women are planning on wearing pantsuits to the polls tomorrow

As a tribute to you-know-who.

by Erica Euse
08 November 2016, 12:25am

Pantsuits have been all over the runway and the red carpet recently, but now women in the two-piece sets will be taking over the polls. Millions of people will make history this election by casting their vote for Hillary Clinton tomorrow, and in celebration of this milestone, enthusiasts around the country will be sporting the presidential nominee's signature look.

A little over two weeks ago, Libby Chamberlain started the Facebook group Pantsuit Nation, which urges its followers to wear a pantsuit when they go to vote. The small private group was designed as a safe space for Clinton supporters to celebrate the historic presidential nominee during a chaotic election season.

"The morning after the third and final presidential debate, I was inspired by a conversation with my friend, Caddie, who was telling me about having to defend Secretary Clinton's clothing choices to a group of young women," said Chapman in a statement shared with i-D. "We talked about how beautifully and stoically Hillary embodies women's fight for equality, and how the pantsuit is an emblem of that struggle."

To Chamberlain's surprise, the group has grown exponentially over the past 18 days and now boosts over 1.9 million members spanning all 50 states, making it the largest private Facebook group, according to Pantsuit Nation.

While wearing the Clinton-inspired garb is an act of solidarity with the potential first woman president of the United States—one that even leotard-loving Beyoncé honored during a recent Get Out the Vote concert in Ohio with a tailored black and white polka dot pant and blazer—the pantsuit has long been a political tool for women.

The origins of the pantsuit can be traced back to the 1930s, but it gained popularity in the 1980s as women infiltrated industries previously dominated by men. The masculine-inspired silhouette with its oversized lapels and padded shoulders, marketed as the powersuit by labels like Giorgio Armani, aimed to take the focus off of a woman's body in hopes of directing it more towards her work.

In recent years, design houses like Maison Martin Margiela and Versace have revived the pantsuit on the runway and celebrities like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner have embraced it on the red carpet. But, it is safe to say that no one has been a bigger proponent of the pantsuit than Clinton. The presidential nominee has been sporting the look since her early days as a lawyer in the 1970s and despite the constant criticisms of her style by the media, Clinton has stayed loyal to her uniform. So, as Chamberlain explained, "wearing pantsuits to support the future, first woman president seemed like a natural fit."

In anticipation for Election Day, Pantsuit Nation members have picked up suits from places ranging from department stores to their mother's closets. Chamberlain said she ordered three pantsuits for the big day, but has decided on a white number, much like the Ralph Lauren one Clinton supported during the final presidential debate.

"White has important symbolism in women's rights and for women in politics; it was not only the color that women used during women's suffrage to symbolize the purity of their movement but it's also the color Shirley Chisholm wore when she became the first African American elected to Congress and the color Geraldine Ferraro wore when she accepted the VP nomination of a major party ticket in 1984."


Text Erica Euse
Photography via Flickr

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