Why Wearing Purple on Inauguration Day Is So Significant

Sally Holmes
·2-min read
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

In honor of yesterday's great — and historic — day, three of the most influential women in the country chose to wear the same, very significant color: purple. Vice President Kamala Harris, former First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all wore the historically important hue. Even Senator Elizabeth Warren chose a purple scarf!

So why is purple so significant? For one, it represents bipartisanship: the literal mix of red, for the Republican party, and blue, for the Democratic party. This could be interpreted as a symbol of Harris's point of view as she starts this next chapter, and perhaps her desire to unite both sides of the aisle.

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

Second, it's a color of the suffragette movement. "Purple is the color of loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause. White, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose; and gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving," according to a line in a newsletter from National Woman’s Party in the United States. Harris chose to wear white back in November to deliver her victory speech after the election was officially called for Biden-Harris, so it feels apt that she wore another suffragette color on this occasion.

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

Harris, the first Black, South Asian woman to be sworn in as vice president, chose purple designs from Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson — two Black, American designers — plus her signature pearls, which are an ode to her Alpha Kappa Alpha sisterhood, and have inspired girls and women across the country to put on their own pearls in solidarity and celebration. CNN's Abby Phillip also noted that the color is a nod to Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, who Harris has honored before.

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

Hillary Clinton also chose purple for her memorable concession speech back in 2016 (designed by Ralph Lauren, who also made the suit she wore yesterday), sending a powerful message as she spoke to millions of disappointed women who had donned pantsuits to vote for her, hoping they would be electing the first woman into the White House.

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