To ring in the next four years, Jennifer Lopez sang three — well, technically two and a quarter — songs at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Wednesday. The setlist included the usual inaugural patriotic fare (“This Land Is Your Land,” by Woody Guthrie, who, according to Twitter, “hated” Donald Trump’s father; as well as “America the Beautiful”) and a quick bit from Lopez’s 1999 track “Let’s Get Loud,” a total bop that deserves a comeback. For the performance, which Twitter called “perfect for the moment we are living in,” the singer-actress wore head-to-toe Chanel.
But while J.Lo's tweed coat and sequinned wide-leg pants were certainly worthy of praise, the luxury label they bore had little to do with what made her Inauguration Day look so powerful. The fact that every item featured was suffragette white, however, that is a different story entirely.
Lopez — with her longtime stylists Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn — chose pieces from Chanel’s fall ‘19 (the blouse and pants) and fall ‘20 (the coat) ready-to-wear collections, with accessories, including pearl (a Harris signature!) CC earrings and a matching chain belt, pulled from years past. Despite them coming from different seasons, the pieces fit together to form a stunning outfit in a hue that has a long history in politics.
Dating back to the United States suffrage movement of the early 1900s, white has been worn as a symbol of resistance against gender inequality. In 1913, more than 8,000 women wore the colour during a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, during which they demanded a constitutional amendment allowing them the right to vote. More than 50 years later, Shirley Chisholm wore white when she became the first Black woman elected into Congress in 1968. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro wore white as she accepted her nomination as the first female vice presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential run was full of white ensembles.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore white as she was sworn in as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress in 2019. In February of last year, House Democratic women arrived at Trump’s State of the Union address all wearing white as a nod to the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment. Later, in October, the symbolic colour appeared again on Ocasio-Cortez, a participant in the SOTU protest, on the cover of Vanity Fair.
Lastly, on November 9 — a day we won’t soon forget — Kamala Harris took the stage at the Chase Centre in Wilmington, DE, to give her acceptance speech following the news that she and Joe Biden were to become the next Vice President and President, respectively, of the United States. Her choice to wear white was again significant — especially because the early suffrage movement largely left Black and other women of colour out of the conversation.
As someone who identifies as Latinx, with parents that hail from Puerto Rico, Lopez has also been left out of conversations. So, as one of many examples of female excellence who were present at today’s celebration, it comes as no surprise that Lopez would nod at the suffrage movement on Inauguration Day — in Chanel, no less.