The National Woman’s Party, an American political organization founded in the early 1900s, adopted white as one of its colors and called it the "emblem of purity"

By Hanna Flanagan
November 09, 2020 04:56 PM
Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris swapped out her beloved campaign trail Converse Chuck Taylors for a pair of nude heels and a symbolic Carolina Herrera pantsuit to address the nation after her historic victory in Wilmington, Delaware, on Saturday night.

The all-white ensemble — designed by Wes Gordon, the Creative Director of the immigrant-founded American label, Carolina Herrera — paid tribute to the suffragette movement while tying Harris’ election to the continued fight for women’s rights.

Back in the early 1900s, an American political organization called the National Woman’s Party adopted white as one of its colors. White was “the emblem of purity," according to the National Park Service, with the group's other colors, gold and purple, representing “light and life” and “loyalty" respectively. Suffragists were often portrayed as “masculine and ugly,” so they began wearing white dresses during marches to counteract that anti-suffrage stereotype and portray “the femininity and purity” of the movement, the National Park Service states.

Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty

Harris acknowledged the people who paved the way for her to become the first woman and woman of color vice president during her speech, saying, "All the women who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century: One hundred years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now, in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard."

She continued, "Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision—to see what can be unburdened by what has been—I stand on their shoulders."

Harris also thanked the poll workers and election officials throughout the country who "tirelessly" worked to assure that all votes were counted on and after Election Day. "Our nation owes you a debt of gratitude. You have protected the integrity of our democracy," she said. "And to the American people who make up our beautiful country, thank you for turning out in record numbers to make your voices heard. And I know times have been challenging, especially the last several months."

Back in 2016, many voters wore white to cast their ballots for the first female presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, using the hashtag #wearwhitetovote. Clinton also wore the symbolic color when she accepted the Democratic nomination for president in July of 2016 and again at the third 2016 presidential debate.