Everything You Need to Know About Inauguration Day Fashion
Updated: Oct 17
By Jordan Schmitt, Head of PR
President Joe Biden’s 2021 Inauguration Day was a highly anticipated event due to the dramatic 2020 presidential election. Despite taking place on Nov. 3, it took polling officials weeks to finalize the election results due to delays in ballot-counting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of obvious obstacles, 2020 saw the highest voter turnout since 1900 and Biden shattered records with over 81 million votes.
After a series of court challenges from the Trump Administration in attempts to invalidate mail-in ballots, the nation has watched and waited for Biden’s official swearing into the presidency. Only 14 days before the inauguration, a series of riots erupted at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C., causing even more contention surrounding the event.
Nevertheless, the day arrived and it was a memorable one. For many Americans, Biden’s presidency represents a return to normalcy and future of hope. The symbolism surrounding Jan. 20 2021 was not lost on its attendees, and their outfits reflected it.
Graphics by Jordan Schmitt
Since the start of his campaign, Biden has successfully run on a platform of tradition. His Ralph Lauren suit upheld this image, with a nod of support to American designers. Biden chose navy, his go-to suit color throughout the campaign, with a matching light blue tie to match which represented the Democratic party. Former presidents of the Democratic party, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, wore blue ties as well in solidarity to their party.
Dr. Jill Biden stood proudly next to her husband in a bright blue wool and tweed coat and dress designed by Alexander O’neil of Markarian. She stated in a press release that she chose the color to signify trust, confidence and stability.
Vice President Kamala Harris looked elegant for her ground-breaking inauguration into office. Harris’s election breaks gender and race barriers for one of the most important positions in the country. As the first woman to hold presidential office, she is also the first Black and Asian woman elected vice president.
Harris represented Black designers in a purple jacket and dress designed by Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. The color purple signifies unity and regality, and was more than fitting for Madam Vice President. Harris’s traditional pearls were designed by Puerto Rican-American designer Wilfredo Rosado.
Many watchers were impressed by former First Lady Michelle Obama’s ensemble. She looked elegant in a monochromatic burgundy ensemble designed by black designer Sergio Hudson, with his signature belt to match.
Young poet Amanda Gorman, performed an original work, “The Hill We Climb.” Resonating with the designer’s feminist ideals, she wore a bright yellow Prada coat with a regal red headband to match. Gorman’s ring of a caged bird was an homage to predecessor Maya Angelou’s “I KnowWhy the Caged Bird Sings.”
Inaugural performers, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga also made distinct statements through their wardrobes. Gaga wore a custom piece by Schiaparelli Haute Couture and sang the National Anthem with a dove pin on her chest. Lopez sang “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” in a white Chanel ensemble. The color white has historically represented suffragists. Lopez also concluded her performance by addressing the nation in Spanish.
Overall, the 2021 presidential inauguration was a day of boundary breaking — both in politics and in fashion — and encapsulated the emotion, passion and patriotism that the Biden Administration represents.