The Deeper Meaning Behind Those Stunning Inauguration Outfits

Maija Kappler
·2-min read

Did anyone else watch the US presidential inauguration ceremony and remember how much they love fashion?

This past year has meant no parties, no fancy dinners or cocktail bars, and very few occasions to dress up. It’s also meant fewer red-carpet events, and very little in the way of celebrity style. Remember Cardi B’s 2019 Grammys outfit? Or Rihanna in a Pope hat at the 2018 Met Gala? We miss that.

Fashion at its best is art, creativity, personal expression, and often, political messaging expressed visually. So much is communicated through clothing choices, body language and accessory choices. This is especially true at a ceremony as symbolic as the inauguration, which serves an allusive function more than a practical one.

On Wednesday, we saw lots of bright, monochromatic outfits, jewel tones, and telling touches that relayed the significance of Wednesday’s transfer of power. Here are some of the messages expressed through fashion at Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Blue for confidence and Democrats

Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden at the inauguration ceremony.
Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden at the inauguration ceremony.

First lady Dr Jill Biden wore an ocean blue wool and tweed coat with a darker velvet collar and cuffs by Markarian, an emerging American label headed by Alexandra O’Neill. It’s common for first ladies to wear newer or lesser-known designers, knowing their platform will bring more attention to those brands.

Her matching blue mask was by the same label.

“The colour blue was chosen for the pieces to signify trust, confidence, and stability,” Markarian said in a statement. “The look was carefully crafted by a small team in the heart of New York City’s Garment Center and hand finished by O’Neill in her West Village studio.”

Blue, of course, is also the colour of the Democratic party.

Purple for unity and suffragettes

Vice-president Kamala Harris opted to wear a long coat in a rich purple, with a near-identical purple underneath.

Vice President Kamala Harris arrives at the inauguration with her husband Doug Emhoff.
Vice President Kamala Harris arrives at the inauguration with her husband Doug Emhoff.
Kamala Harris is sworn as vice president. 
Kamala Harris is sworn as vice president.

Purple is the the colour between red and blue, a call for unity between the country’s two parties. Much of Biden’s inaugural speech...

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