How Kamala Harris uses style to tell her story

How the candidates for president and vice president communicate nonverbally—from their facial expressions, to how often they wear masks, to the way that they dress—is a critical component of their campaigns. This is not to suggest that the colour of a blazer or the print on a tie is of a piece with a candidate’s policy positions. But, as Vanessa Friedman persuasively argues in The New York Times, “Substance doesn’t exist entirely independent of style.” Style, when wielded most effectively, can often reinforce message, substance, and character.

Look no further than VP candidate Kamala Harris’s now-viral plane exits.

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When she’s not in heels, as she was for the vice presidential debate in Salt Lake City, Harris is

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How AOC and Kamala Harris became 2020’s fashion influencers

It seems like several lifetimes ago that Michelle Obama shocked a public steeped in couture-clad First Ladies by rotating through a kaleidoscope of young designers—Thakoon and Jason Wu among them. In her Netflix documentary Becoming, Obama addresses the pressures that caused her to embrace clothing as part of her messaging. “Fashion for a woman still predominates how people view you, and that’s not fair, that’s not right. But it’s true,”she says. With her choices, Obama moved the needle, proving it’s possible to be a woman of substance and intelligence and still love style.

kamala harris at san francisco pride in 2019
Kamala Harris at San Francisco Pride in 2019.

Justin Sullivan

Now we have a vice-presidential candidate, Kamala Harris, who wields fashion choices like weapons in her arsenal. There was her denim jacket of rainbow colours, worn to celebrate Pride in 2019, with symbolism so clear she needn’t have uttered a word. She signals she’s down-to-earth with

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What Kamala Harris’ Style Choices Say About Her Politics

For most of her career, Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) has stuck to a practical, nondescript uniform, but one can glean a lot about the Democratic vice presidential nominee and her approach to politics by paying attention to her fashion choices.

Harris’ signature look revolves around pairing dark, neutral pantsuits with softer items like round-neck blouses, pearl earrings and necklaces. It’s a go-to combination that has been consistent in her wardrobe for decades. 

Harris speaks about the coronavirus in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 27. (Photo: ERIC BARADAT via Getty Images)
Harris speaks about the coronavirus in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 27. (Photo: ERIC BARADAT via Getty Images)

Joseph Rosenfeld, an image consultant who has worked with politicians (but not Harris), calls this pairing “a wonderful strategy.” Rosenfeld told HuffPost, “When she is wearing [this pairing], she is really conveying not a mixed message but a complete message, which is, ‘I am friendly and approachable and supportive and I will listen.’ But it also simultaneously means, ‘I’m tough. I

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