The Most Powerful Fashion to Make a Statement During SOTU

On January 7, the world watched as over 80 male and female celebrities swept the red carpet of the Golden Globes dressed in black. The uniformity of color was meant to send the message to the “powers that be” that the era of sexist and threatening work behavior was over.

“On the count of three, let’s all vow to remove any space in our hearts for negativity and hate,” wrote Elana Hinton on Instagram. “Ready? One, two, three.”

“The new year brings an exciting new season of award shows,” wrote The Fashion Group International DC. “And with it, comes brand new red carpet moments to inspire us.”

Hinton has been a D.C. and Maryland based blogger, better known as “The Style Digestion”, for little under a year but already has over 2,000 followers. FGIDC has been a nonprofit organization in the DC area since 2011 and hosts DC’s fashion week. When Hollywood used fashion for social impact, it not only resonated with Washingtonians, it compelled the political elite to do the same on January 30th.

“My colleagues and I are calling on our fellow [Members of Congress] – women and men, Democrats and Republicans – to wear black to this year’s SOTU in solidarity [with] survivors of sexual harassment [and] violence in Hollywood, politics, the military, academia, etc.,” Representative Jackie Speier tweeted on January 10th. “This is a culture change that is sweeping the country and Congress is embracing it,” she also said in a statement. Along with Speier, the Democratic Women's Working Group and Wisconsin Representative Gwen Moore have publically announced that they will be wearing black to the State of The Union address, and so far five other members have vowed to boycott the event entirely.

Some congressional leaders are planning to bring advocates, writers and assault survivors to SOTU. Representative Brenda Lawrence will bring Danielle McGuire, author and historian of sexual crime and racism. In 2010, she published At the Dark End of the Street, which in part tells the biography of Recy Taylor. In 1944, Taylor was raped by seven white men who were never indicted and, on the evening of the Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey remembered Taylor in her speech which was met with a standing ovation.

“We cannot forget the many marginalized women who have spoken up, spoken out and have long been ignored,” tweeted Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman on January 10th. “In this effort, we must also acknowledge the inequities in acknowledging our suffering and the failure of judicial system in administering justice.” Coleman and the Women of the Congressional Black Caucus will don red pins on January 30th in support of marginalized groups, including Taylor who died last month.

“I think it’s powerful and appropriate that Members of Congress will wear black to acknowledge the seriousness of and imminent need to address sexual assault,” Marissa Mitrovich told Capitally. Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Politiquette, a Washington DC based style blog.

Familiar with the concept of fashion protest, Washingtonians have participated in trends that honor and showcase diversity, open-mindedness, and justice despite the administration's tone-deaf complicitness. Safety pins have been worn more for suffragist solidarity than for wardrobe malfunction. Rainbows drape 14th street in celebration of it’s inclusive community. Cat accessories are being worn well after the march – hats, keychains and beyond. And, at least according to Paul Ryan, any woman unwilling to shroud her shoulders – as she would in the Vatican – is making a statement.

“I think it's very important for women to show their support for one another, and if dressing in the same color at high profile events is how they choose to show their solidarity, then more power to them,” Sylvia Colella told Capitally.  “However, the Miranda Priestly in me can't help but think "Wearing black to an important or fashionable event? Ground breaking.” Colella is a lifestyle and fashion blogger.

We’ve pulled all-black ensembles from designers who have publicly disapproved of the administration by refusing to dress the Trump family. As well as rainbow and sleeveless fashion and accessories with safety pin or cat detailing from various Washington based and national designers. Shop the slideshow to gather the tools you’ll need to #showitwithfashion and ensure that #timesup.



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ControversiesKierra Chinn