A fashion psychologist explains why purple was the perfect inauguration colour

Amy de Klerk
·2-min read
Photo credit: Drew Angerer - Getty Images
Photo credit: Drew Angerer - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Yesterday's inauguration, in which Kamala Harris became the first female Vice President of the United States, was a pivotal moment watched worldwide, and one which will be firmly stamped in the history books.

Everything about the event, and what the politician chose to wear for the historic occasion, was symbolic. From her decision to dress in an up-and-coming designer from a minority background (the talented Christopher John Rogers) to her choice of pearls, held meaning, as did the bright and regal colour that she wore on that world stage.

There is a strong message behind wearing the colour purple on inauguration day, something which former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton also chose to do, and which first lady Jill Biden did the evening before. The most obvious reason for doing so was a show of unity for the United States of America with purple traditionally representing a bipartisan colour, the blending together of red and blue.

There could be no better message to send to the American people at a time where they have seemed politically more divided than ever.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

But this is not all purple can stand for. As Shakaila Forbes-Bell, fashion psychologist, consultant and founder of Fashion is Psychology explains, there are also associations with women's suffrage, peace and with nobility, making it an even more perfect choice.

"Saturated hues like the ones Kamala Harris and Jill Biden adorned to the inauguration have been found to elicit pleasant feelings. In western cultures, cool colours such as purple and blue have also been associated with feelings of comfort, security and peace. The last four years have been incredibly tumultuous, marred by scandal and socio-economic turmoil. These clothing choices signify the changing tide of this leadership and allude to more positive, exciting and dignified times ahead.

Photo credit: Joe Raedle - Getty Images
Photo credit: Joe Raedle - Getty Images

"Moreover, the colour purple is not only emblematic of the suffragette movement, but it also has historical associations with nobility – making it the perfect choice for Harris, who has broken barriers and changed the face of history with her historic appointment."

Ultimately, the new vice president and first ladies past and present used every tool at their disposal to send a positive, powerful, peaceful message on such an important day.

"Colour can be utilised as an implicit affective cue to elicit certain emotions and the bold colour choices of Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden have done just that."

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