Why Everyone at the Inauguration Dressed in Monochrome Colors

From the Vice President and First Lady to Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton—key attendees chose one solid hue.

inauguration fashion
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Today's historic inauguration ushered in a new era for the country and with more women in the White House than ever before, it marked an iconic moment in fashion. The Vice President, First Lady, and former First Lady Michelle Obama chose looks from small, BIPOC-owned, and emerging brands; J.Lo arrived in a Chanel white suit as an homage to women suffragists to perform a "This Land is Your Land" remix; Biden's children and grandchildren arrived in a suite of sophisticated ensembles.

us singer jennifer lopez is escorted to the inauguration of us president elect joe biden on the west front of the us capitol on january 20, 2021 in washington dc photo by win mcnamee pool afp photo by win mcnameepoolafp via getty images

'Jennifer Lopez in Chanel'

(Image credit: WIN MCNAMEE)

One trend immediately stood out amongst key attendees: Monochrome was the look of the day—from Vice President Harris' purple look by Christopher John Rogers (opens in new tab) and Dr. Biden's ocean blue Markarian dress and coat (opens in new tab) trimmed in Swarovski crystals and velvet, to Michelle Obama's head-to-toe plum ensemble by Sergio Hudson (opens in new tab)J.Lo (opens in new tab)'s all-white Chanel continued the trend, which was also embraced by Hillary Clinton (opens in new tab), who sported head-to-toe violet alongside Harris. Biden's granddaughters Naomi, Natalie, Finnegan, and Maisy wore white, pink, tan, and black respectively, while his daughter Ashley sported all navy.

The choice to wear one single color from head-to-toe is not only flattering in its ability to elongate one's silhouette, but simple in its straightforwardness. It may also be, per O'Neill, a nod to the suiting we've become accustomed to seeing continuously on the political and world stage, with men historically dominating roles in public service. "It’s a classic way of dressing and of doing things, it’s like an old school suit ensemble," she tells BAZAAR.com exclusively. As for her choice to stick with a tonal look when designing for the First Lady, O'Neill added: "I personally love a matchy-matchy look, it's one of our signature ways of doing things [at Markarian]. I wanted to do something that was really classic and that would withstand the test of time."

washington, dc january 20 president joe biden and first lady dr jill biden wave as they arrive at the north portico of the white house, on january 20, 2021, in washington, dc during todays inauguration ceremony joe biden became the 46th president of the united states photo by alex brandon poolgetty images

'President Joe Biden in Ralph Lauren with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, in a monochrome blue Markarian ensemble. '

(Image credit: Pool)

Of course, the color chosen becomes more significant, which is why we saw so much purple on the inauguration stage (opens in new tab). The shade, a mix of the political party colors, red and blue is said to evoke a sense of solidarity, bipartisanship, and unity, according to The Hill (opens in new tab).

washington, dc january 20 former us president bill clinton and his wife hillary clinton arrive for the inauguration of president elect joe biden on the west front of the us capitol on january 20, 2021 in washington, dc during today's inauguration ceremony biden becomes the 46th president of the united states photo by jonathan ernst poolgetty images

'Hillary Clinton in head-to-toe violet and President Bill Clinton '

(Image credit: Pool)

Naomi Biden (opens in new tab) and Jennifer Lopez arrived to the Capitol in all white, a likely nod to women suffragists (opens in new tab). The color was also chosen by Vice President Harris the night of the election (opens in new tab), when she wore a look by Carolina Herrera designer Wes Gordon. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden chose marine blue, a riff on the signature shade of the Democratic party and one that Markarian designer Alexandra O'Neill noted was intended to signify "trust, confidence, and stability."

washington, dc january 20 us president joe biden and first lady dr jill biden walk the abbreviated parade route after biden's inauguration on january 20, 2021 in washington, dc biden became the 46th president of the united states earlier today during the ceremony at the us capitol photo by chip somodevillagetty images

'Finnegan Biden at the 2021 Inauguration Parade'

(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla)

us president joe bidenc and first lady jill bidenr walk along pennsylvania avenue in front of the white house during inaugural celebrations, on january 20, 2021 with family members after us president biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the united states photo by doug mills pool afp photo by doug millspoolafp via getty images

'Nathalie Biden in a pink coat by Lafayette 148 New York with coordinating gloves and face mask.'

(Image credit: DOUG MILLS)

It seems as though the trend, embraced so widely by today's attendees, was another sign of the change we should expect to see in this new Biden era—one where perfectly-tailored, fashion-forward suiting from America's emerging designers will be seen on main stages as often as classic menswear.

Carrie Goldberg is HarpersBAZAAR.com’s Weddings & Travel Director. She oversees the site’s BAZAAR Bride channel, travel & dining content, and styles fashion and bridal editorials for BAZAAR.com. When she’s not traveling, she spends her free time in her hometown–New York City–where there is no shortage of new places to shop, eat, drink, see and explore.