Just eight days before the upcoming US presidential election, Vanity Fair revealed its November cover featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. For it, the congresswoman wore her signature red lipstick, which paired perfectly with the wall of pink roses behind her, and a white, double-breasted suit by NY-based label Aliétte. The latter is significant for more than just its good looks.
Over the course of political history, dating back to the suffrage movement, the colour white has been used as a symbol of hope, as well as a sartorial mode of resistance. In 1968, Shirley Chisholm wore white as she became the first Black woman to be elected to Congress. Hillary Clinton wore white on a number of occasions during her run for president in 2016, including to accept her bid as the Democratic party’s nominee for president and to the final presidential debate. (Post-election, she wore white to Trump’s inauguration, as well as to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.)
In January of 2019, when AOC was sworn in as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, the then-29-year-old wore an all-white ensemble, too. “I wore all-white today to honour the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come,” she tweeted. “From suffragettes to Shirley Chisholm, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the mothers of the movement.” Then, at the 2020 State of the Union, which marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote, a sea of congresswomen arrived at the event wearing white to bring attention to the ongoing fight for women’s rights. Now, following Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation, the freedoms that women before us fought tooth and nail for are even more at risk.
Given the history of women in white in politics and AOC’s own past wardrobe choices, it’s no surprise that she once again donned the color for VF. Along with her white Aliétte suit, she also wore a handful of prominent designers for the spread, including recent CFDA winner Christopher John Rogers, Loewe, and Wales Bonner. Staying true to her relatable character, the congresswoman accessorised with a necklace from one of Instagram’s most beloved jewelry brands Mejuri. The Diamond Line Necklace, which features a gold bar with 11 small diamonds on it, is currently available to buy for $310. According to the website, each piece of Mejuri jewelry is “handcrafted, fairly priced, and made to wear — forever. So you can make every day a luxury and look good doing it.” (One scroll through AOC’s Instagram, and you’ll spot her doing just that, with the necklace making an appearing on countless occasions, from Vogue Beauty Secrets videos to an Instagram Live with Elizabeth Warren to discuss the Essential Workers Bill of Rights.)
Count on AOC to balance out the high fashion ensembles with a necklace she wears in her day-to-day life — one that’s also accessible (at least as diamond necklaces go). That, and wear an outfit that honours the past, as well as sends a strong message of resistance in the present and hope for the future.