Why Michelle Obama wore purple to the inauguration

Natalie Cornish
·2-min read
Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images
Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images

From Red Online

President Joe Biden and his deputy, Vice President Kamala Harris, are getting to work after being sworn in at Capitol Hill yesterday.

As is tradition, former Presidents and First Ladies joined Biden and Harris in Washington DC for the ceremony. They included Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W and Laura Bush and, of course, Barack and Michelle Obama.

Photo credit: Rob Carr - Getty Images
Photo credit: Rob Carr - Getty Images

Although the occasion was very different to previous inaugurations (outgoing President, Donald Trump, refused to attend and, due to the violence in Capitol Hill a few weeks ago, Washington DC was in lockdown, with thousands of members of the armed forces in attendance rather than the usual crowds), one tradition that did continue was the symbolism of the outfits worn by the guests.

Photo credit: JIM WATSON - Getty Images
Photo credit: JIM WATSON - Getty Images

Michelle Obama, Kamala Harris, Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren all opted for tones of purple. This is because the colour is a mix of Republican red and Democratic blue and therefore symbolises unity and bipartisanship, a key focus of President Biden's speech when he encouraged the USA to come together.

Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images
Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images

Harris' shift dress and matching coat was by Black American designers Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Hudson is also a favourite designer of Michelle's, and created the raspberry-coloured trouser suit she wore yesterday.

Photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY - Getty Images
Photo credit: OLIVIER DOULIERY - Getty Images

While Harris, who made history as not only the first woman VP, but also the first Black and South Asian person to hold the office of American presidential deputy, also wore an accessory with a hidden meaning.

Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images
Photo credit: The Washington Post - Getty Images

Pearls are Harris' signature accessory. She has worn a single string of pearls around her neck since graduating from Howard University, in an apparent nod to her college sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, where pearls are an important part of the group's foundation story.

As Town and Country explain: 'It represents her Howard University sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), the first African American Greek-letter sorority. The founders of AKA are often referred to as the “Twenty Pearls,” and in a show of honour and sisterhood.'

For her fans, Harris' 'power pearls' have become a symbol of female empowerment. Yesterday she opted for a set by New York jeweller Wilfredo Rosado, who is of Puerto Rican descent and, like Harris, a child of immigrant parents.

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