As viewers nationwide tuned in to the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, people couldn’t help but marvel at the colorful coats, jumpsuits, and, of course, masks, sported by Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Jill Biden and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Even Natalie Biden, President Biden’s granddaughter, glowed in her stylish, monochromatic pink coat and mask. From a fashion perspective, these women stole the show. *Cue “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé.*
Not only did they look fabulous, inspiring a wardrobe revamp for people everywhere, but their attire also promoted certain political values that they work to uphold. Each of their outfits was threaded together with messages of unity and support for the American people and for designers who work domestically in the U.S.
Kamala Harris, the woman of “firsts” (America’s first woman, African American and Asian American to be vice president) made a statement with her bright purple coat and dress designed by Christopher John Rogers, which she paired with shoes by Sergio Hudson. She purposely chose two emerging Black clothing designers to show her support. Her choice to wear purple is thought to symbolize unity and bipartisanship, as it’s a mix of blue and red, the colors of the Democratic and Republican parties. She also wore a pearl necklace to honor her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
FLOTUS Jill Biden also did not disappoint with her vibrant blue dress and overcoat designed by Alexandra O’Neill, creator of the up-and-coming clothing company, Markarian. The New York-based brand is known for its emphasis on sustainability, as each of its pieces are made-to-order, minimizing excess materials. In an interview with Freya Drohan of Fashion Week Daily, Ms. O’Neill revealed that she chose the color blue because “it signifies trust, loyalty, confidence, and stability.”
Dr. Biden’s separate all-white ensemble worn on Inauguration Night also interlaced fashion with symbolism, containing intricate and elegant details. The designer, Gabriela Hearst, posted the following image of the design, offering an in-depth explanation of the piece in the photo’s caption.
“Unity is the main inspiration for the creation of the Ensemble,” Hearst explains. The federal flowers of each of the U.S. states and territories are beautifully embroidered into the bottom of the coat’s exterior. Delaware’s flower is located at the heart, paying tribute to the Bidens’ home state. Hearst also brilliantly embroidered a quote from Benjamin Franklin into the coat’s interior, symbolizing Dr. Biden’s work in education. The quote reads, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Hearst created the outfit from preexisting materials to be more environmentally friendly.
Last but certainly not least, former First Lady Michelle Obama arrived at the inauguration in a stunning monochromatic burgundy coat, turtleneck and flared trousers designed by Sergio Hudson, the same designer employed by Kamala – since great minds think alike. She also donned black suede boots and black leather gloves. To spice it up and tie it all together for a more cohesive and chic look, she added a gold belt, also by Sergio Hudson. Her choice to wear pants rather than a dress conveys a sense of practicality and power, showing that she can be both strong and elegant.
Which inauguration outfit is your personal favorite? Let us know by Tweeting us @VALLEYmag!