a matching violet shift dress and overcoat, paired with leather gloves and heeled pumps.

Additionally, Harris often wore the hue during her campaign for the presidency back in 2019 to honour Shirley Chisholm, who also often wore purple during her history-making campaign as the first Black woman to run for president, which inspired Harris’s career.

Kamala Harris inauguration2021

The choice for the iconic women to sport various hues of purple symbolises the literal mix of political party colours—blue for the Democratic Party and red for the Republican Party—to showcase their commitment to bipartisanship, solidarity and unity, according to The Hill.

Clinton wore a matching shade to Harris, opting for her signature monochrome pantsuit along with a ruffled scarf and a darker hued overcoat to fight the cold.

Hillary Clinton

As for former First Lady Michelle Obama, the Becoming author wore a plum hue for her ensemble in a turtleneck, wide-leg pants, and a matching cinched belt by Sergio Hudson, a Black American designer who Obama has worn previously.

Michelle Obama

Kamala Harris’ Pearl Necklace And Outfit Are An Ode To Her Past And Her Culture

Becoming the first female, Black and South Asian American to take the role as Vice President, Harris was expected to use her fashion choices to support Black talent and emerging designers, and thankfully, she didn’t disappoint.

Kamala Harris

For the historic occasion, Harris chose a vibrant violet look from Black designer, Christopher John Rogers, who also won the 2020 CFDA American Emerging Designer of the Year. Rogers has consistently championed diversity through his work, and the designer is most known for his use of electric colours and rich jewel tones.

“Thank you, Madam Vice President. We are so honoured and humbled to have played a small part in this historic moment,” the brand’s Instagram post wrote next to a photo of Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff.

In addition to her significant choice of designer, Harris also accessorised her look with a pair of her signature pearls from Wilfredo Rosado, which serve as a nod to her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the first intercollegiate Black sorority founded in 1908. According to ELLE U.S., her heels are by Sergio Hudson, a Black designer from South Carolina.

Jennifer Lopez Wearing Suffragette White During Her Inauguration Day Performance

While Harris, Clinton and Obama all chose to wear various shades of purple, Jennifer Lopez opted for a different shade: suffragette white.

Performing her special rendition of “This Land Is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful,” Lopez opted for the lighter hue, making a statement of a different kind. 

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez’s all-white Chanel ensemble was a nod to the suffragettes and included an ecru and tweed overcoat, a ruffled silk blouse, and sequined, high-waisted trousers. Notably, she chose to accessorise with pearl bracelets as another nod to Kamala Harris’ ode to pearls.

Lady Gaga’s Schiaparelli Inauguration Dress And Giant Dove Brooch

In one of the most dramatic looks from the event, Lady Gaga stepped out to sing the U.S. National Anthem in none other than a huge custom-made Schiaparelli Haute Couture gown by Daniel Roseberry. 

Lady Gaga

Wearing a fitted jacket in navy cashmere, a skirt in washed red silk and a giant gilded dove of peace brooch. Aside from sporting the iconic colours of the two political parties, there was even more symbolism behind her giant dove brooch, which she cleared up on Twitter.

Explaining the symbolism of her pin choice—that wasn’t a nod to The Hunger Games‘ Effie Trinket like some have suggested—the accessory aimed to send a message of peace to a very divided country. “A dove carrying an olive branch,” Gaga wrote. “May we all make peace with each other.”

Dr. Jill Biden’s Inauguration Outfit Was A Nod To Stability

The First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden chose to wear a matching dress and overcoat by New York City-based brand Markarian. Amid a sea of her purple-toned counterparts, Dr. Biden opted for an ‘ocean blue’ wool tweed look, according to a press release from the brand.

Dr. Jill Biden

The particular colour of blue was chosen to reflect “trust, confidence, and stability,” and was “crafted by a small team in the heart of New York City’s Garment Centre,” where it was then hand-finished by designer Alexandra O’Neill.

The velvet trimmings on the coat’s lapel and an all-over dusting of Swarovski crystals—including a pearl-and-crystal encrusted neckline—gave the ensemble the perfect balance of glimmer and glamour for the celebration.

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