Why Wearing Purple on Inauguration Day Is So Significant

Why Women are Wearing Purple Outfits on Inauguration Day 2021

purple
(Image credit: getty images )

Happy Inauguration Day! In honor of this great—and historic—day, three of the most influential women in the country chose to wear the same, very significant color: purple. Soon-to-be Vice President Kamala Harris (opens in new tab), former First Lady Michelle Obama, and former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are all wearing 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.

Joe Biden Sworn In As 46th President Of The United States At U.S. Capitol Inauguration Ceremony

(Image credit: Joe Raedle)

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 (opens in new tab) from National Woman’s Party in the United States. Harris chose to wear white back in November (opens in new tab) 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.

Joe Biden Sworn In As 46th President Of The United States At U.S. Capitol Inauguration Ceremony

(Image credit: Rob Carr)

Harris, the first Black, South Asian woman to be sworn in as vice president, chose purple designs from Christopher John Rogers (opens in new tab) and Sergio Hudson (opens in new tab)—two Black, American designers—plus her signature pearls (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab).

Joe Biden Sworn In As 46th President Of The United States At U.S. Capitol Inauguration Ceremony

(Image credit: Rob Carr)

Hillary Clinton also chose purple for her memorable concession speech (opens in new tab) back in 2016 (designed by Ralph Lauren, who also made the suit she's wearing today), 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.

Sally Holmes
Editor-in-Chief

Sally is the Editor in Chief of Marie Claire where she oversees coverage of all the things the Marie Claire reader wants to know about, including politics, beauty, fashion, and celebs. She came to Marie Claire from ELLE.com, where she was the Executive Editor. Before that, Sally was at NYMag.com's the Cut and graduated with an English major from Boston College. Her favorite Harry Potter is 'Order of the Phoenix.'