Kente cloth and purple ribbons: What SOTU fashion choices meant

There was Kente cloth for Africa, there was black for #MeToo and white for, well no one is quite sure.

Members of Congress and the first family wore various colors and items to tonight’s State of the Union address to make political statements — or — not — on a number of different issues.

So what exactly do some of these choices represent?

Purple ribbons

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York joined fellow House and Senate Democrats who wore a simple purple ribbon in reference to the US opioid epidemic. Sens. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Bernie Sanders of Vermont were also among those who wore the ribbon.

In a tweet, Duckworth said she was wearing the ribbon to “Raise awareness for those affected by the devastating opioid epidemic.”

Last year, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency.

Kente cloth

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus wore various articles of clothing made from kente cloth, a type of fabric that originated in Ghana but has come to represent the African continent as a whole.

Earlier this month, Trump came under fire for remarks reportedly describing African nations as “shithole countries” during an immigration discussion with senators in the Oval Office. Trump has denied making the comments.

Shortly before the address, Rep. Bobby Scott, D- Virginia, tweeted a photo of himself in a tie made of kente cloth. “Wearing kente cloth to the #SOTU with my fellow @CBCOfficial Members to stand in solidarity with people from you-know-what countries,” the tweet said.

Melania Trump’s cream suit

Donning a crisp, cream-colored suit, First Lady Melania Trump stood out among a sea of black and navy suits at tonight’s State of the Union address. A White House official confirmed that the first lady’s suit was made by French design house Christian Dior, her white silk blouse was from Italian label Dolce & Gabbana and her nude heels were by Christian Louboutin.

The first lady’s fashion choices are always scrutinized closely at the State of the Union, but it remains unclear whether her statement Tuesday was political.

Last March, Democratic congresswomen chose to wear white, the historical color of choice for suffragettes, to Trump’s Joint Address to Congress. More recently, it has regained popularity among liberal politicians and activists who wear it to show support and unity.

Ivanka Trump also stood out Tuesday in a plaid-patterned red, white and blue Oscar de la Renta dress.

Black for #MeToo

Some Democratic members of Congress decided to wear black to the President’s address in order to highlight the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements that are aimed at raising awareness about sexual violence and harassment. Members of the CBC also wore red pins that say “Recy” to honor Recy Taylor, an African-American woman who spoke out against a group of white men who raped her in the 1940s.

Red, white and blue

Republican women banded together to wear red, white and blue to highlight their patriotism and support the US military.

Rep. Mimi Walters told CNN that members had decided to wear the colors as a group. “We want to show patriotism to our country,” the California Republican said.