Why are women wearing white to State of the Union? Democratic lawmakers aim to send 'loud and clear' message

Dozens of women in Congress are once again aiming to use fashion to make a political statement at President Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday. The lawmakers agreed to wear all-white to this year's event — a tribute to the women's suffrage movement.

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., invited women from both sides of the aisle to wear the symbolic attire last week.

"We'll honor all those who came before us & send a message of solidarity that we're not going back on our hard-earned rights!" Frankel, the chairwoman of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, explained on Twitter.


This is the second time female lawmakers were encouraged to don white while watching the high-profile speech in person. After Trump's inauguration in 2017 and the massive Women's March on Washington that followed, Frankel decided to call on colleagues to show solidarity.

"We wear white to unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century, and we will continue to support the advancement of all women," Frankel said in a statement to USA Today in February 2017. "We will not go back."

Years later, Frankel said that message still stands — especially with a Democratic majority House of Representatives.

"Now that we're the majority, we feel like women put us there: they organized, they voted for us, they marched, and so forth," Frankel explained to Refinery 29 this week. "When the president looks out at us, we wanted him to see a wave of white that really represents our message — not just to him, but to the nation and the world — that we're here as part of the Democrats [and] The People's Agenda; that we must promote policies that will allow girls and women to fulfill their full potential."


Democratic socialist darling Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., notably wore white during her swearing-in ceremony in early January. She also decided to sport white Tuesday night.

"I wore all-white today to honor the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come. From suffragettes to Shirley Chisholm, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the mothers of the movement," Ocasio-Cortez, 29, explained the meaning behind her swearing-in outfit in a tweet.

Ocasio-Cortez also pointed out that Hillary Clinton wore all-white when she accepted the 2016 Democratic nomination for president, becoming the first woman to top a major-party ticket.

In a Tuesday afternoon Instagram Story, Ocasio-Cortez gave her followers a sneak peek at Democrats' white outfits, noting that men were also wearing white ribbons to show "solidarity" with women.

"At State of the Union tonight, @realDonaldTrump will look out at the House Chamber and see a sea of #Suffragette white sending the message loud&clear that @HouseDemWomen are fighting for the economic security of women & families," Frankel expressed earlier Tuesday.

Several Democratic lawmakers, including Pelosi, posed in white ahead of Trump's speech on Tuesday, sharing photos with their supporters online.

"What a wonderful sight this is," Clinton commented on the photos less than an hour before the State of the Union.