So, have you made a voting plan yet?
Have you checked your registration? Do you know if you’re going to vote in person, by mail, by ballot dropbox? How about the address of your polling station, postbox, ballot dropbox? When’s the earliest & latest date you can vote? Do you know what you’re wearing to the polls?!
Okay okay, we know what you’re wearing isn’t the most important thing when it comes to voting this year but maybe you want to take a moment and think about it. Have you ever asked your grandparents about voting years ago? Many of them may tell you how they dresses to the nines to cast their vote. There’s a history here you may not even be aware of…
Suffrage demonstration at Lafayette Statue (to get the last vote in the Senate) before June 4 1919
If we take a look back to the early 1900’s woman were making political statements through their ensembles. During the Suffrage
Mary Winsor (Penn.) 1917
Movement you’ll notice three primary colors being worn at protests & marches – purple, white & gold. Purple is to represent loyalty, white purity and gold is a nod to the campaigns of Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Nebraska (in Britain they swapped gold for green, representing hope).
Many female protesters also know as suffragettes would wear a uniform of a long white dress with a purple & gold sash to events. These uniforms made a striking image to say the least. Later in the movement, suffragettes changed the uniform to be a more inclusive all white – this allowed participants of all economic background to participate, plus it pops in black and white photos. (Of course during this incredible movement they made things such as their uniform MORE inclusive!)
Nation-wide demonstrations were held on May 2nd in support of Federal Amendment. Envoys from these demonstrations brought petitions to Washington on May 9th and carried them in procession to Congress from Lafayette Square. Five thousand women massed on and about the East Steps of the Capitol singing
This idea of the white uniform did not disappear after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. As women, we know our fight for equality was not and is not over. You see white outfits appear in the 1970’s during the Civil Rights Movement.
We’ve seen suffrage white outfits throughout historical moments near and far.
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to congress
Shirley Chisholm 1971
wore the uniform suffrage white during her victory night. Geraldine Ferraro embraced a suffrage white outfit for her acceptance speech as the first female Vice Presidential Nominee. Hilary Clinton also donned white for her Presidential Nominee. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez, the youngest female elected to congress, sported all white piece during her swearing-in ceremony and said “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.”
As recent as during this current administations’ the State of the Unions address, many female lawmakers wore the iconic sufferage white uniform. When asked, Rep. Lois Frankel (FL), chair of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, stated the outfits were to “honor all those who came before us and send a message of
solidarity that we’re not going back on our hard-earned rights.”
I’ll surely wear an Elisabethan piece to the polls this year as it’s woman owned and ecofriendly. I don’t own much white these days, but I think I’ll be wearing a combo purple, gold and green to fulfill this national duty of mine.
This year before casting my ballot, I’ll take a moment to recognize those who came before me and gave me this incredible privilege. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Shirley Chisholm, Geraldine Ferraro, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and so many more.
Thank you ladies.
Also, we’d like to note there are a few things you can NOT wear while voting dependent upon the state. If you’d like to read more info on what not to wear – read CNN’s article here.
Marchers in Suffrage parade, 5/4/1912 – Miss Brannan & Mrs. John Rogers, Jr.
If you’d like to read more info here’s a couple articles we enjoyed:
History of Women Wearing Suffragette White by CR Fashion Book
Why Democratic Women Wore White at the State of The Union by The New York Times
Shirley Chisholm with Vice President Rockefeller 1975