Hillary Clinton's Latest Pantsuit Is VERY Symbolic

Photo: Victor J. Blue/Getty Images.
Update: The historic white pantsuit Hillary Clinton wore while accepting the Democratic party's nomination for president was designed by Ralph Lauren, a rep for the designer confirmed to Pret-A-Reporter.


This story was originally published on July 29, 2016.

Hillary Clinton made history last night when she officially became the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. While the most riveting aspect of the night was, of course, that powerful speech, her outfit was also quite significant. The crisp white pantsuit did more than make Clinton look strong and pretty damn radiant. The outfit choice was quietly loaded with feminist history: American suffragettes frequently wore white while participating in demonstrations or marches rallying for women's right to vote in the early 1900s.

The connection between Clinton's all-white getup and feminist trailblazers that earned us our voting rights was quickly spotted and shared on social media during the presidential candidate's speech. The outfit's nod to feminist history isn't solely stateside, in fact: The hue's association with the fight for voting parity actually started across the pond, as British suffragettes wore white, in addition to purple and green, as Quartz pointed out.)
Some Twitter users linked Clinton's all-white look with another history-making female politician from over three decades ago. The country's first-ever female vice-presidential nominee also wore white while making her nomination speech in 1984:

Sure, it was yet another pantsuit. And after word spread yesterday that Anna Wintour has been low-key helping Clinton with her campaign wardrobe, we pondered the style possibilities for her big nomination acceptance speech. Clinton was expected to wear an American designer, Business of Fashion noted. But it seemed possible the pantsuit-favoring politician would go off-script, style-wise, with a rare appearance of a dress, maybe by a familiar name from Wintour's wheelhouse, such as Oscar de la Renta. (Also one of Clinton's favored pantsuit purveyors.)

But Clinton was wise to stick with a familiar silhouette. Her clothing didn't need to compete with the strength of her words. There's still too much time spent talking about the outfits of politicians' wives; admittedly, we're not immune to this. And there isn't any precedent set for how to talk about a female presidential candidate's clothing. Is it even okay to talk about it at all, considering how little we discuss the suits of Clinton's male counterparts and male POTUS hopefuls that have come before her? (Along those lines, the "FLOTUS fashion" treatment that Bill Clinton has been getting is pretty fantastic, particularly this brilliant take, also on Quartz.)

But the mere hue of Clinton's pantsuit last night subtly, successfully made a statement. And it's a statement, a nod to history, that couldn't have been more appropriate for the occasion.

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