The Real Reason Harris, Clinton and Others Wore Purple at Inauguration


The color purple was a big hit at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, with various shades worn by Vice President Kamala Harris, former first lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The fashion police at Cosmopolitan were on the case and soon advanced theories of why the color seemed to enjoy a splash of popularity.

In the days when Harris was battling Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, she said that she wore the color in an homage to former Democratic Rep. Shirley Chisolm of New York, who in 1968 became the first black woman elected to Congress.

Chisolm launched a presidential campaign in 1972, making her the first black woman to do so.

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Purple is also one of the colors that was a symbol of suffragettes — women who campaigned for the right to vote in the early part of the 20th century.

But some outlets said the color was a deliberate political message on the part of its wearers.

“The magenta shade of Obama’s suit was seen as a nod to unity as the new Biden administration enters the White House,” ABC News reported.

In that vein, Cosmo noted that Hillary Clinton often claimed it was for that reason that she would have worn purple when she took the oath of office had she not lost the presidency to Donald Trump in 2016.

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She did, however, have the opportunity to wear it when she issued her concession speech that year.

Some noted that there is more to the administration than symbolic color choices.

“Bipartisanship will end where Biden’s agenda begins,” Paul Waldman wrote last month in The Washington Post.

“Biden is coming into office with an agenda that is enormous in both volume and ambition,” he wrote. “Among other things, he wants to create a public health insurance option, raise the minimum wage, tackle climate change, make labor laws more union-friendly, expand access to affordable housing, make access to pre-K and child care universal, and a whole lot more.”

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