Why Kamala Harris’ Suits On Her Campaign Trail Are Important


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To many Americans, first impressions matter. This is a core value that is ingrained in many of us largely because we believe that opportunities are directly linked to aesthetics: clean-cut clothing, dental hygiene, the appearance of our skin, and more. Conformity is another facet that many must bend to if they’re hoping to gain influence and power. Political candidates and those who seek to win higher office constantly toe the line between conformity and self-expression, the former usually trumps the latter. Here enters Vice President Kamala Harris, a woman who has largely built her image on well-fit pantsuits and not much else. For the campaign trail, she’s stuck to this uniform and hasn’t swayed.

The Significance Of Kamala Harris’ Suits
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MARCH 26: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Chavis community center on March 26, 2024 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Biden team is making a big push in North Carolina this year, a state he believes to be winnable in the November presidential election. Biden lost North Carolina to Donald Trump by only 2 percentage points in 2020. (Photo by Eros Hoagland/Getty Images)

As a woman who holds power one’s modus operandi relies on exuding influence not just through her oratory skills. Sartorial decisions are of high importance too–this is directly correlated to piecing together a uniform that can be associated with your public persona. Dressing the part matters largely because the American public will notice if a politician or public figure ethers into territory that doesn’t match where they aspire to be. That could look like disheveled clothing, or no attempts to clean up. For the larger part of President Joe Biden and the Vice President’s campaign for re-election, Harris has not slipped–instead, she’s been aesthetically sharp. 

For many public appearances this year, Harris wears tailored pantsuits in hues ranging from navy to Black to even dark brown. There have been instances when she has gone a bit off of this path–last year she wore a white blazer with black trousers as she stood near President Biden at The White House. Blue is a tone that holds cultural value, it has done so for centuries. In The Substance Of Style by Virginia Postrel she wrote that in twelfth-century France, blue represented the monarchy. Six centuries later, the tone symbolized the Revolution.

The Significance Of Kamala Harris’ Suits
PARKLAND, FLORIDA – MARCH 23: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris arrives to speak to the media during a visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on March 23, 2024, in Parkland, Florida. Harris spoke about gun safety measures after a meeting with the families whose loved ones were murdered during the 2018 mass shooting that took the lives of 14 students and three staff members. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Postrel notes that blue is also a signifier of political parties for U.S. newscasters when pinpointing American states that are voting Democratic hence why it could have become a go-to hue for Harris. It’s also viewed as a conservative color.  “Blue has historical and cultural significance, but it has no ‘authentic’ meaning,” Postrel writes. Whichever connotation one chooses to associate with blue, it’s apparent that the Vice President is aware that for clothing it is a safe choice. 

A blazer and a pair of pants worn together are the norm for many who choose career paths where they will largely be in offices or publicly photographed daily. Suits are a first impression that speaks to the level of seriousness that someone associates with their profession. On the campaign trail wearing them highlights how Harris aims to be consistent and continue holding the trust of the American public. In matters of high offices in the nation, it would be strange if the Vice President chose to not wear suits since it’s so normalized–it would be taboo for her to opt for different items.

The Significance Of Kamala Harris’ Suits
ORANGEBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 02: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during a ‘First In The Nation’ campaign rally at South Carolina State University on February 02, 2024 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The vice president continues campaigning across the state ahead of the February 3 primary election. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Whether she’s discussing the American economy or addressing victims of gun violence in Florida, Harris dons matching pieces. These garments aren’t armor, they’re a conscious decision she has had to make to prove that her clothing choices are of high importance to her and The White House. Her clean and honed image is tied to her authenticity and the lengths of her intellect. 

What rings loudly about the Vice President’s use of suits throughout her campaign trail this year is how it alludes to her aesthetic identity. In layman’s terms “aesthetic identity” is the choices one makes about their appearance, hair styles, clothing selections, and more that pertain to how they’d like to be perceived by their peers and others. There haven’t been any instances where Harris has swayed in an alternative direction. Postrel writes that one’s aesthetic identity “is both personal and social, an expression both of who we are and with whom we want, or expect to be grouped.” The style decisions depict one of the most regarded Black women in America as someone who is seeking to be trusted and embraced by Democratic voters nationwide. To conquer this she is turning to practical, conservative pieces that will lead to a victory for herself and President Joe Biden.


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