Fashion at the Inauguration


The Inauguration is regarded as one of the most monumental events during a presidential term. It represents not just the core values of democracy, but also the start of a new presidency, and with that, the creation of new policies meant to improve the nation. This Inauguration— while historic in that the first ever Black woman of South Asian descent was sworn in as Vice President— was also recognized for its well dressed attendees. Read below for a description of the outfits worn by the most notable figures at the Inauguration.

President Biden

President Biden, arguably the most important figure at the inauguration on Wednesday, January 20th, decided to go with all Ralph Lauren, just as Doug Emhoff, the Second Gentleman, did as well. He wore a Ralph Lauren suit, coat, and mask. President Biden also wore a “true blue” tie that was said to match the color of Dr. Jill Biden’s outfit. The designs were actually made by Ralph Lauren himself, a Bronx-born designer whose reputation has been built on channeling the mythology of the American Dream. Ralph Lauren has also dressed the United States Olympic team, restored the Star-Spangled Banner, and helped both Democratic and Republican administrations with their fashion ventures.

First Lady and Second Gentleman:

Both Dr. Jill Biden, President Biden’s wife, and Mr. Doug Emhoff, Vice President Harris’ husband, had many eyes on them during the inaugural events. Both spouses of the two most important people in the White House and government represent some of the firsts in the country: Jill Biden is the first spouse of the President of the United States to have a doctorate, which she received from the University of Delaware. In addition, Doug Emhoff is the first person with a Second Gentleman title, Jewish heritage, and a career as a lawyer. Both people’s outfits reflected their vital roles in the next four years of American politics. In the case of Dr. Biden, Alexandra O’Neill of Markarian designed her inaugural outfit. In December, O’Neill was allowed to create a look for the First Lady and was only given a month to do so. O’Neill wanted to create something classic and feminine and also something that portrays confidence and strength. She ultimately opted to create a blue coat with a dark blue velvet collar and cuffs worn over a tapered dress with a scalloped skirt, hand embellished with Swarovski crystals.

O’Neill said, “I had a good, hopeful feeling, but to see it was really amazing. Not only is she supporting an American designer—and I am so humbled to be a part of this—but she drew attention to the Garment District and the workers here, which are such an important part of New York City.”

Although Doug Emhoff’s look was sometimes sidelined by his daughter, Ella Emhoff, his fashion was classic and proper for a second gentleman. He wore clothing from the all American designer Ralph Lauren. He decided to go with a monochromatic look involving a knee-grazing, double-breasted coat over a matching suit with a white dress shirt underneath for contrast. He then opted for black dress shoes and leather gloves.

Children and Grandchildren

Each grandchild of President Biden wore a completely different look, opting to showcase their distinguished styles. Each granddaughter chose to wear a winter coat and matching mask for a monochrome look of different colors. Natalie Biden chose the boldest color of all of the grandchildren, a custom pink Lafayette 148 New York coat with a matching mask. Her brother, Robert (Hunter) II, wore a simple yet classic suit. Naomi Biden, 27, wore white, a color often associated with that of suffragettes.

Finnegan said, “Maisy and I and Natalie and Naomi have had the privilege of being able to see two of our friends navigate eight years of what was really difficult, and they did so, so beautifully.”

Harris’s niece’s husband, Nik Ajagu, wore Dior Air Jordans, a highly sought after shoe on the market that is extremely rare. The Second Gentleman’s daughter, Ella Emhoff, was a fashion icon at the inauguration. Attending Parsons School of Design, she wore a plaid houndstooth jacket with sparkles, Miu Miu’s work. She also wore a moiré dress underneath, designed by Batsheva, a Jewish brand priding itself on modernizing traditional American styles with elements symbolic of restraint and repression.

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, the current 48th Vice President of the United States, is the first African American and Asian American woman to serve as Vice President in American history. At the inauguration, she wore an iconic royal purple dress with a matching coat. Not only was the outfit itself gorgeous, but the meaning behind it serves to be even more powerful; women have often worn purple while promoting their rights regarding voting.

Kamala Harris said she wore this outfit as “a nod to Shirley Chisolm, who ran for president decades ago and inspired her career.”

Her outfit was made and designed by Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson, classic Black American designers. Vice President Harris also wore a pearl necklace created by Puerto Rican designer Wilfredo Rosado.

Amanda Gorman

Many other important people who attended the inauguration also wore inspiring outfits. First, poet Amanda Gorman attended the inauguration and read a beautiful poem. She wore a yellow Prada coat that seemed to define her outfit, as well as her personality.

Regarding her outfit, Amanda said, “I’m also wearing a yellow coat, which is my own nod to Dr. Jill Biden, who was the one who recommended me in the first place, and I’m so honored by that. She said, ‘I saw this video of you, and you were wearing yellow, and I loved it.'”

Amanda was also given a birdcage ring from Oprah, who had given Maya Angelou (a previous inaugural poet) clothing for former President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States (2009-2017), wore a stunning burgundy and plum-colored monochromatic suit with a black face mask to the inauguration. Her outfit was designed by the young Black American designer, Sergio Hudson, one of Michelle’s favorite designers. Overall, Michelle Obama looked incredible in her outfit.

Bernie Sanders

One person not to be missed at the inauguration was the accidentally viral Bernie Sanders. Opting to wear a Burton GORE-TEX parka paired with a disposable face mask, Sanders finished out the look by wearing mittens. The mittens were created by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vermont, who created them for him a few years ago as a gift. They are made out of repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.

When speaking to Gayle King on CBS News, Sanders claimed that “In Vermont, we know something about the cold, and we’re not so concerned about good fashion, we want to keep warm, and that’s what I did today.”

Congratulations for Bernie Sanders and his chill outfit, showing the world that functionality always perseveres.