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Inauguration Style Recap: COLOR IS YOUR TOOL

Natalie Harris

While outerwear is absolutely beyond our typical domain, where there is fashion and a refreshing air of progress, we promise to gleefully indulge.

The most noteworthy trend today was absolutely the impactful use of color.  I would call myself a maximalist on most days, admittedly.  In the capitol, though, prints or extravagance translate all too easily to fussy, or worse, inappropriate.  The real fun in fashion, though, is playing with the tools afforded you within contextual constraints.  Are we talking about using color in bridal fashion design now?  We could be!  Haha.  We aren't (and we are!), but let's take a look at this veritable "How-to Guide to Dignified Formal Outerwear" that the VIP women of DC presented us today.

Our new Vice President commands our attention first, naturally.  It should come as no surprise that whom she tapped to create her handful of looks was no accident.  Her purple ensemble from this afternoon's milestone moment is brought to us by Christopher John Rogers, a young Louisiana-born NYC designer of color.  With today's theme focused so intently on unity, I embrace the romantic notion I've read numerous places now that perhaps the purple might be symbolic of the magic that happens when red and blue combine, as well as confidence and trust.  


My favorite purple of the day? Plum on violet.  It was just the bit of risk I love.  Ralph Lauren for Hillary Clinton.


This next one is a cheat, as it was from Inauguration Eve, but while we're talking about stunning use of purple, this shade of orchid used by Jonathan Cohen is a personal favorite of mine.  It's a warm purple that's great on everyone, truly.  I preferred this to Dr. Biden's swearing in look.  (Apologies to fans of "Ice Queen blue").  Was excited to read, however, that it was designed by woman-owned NY label Markarian (Alexandra O'Neill, another young designer). Lots of support for American indie fashion once again, refreshingly.  


I couldn't help but smile when I saw Lady Gaga emerge as the performer of the national anthem.  Name a more unapologetically inclusive, predictably controversial, perfectly curated choice for that moment.  Boy, when she punched the air at "THE FLAG. WAS. STILL. THERE" I wanted to stand up and shout.  Just one artful moment among many on the day.  
Her look!  I confess, my favorite.  Granted, Gaga has fewer (and different) constraints here, so of course I'm going to have my legs buckle at a Schiaparelli gown with voluminous drama that screams, "I'M HERE, BITCHES, BUT YOU COULDN'T GET WITHIN 6 FEET IF YOU TRIED" and color that nails dignified patriotism perfectly.  We aren't complete, however, because Daniel Roseberry says to himself, "You know, I think there's still room to put a bird on this.  DO IT."  And the House that Elsa built did the thing.  10/10 patriotic pinwheels, Schiaparelli.

While we're talking about art - my sheer delight when I found #BlackLivesMatter advocate Amanda Gorman onstage resulted in an audible squeal. This woman's WHOLE heart is in her work, and her radiance speaking harsh truths with hope was contagious.  Prada doesn't hurt, naturally.  
Bonus detail:  Her birdcage ring was a gift from Oprah, in tribute to Maya Angelou.  My GOODNESS.  The more you look at this day, the more women you see.  

Ok, this lovely lady won't get a mention on all the "Best Dressed" lists, because some of you might have missed her.  Finnegan Biden was my favorite suiting look all day in Brandon Maxwell.  Head to toe camel isn't easy, or even what I'd have predicted to top my list, but yes.  I just sat in awe, realizing I've been sleeping on this neutral.  Wow.


An honorable mention to another Biden granddaughter, Natalie.  That's a lot of pink, but this is how to do so:


Michelle Obama dresses better than 99.9% of humans, so it almost feels lazy to point out how great she looked, but she earns it.  And yet?  I'm not bored.  Study the magic.  Exhibit A:


I wasn't emotionally prepared for Garth to ask us to join him in "Amazing Grace", and I had to fight a tear when I imagined what a workplace might look like had they done so.  I hope coming days have reports of those moments captured.  
But my man could have hired a stylist.  Will skip star rating due to a stockpile of childhood fandom, but woof.  Moving on.

As if one American megadiva couldn't suffice, the ineffable J-Lo graces us as well.  I don't know how to address this.  Just behold the Chanel in action, the white noted as her tribute to suffragettes.


The Second Daughter is getting an honorable mention, as if she needs any help from me.  A currently enrolled student at Parson's, Ella Emhoff is set up in a pretty sweet spot for exposure when her moment comes.  This Miu Miu coat isn't short on quirk.  Love it. 


That a return to the tradition of supporting American independent designers thrills me is clear.  The European labels were still sprinkled in, to be sure, but none were status symbols for the sake of themselves.  That symbolism deserves to be shipped to Florida for retirement.  This is an era of strength rooted in authenticity and homegrown.

Mostly, I just wanted to use this opportunity to illustrate how far personal style can go, even when considerations like outerwear, masks, formality, and etiquette feel limiting.  Take inspiration from the drama, the pageantry, and the authentic expression of each woman on display.  While we celebrate a new chapter, take inspiration from these women and let your truth emanate from you with their ferocity.  

Are you ready to do that for your moment down the aisle?
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With love and hope - 
Natalie

 

 


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