The Race to the White House: Dressing Jill Biden & Kamala Harris

Photo credit: Left Wikidata.com Right: Ibtimes.com

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) presidential nominating convention begins Monday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Like everything else in this strange, unprecedented year, the convention will be virtual. The four-day event will include speeches by Bill Clinton, the Obamas, Bernie Sanders, Governor Cuomo, with performances by Billie Eilish, Jennifer Hudson, and John Legend, among others.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Photo: dnyuz.com

Let the Race Begin! And I’m not just referring to the race to the White House but also the race for who will dress Dr. Jill Biden in her role as First Lady and Senator Kamala Harris as Vice President, should Joe Biden win the election in November. As superficial as it may be to talk about fashion, we know that the fashion choices made by those in the public eye are always highly scrutinized. The White House is the world’s biggest stage.

Dr. Jill Biden
Photo conwaydailysun.com

Dr. Biden and Senator Harris are smart, accomplished, and attractive women with their own well-formed and individual styles. They share many similarities, including an affinity for classic styles, tailoring, pearls, and neutral colors. They look great, but there is always room for improvement, especially at that level. There will be no shortage of people vying to offer their fashion advice and no lack of designers who would love to dress them.

“They are both independent intelligent and beautiful woman and to dress them would express in clothes the hope we need as a nation”- Ralph Rucci.

I reached out to Ralph Rucci and asked him to weigh in. The outspoken couturier admits he would “love to collaborate” with Dr. Jill Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. Rucci has very strong ideas about what he likes and dislikes. It just so happens that Ralph’s ideas are very much in sync with my own.

Based on what I have seen of the clothing preferences of both women, I chose a few admittedly idealized examples of ensembles that would be perfect choices going forward. Included are some of Ralph Rucci and several other American designers’ beautifully fabricated, well-cut designs. There is no question that Jill and Kamala will be mixing a lot of high and low and won’t necessarily focus on the high end at all times.

Right: Peter Do Fall 2020 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Vogue.com

“Kamala represents our future, and Jill is divine” says Ralph. Rucci says Kamala’s working wardrobe is “impeccable” I agree wholeheartedly. I could easily see Kamala wearing one of Peter Do’s beautifully tailored light charcoal gray coat and pant ensembles.

Partow Fall 2020 Ready-to-Wear & Oscar de la Renta 2020 Resort
Photo: Vogue.com

Ralph praises Kamala’s charcoal and black suitings, white charmeuse blouses with beautiful necklines, and her use of gray or white pearls. I love the idea of gray for the evening as well. Even though the 55-year-old Senator stands at 5’2”, Ralph says she can carry anything, because, it’s all about proportion and cut.

FYI, Jill Biden, who turned 69 in June, stands at 5’6”. I think both these two pantsuits (one from the Partow Fall 2020 Ready-to-Wear collection and the other from Oscar de la Renta’s Resort 2020 collection) would suit Kamala well.

On the right, Ralph Lauren Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: Vogue.com

On August 11th, when Kamala Harris and Joe Biden made their joint appearance at a Wilmington, Delaware gymnasium, their respective spouses were in attendance. Ralph gave high marks to Dr. Biden’s ivory dress that recalled Galanos. Ralph loves to see Dr. Biden in shades of ivory, cream, tan, and celadon green. I also think Dr. Biden looks very chic in black.

RR331 Fall Winter 2016 2017 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

So, if Ralph were to dress the two women, what would he propose? “I would just use my whole suitcase filled with technique” the couturier opined. “We need them in double-faced clothes. We need them in clothes with beautiful attention to detail, we need them in wonderful fabrics, and we need them out of prints. There needs to be a refreshing reminder of great American quality fabrics: beautiful silk raincoats, velvets, crisp cotton piques in white,” advises Rucci.

RR331 Fall 2019 Haute Couture
Photo: Dan Lecca

Ralph continues with his thoughts: “We need to see both women in well-fitted clothes with strong necklines and slim arms. And we need them also in pants with low heeled pumps. I am so over these 4-inch heels that we see.” Another pet peeve is bone shoes. I dislike them as well, especially when platformed. Great, elegant shoes completely make an outfit.

Jill Biden in Reem Acra & Narciso Rodriguez Spring 2020 Ready-to-Wear
Photos: Glamour.com & Vogue.com

If it were up to Ralph, he would put an end to the habit of wearing red, white, and blue, and wearing Nancy Reagan red! “Jimmy (Galanos) never put Nancy in red” Ralph observes. Just a note: I am not against red if it’s beautifully executed, and I think the color would look especially well on Senator Harris. Rucci also believes that the only time blue is acceptable is when it’s a navy mohair day suit or navy chiffon for the evening.

RR331 Fall Winter 2016 2017 Ready-to-Wear
Photo: vogue.com

Ralph thinks both women are perfect and look beautiful as is. But, for the evening, Ralph would love for Paul Podlucky to do their hair. Paul is the “fast-talking Upper East Side hair guru on the speed dial of every PYT in 10021, and he makes house calls” according to New York Magazine.

RR331 Fall 2019 Haute Couture
Photo Dan Lecca

Ralph suggests that the hair has a little more fullness on top for special occasions and is tucked behind the ears. “Think of Camelot,” he says. Ralph is thinking ahead to Inauguration Day and the Inaugural Ball. Rucci has a few ideas of what he would ideally like to see but is keeping them to himself for the time being.

Marilyn Kirschner
Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

2 Comments
  1. Hi everyone

    Kamala needs help. Her wine suit needed tailoring.shoulders too wide and pants too tight around thighs. Lastly an acetate cami under .???
    Jill Biden always looks nice but Kamala needs a stylist.
    Also Doug is cute but his off the racks suits are too short.
    He should check with either Biden or Obama for who makes their suits.

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