Fashion and politics go hand in hand, and while we were listening closely to the speeches and messages from the Democratic National Convention, we were also watching out for the outfits and any hidden meanings behind them.
The DNC ran from August 17 to August 20, and its purpose was to confirm the nominations of Joe Biden as running for president and Kamala Harris as his VP. The event is normally held in a massive stadium packed out with members of the Democratic party, but this year it was held remotely with speeches broadcast on TV and posted online.
Politicians know whatever they wear will be highly scrutinized, so they often make an effort to inject deeper meanings into their fashion. These are some of the most powerful fashion statements worn by politicians and celebrities at the DNC.
Kamala Harris made history as the first African-American and first Asian-American to run on a major party ticket. For her speech at the convention, she wore a classic burgundy pantsuit in a double-breasted cut. Harris accessorized the suit with a double string of pearls, which many have interpreted as a nod to the sorority she was part of at Howard University, Alpha Kappa Alpha. It is known as the first black sorority, and its founding members were called the Twenty Pearls.
When Michelle Obama gave a powerful speech urging people to vote, one subtle aspect of her outfit went viral: her necklace. The former First Lady’s delicate gold necklace spelled out the word ‘VOTE’, custom-made by LA jewelry label BYCHARI.
Obama’s stylist Meredith Koop told CNN: “I built all of the outfit options I offered to Obama around the necklace. When I commissioned it, I knew it had to be the centerpiece.” She added: “When the speech started, you had to squint a little to read it. I love that. It pulled the viewer in.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke at the convention as the Representative of New York’s 14th congressional district and a rising star in the Democratic party. She did so in a sleek magenta dress with a boat neckline – a modern and elegant cut favored by the Duchess of Sussex – and did everyone a favor by later confirming on Twitter her berry lip color was Tarte ‘Lippie Lingerie’ Matte Tint in Envy.
Tracee Ellis Ross
As well as politicians, celebrities appeared to endorse the party and encourage people to vote. Actor Tracee Ellis Ross was the host of the convention’s second day, saying in her speech: “As a black woman, I find myself at a crucial intersection in American politics. For far too long, black women’s female leadership in this country has been utilized without being acknowledged or valued – but we are turning the tide. Hello, Kamala. Her nomination is historic.”
Ross is no stranger to making a statement with her fashion, and she did so at the convention in a structured and draped maroon Proenza Schouler with a thick black belt and puff sleeves.
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Kerry Washington took over MC duties for the third night of the convention, donning a strong and professional pinstripe suit from Alexandre Vauthier for the occasion.