Style

Kamala Harris Sent A Subtle Mixed Message With Her Inauguration Outfit

Updated: 
Originally Published: 
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

On Jan. 20, America's first female, Black, and South Asian vice president was finally sworn into office. Naturally, she looked every bit the part. Kamala Harris' 2021 Inauguration outfit was sheer perfection from her pearls to her heels, though she sadly left her Converse at home (understandable, but a slight disappointment for the sneakerheads out there). The look showed off her signature playful, confident style while also demonstrating her sensibility and love of symbolism.

Harris has previously worn European designers like Valentino and Max Mara, but for her inauguration, she sported Black American designers Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson. Her bright purple overcoat was perfectly tailored with a fitted bodice and flared skirt. The color is seemingly both a subtle nod to the suit Hillary Clinton wore when she conceded to Donald Trump in 2016, and a message of unity, with the mixing of red and blue together. For Harris, though, the symbolism of purple runs even deeper. Not only was purple one of Harris' campaign colors during her own presidential run, but the color is an homage to Shirley Chisholm, who ran for president in 1972 and to whom Harris credits her inspiration for running for president, according to CNN Political Correspondent Abby Phillip.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Purple seems to be a pattern for the women of Inauguration Day. Hillary Clinton was pictured wearing a royal purple outfit for the ceremony, while Michelle Obama wore a deep, plum-colored monochromatic outfit. Elizabeth Warren was seen wearing a purple scarf. It's worth noting purple was also a prominent color of the Women's suffrage movement, along with gold and white. Leave it to Harris and her fellow women political figures to pack their sartorial selections with a whole ton of meaning.

Rob Carr/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Rob Carr/Getty Images News/Getty Images
1/2

Later that night at the Celebrating America inaugural event, Harris changed into an all-black suit with satin lapels and a sequined undershirt. It was a simple, yet striking look that lent itself to her powerful speech where she reiterated how honored she is to "stand on the shoulders of those who came before [and] speak tonight as your Vice President."

Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Harris normally isn't one to throw on an outfit willy-nilly, of course. Her expert fashion choices are deliberate. From her "Future is Female" socks to her sorority's iconic pearls, Harris knows how to send a message through her clothes. The night before the inauguration, on Jan. 19, Harris wore a beige overcoat from Pyer Moss to a memorial for the victims of COVID-19. The designer Kerby Jean-Raymond is a noted Black, American activist. For her victory speech following the Nov. 3 election, Harris stepped on stage in an all-white pantsuit as a callback to the suffragettes and the women's rights movement of the 1900s. Even the act of her pairing Timberland boots with a pantsuit spoke volumes about the kind of politician Harris is — one who's smart, professional, and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty to get the job done.

Anyone who's followed Harris' campaign knows she is partial to a pantsuit with a silk camisole, befitting of the former attorney general. She dons the look often in a seemingly never-ending array of navy, burgundy, black, and other darker shades. But all in all, her style really knows no bounds. She's as at ease campaigning in jeans and a button-down as she is wearing a bedazzled rainbow jacket to a Pride event. Although she doesn't sport one publicly very often, Harris also knows how to look totally glamorous in a gown.

While Harris' style is dependable and utilitarian, her inauguration outfit shows that she has so much more fashion to show America. With all the state dinners, speeches, and more soon to be filling her calendar, Harris will have plenty of time to show off exactly what her vice presidential fashion looks like.

This article was originally published on