What The Inauguration Outfits Say About This New Presidency

A breakdown of the meaning behind some of the Inauguration's top looks.

( Zayna Sheikh / Rowdy Magazine Graphic Designer )

From Dr. Biden’s Markarian face mask to Vice President Kamala Harris’ striking purple coat, this year’s inauguration was serve after serve!


A defining characteristic of the fashion at this year’s inauguration was its incorporation of American designers.


Vice President Kamala Harris wore a breathtaking purple dress and coat by Black American designer Christopher John Rogers. Though seemingly minute in detail, the choice to wear his work is, frankly, reassuring. Rogers’ work, rings in a new era of representation for the White House. Yeah, the vibrant color looked phemonenal on Harris. But there was also a deeper meaning to it.


Let me take you back to fifth grade art class: purple = red + blue. Kamala’s purple dress symbolized both ‘blue’ and ‘red’ parties coming together in the most beautiful form of unity. Similarly, the color can also reflect the idea of femininity and even royalty. Her pearl necklace was a nod to her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha at her alma mater, Howard University.



Parallel to Harris’s choice of American designers, it can be found that Dr. Jill Biden followed suit with a beautifully-jeweled coat by designer Alexandra O’Neill. O’Neill’s label, Markarian, is specifically known for its use of sustainable practices in order to reduce waste. Not only did Dr. Biden serve us a Markarian dress and coat, but she also was seen wearing a matching silk Markarian mask. Her choice of designer likely alludes to President Biden’s support of environmental justice and choice to re-join Paris Climate Accord.


The man of the evening, on the other hand, rocked a custom-tailored Ralph Lauren suit with a matching mask. This already put Biden one step above his predecessor!



Then, there was former first lady Michelle Obama. When she first walked in, forget Barack. She's all anyone noticed. Michelle slayed in a burgundy pantsuit and coat crafted by designer Sergio Hudson. She finished her look with black gloves, a beautiful blow-out and a belt with a stunning buckle. The most impeccable aspect of Michelle’s aesthetic, however, is the way in which she carries herself. You know she was feeling powerful.





One of the most notable aspects of this year’s inauguration was the captivating performance by Lady Gaga. As Gaga belted the national anthem, she sported a custom Schiaparelli dress consisting of a voluminous red skirt and tightly-fitted navy jacket. The most memorable aspect about Gaga’s jacket was the large, golden brooch that was in the shape of a dove carrying an olive branch — a symbol of peace.





Inauguration Day would not be complete without a few special visitors. Similar to Kamala Harris, Senator Hillary Clinton was also seen wearing a vivid Ralph Lauren purple pantsuit, a color that parallels her outfit from her concession speech in 2016.





Former First Lady Melania Trump took a different approach, however. On Wedneday, she made her final appearance leaving the White House, in head-to-toe black. Oof. Melania’s choice of black really showed her sense of mourning, as if she was leaving a part of herself at the White House with her husband’s controversial presidency. While she may have thought of Biden’s election as a funeral of sorts, his presidency may have preserved democracy.


( Elle Magazine )

Or, she also may not have given a f*ck. Melania chose non-American designers, Chanel and Dolce and Gabbana. This was a bit controversial, especially since she wore American designers for her 2017 inauguration dress.


Overall, the Inauguration Day looks of 2020 are definitely leaving us hopeful for the next four years as we ride out the rest of the pandemic.





Kyle Hamilton is a Rowdy Magazine Online Writer.