The Touching Reason Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Wore All White for Her Swearing-In

On Thursday, January 3, 2019, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was sworn into Congress. The youngest congresswoman in history, Ocasio-Cortez stood aside Democratic representative Nancy Pelosi who was sworn in as the House Majority Leader, reclaiming her title as Speaker of the House.

Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi join 89 female Democrats who make up the House of Representatives. If this didn’t already make your heart grow three sizes, the touching reason Ocasio-Cortez wore an all-white pantsuit will.

Throughout history, women leaders have worn white at key moments to symbolize solidarity with the activists and suffragists before them. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress wore white on her first day. Meanwhile, Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to campaign for President wore white throughout her run. And who could forget Hillary Clinton, who wore all white to Donald Trump’s inauguration?

The history of women leaders wearing the color dates back more than 100 years ago. In 1908, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, the honorary treasurer of the militant suffrage group Women’s Social and Political Union, chose three colors to unify demonstration participants. These colors were white for purity, purple for dignity, and green for hope.

Throughout the last century, women leaders like Hillary Clinton, Geraldine Ferraro, Shirley Chisholm, and now Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have worn white as a nod to Pethick-Lawrence and the movement.

In the past, Ocasio-Cortez has been unfairly judged for her fashion choices, but with decades of women’s history wrapped into one white pantsuit, we’re giving this outfit the attention it deserves.