From Kamala Harris to Michelle Obama: Why so many women wore purple to Joe Biden's inauguration

No, it wasn't the colour of the day purely thanks to its fashion appeal

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According to Pantone, the colours of 2021 are a concrete-style grey and a cheery yellow.

However, the colour of the year at Joe Biden's presidential inauguration, held in Washington DC on Wednesday, was easily purple.

A number of high-profile attendees, including Vice President Kamala Harris, dressed in varying shades of the berry-toned hue, ranging from deep burgundy to shades that veered into fuchsia.

However, purple was, most likely, not chosen merely for its ability to flatter nor its fashion appeal. In fact, it has been surmised those who wore it used the colour to send a much-needed message of unity.

As a mix of red and blue, purple brings together the colours of America's two political parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, therefore symbolising a show of solidarity between members of both sides.

Rather than signify one's political beliefs, the colour is seen to represent bipartisanship, a compromise between two usually sparring parties.

Purple also has ties to the suffragettes, making up the movement's flag along with white and green.

Among those donning the shade was incoming Vice President Harris, who sported a vibrant dress and matching coat by emerging black designers Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson.

Former first lady Michelle Obama also settled on a design by Hudson, instead favouring a rich plum splashed across wide-cut trousers, turtleneck sweater and a tailored coat.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, championed American designer Ralph Lauren in an amethyst trouser suit with matching scarf.

"I did wear purple with a purpose because I knew the theme that President Biden was striking was unity," Clinton told reporters on the day. "I thought as you combine red and blue, the way that we are divided politically in our country, you get purple.

"I wanted just to send a bit of a symbolic message that we need to come together."

While not quite packing the full purple punch, Senator Elizabeth Warren added a pink-purple scarf to her ensemble, while former first lady Laura Bush sported a coat that toed the line between powder blue and lilac.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 19: Dr. Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden arrive for a memorial for victims of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at the Lincoln Memorial on the eve of the presidential inauguration on January 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. There have been nearly 400,00 deaths in the U.S. since the first confirmed case of the virus in Seattle in January of 2020.   Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/AFP
Dr Jill Biden and President Joe Biden arrive for a memorial for victims of the coronavirus pandemic on January 19. AFP

While she selected blue tweed by American label Markarian to watch her husband become the 46th President of the US, Dr Jill Biden also gave a nod to unifying purple during inauguration week.

During a ceremony dedicated to lives lost during the Covid-19 pandemic, held at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool on Tuesday, January 19, the first lady wore a purple dress and ribbon-tied coat by emerging American designer Jonathan Cohen.

"Red + Blue = Purple," the designer wrote on Instagram after the event. "This moment is about unity. Not red vs blue, but all of us coming together as a nation."