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Things We Saw Today: Biden Inauguration Fashion Sparked Monochromatic Appreciation and Many Memes


Many a fashion-related meme emerged today from Joe Biden’s Presidential Inauguration. While fun was had with Bernie Sanders’ coat and Lady Gaga’s Hunger Games-esque brooch, the styles worn by the first couple and the Vice President and Second Gentleman make a statement. What we saw were bold, monochromatic jewel tones that brightened up the day and often featured diverse and up-and-coming American designers.

It’s incredibly frustrating when female politicians and official figures have the conversation about them narrowed down to their outfits. For example, take these back-to-back Tweets from Forbes:

We can, unfortunately, expect quite a bit more of this sort of thing in the future now that we have our first female Vice-President. But not all fashion discussion has to be sexist or scathing.

It can also be fun to gaze upon our new leaders and find out what they’re wearing and generate a meme or two. And, as Vanity Fair declares, in 2021 we’re now seeing a return of “fashion as diplomacy,” making a statement through the designers and accessories chosen. Fashion is also political. For those keeping track at home:

  • President Biden, breaking with presidential Brooks Brothers tradition, wore a navy suit and overcoat by Ralph Lauren. Lauren also made his blue tie and mask.
  • Dr. Jill Biden wore a bright blue dress and coat by designer Alexandra O’Neill of Markarian, a brand that emphasizes sustainability. O’Neill says that she was inspired to sew and start designing by her grandmother.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris wore designs by two Black American designers—clothes by Christopher John Roberts and heels by Sergio Hudson (who is also responsible for Michelle Obama’s show-stopping plum suit). The color she chose, purple, is seen as a “unifying” shade.
  • The first Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, also wore Ralph Lauren.

There were other significant fashion moments at the Inauguration beyond the two couples in the limelight.

I am not crying. You, in fact, are crying:

The incredible Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman made waves with her gorgeous verse, and her eye-catching yellow coat was a social media hit.

Michelle Obama’s stunning look turned heads and brought a thousand memes bursting into being.

As did Senator Bernie Sanders’ coat look/subsequent memes. Want those mittens? Well, their creator is likely swamped, but if you want to give it a shot …

Lady Gaga’s outfits drew Hunger Games and Star Wars mentions.

A few of the other memes and observations that also caught our eye …

And finally:

What did you see on this fine Inauguration Day?

(image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.