Iconic looks on Inauguration Day: White House women are putting the power back in power suits


Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, former First Lady Michelle Obama attend the Inauguration Day ceremony in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, 2021. Illustration via NBC

By Audrey Lang

On Jan. 20, the Inauguration of the 46th President of the United States took place. This inauguration was particularly significant to our country’s history for many reasons. It marks the swearing in of our very first female Vice President, Kamala Harris, and it took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This inauguration was also particularly unique in the fashion choices of the attendees.

Three leading ladies stole the show with their outstanding fashion statements. Michelle Obama, former first lady, Dr. Jill Biden, first lady and Kamala Harris, vice president, all turned the Inauguration into Washington D.C.’s very own fashion week.

Getty Images, Rob Carr
Getty Images, Rob Carr

Obama’s plum-colored pantsuit and golden belt has been referred to as her “inauguration drip” in a virtual meeting between her husband, Barack Obama, and a Black-owned independent bookstore, Mahogany Books and the Very Smart Brothas Book Club. This “fashion icon’s” power suit was designed by Sergio Hudson, a luxury women’s shop based in Los Angeles.

This former first lady administered the modern White House fashion. She became a fashion inspiration to many by styling affordable women’s wear from American brands and designers, such as Jay Crew, creating the Michelle Obama Effect.

According to InStyle Magazine Senior News Editor, Alyssa Hardy, this effect became, “Whatever the first lady wore became an instant sell-out.”

As Obama instilled her own fashion effect, the Biden-Harris effect has already started to reinstate fashion back to the White House.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Dr. Biden’s Inauguration blue tweed coat and matching dress with Swarovski crystals and pearls was designed by American designer, Alexandra O’Neill. O’Neill was born in Colorado and works for the American label, Markarian, based in New York City.

In a CNN Style article entitled; “Jill Biden’s fashion choices were subtle but purposeful on Inauguration day,” the designer said, “It is an incredible honor to dress Dr. Biden today. I am so humbled to be even a small part of American history.”

As First Lady Dr. Biden supports American designers, she also promotes sustainable clothing lines that reduce waste. Dr. Biden and VP Harris are making it apparent in their fashion effect to support smaller, American designers with sustainable clothing lines.

VP Harris’s Inauguration Day outfit may have been the most influential of the three ladies. Her purple coat and dress was designed by a young Black designer from Louisiana, Christopher John Rogers. Rogers’ company is based in New York and his company’s clothing emphasizes the importance of individualism. This new administration amplifies the message of “people are people,” as shown in their fashion and choice in designers.

Bloomberg / Getty Images
Bloomberg / Getty Images

VP Harris’s iconic purple dress was symbolic for the Women’s Suffrage Movement. In a CNN article written by Abby Phillip, the Senior Political Correspondent, Phillip claims that the purple color is a “nod to Shirley Chrisholm,” the first Black woman elected into the United States Congress.

VP Harris, Dr. Biden and Mrs. Obama all subtly made bold and purposeful fashion choices restoring the White House women fashion effects.

InStyle Editor Hardy explained, “Dr. Biden and VP Harris’s made-in-America looks from the inauguration are certainly a step in the right direction.”