News & Politics

DC’s Best Statement Jackets of 2019

From AOC’s cape to Melania’s indoor coat, these jackets made the boldest statements of the year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelos talks with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, right, and her mother, Blanca Ocasio-Cortez, center, during a ceremonial swearing-in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, January 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

AOC’s Suffragist Statement Blazer

January 3, 2019

After she upset a long-term incumbent and cruised to election in 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stood out in the all-white pantsuit she wore for her Congressional-swearing in. The bold look paid homage to early voting rights advocates, who frequently donned white ensembles. “I wore all-white today to honor the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come,” she tweeted on the day.


Nancy Pelosi’s Hot Pink Pantsuit

January 11, 2019

It’s hard to miss Nancy Pelosi’s fuschia suit among her navy and black-bedecked colleagues in this portrait of new Democratic committee chairs. Some have called coverage of Pelosi’s bold fashion choices sexist, saying it detracted from the policies and ideas of the woman behind the suit. But New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman disagreed, arguing that clothing can often be used as a powerful messaging tool. Friedman commended one of Pelosi’s past hot pink looks as a “strategic and savvy choice.”


Photograph by Gage Skidmore.

Jim Jordan’s Lack of a Coat

November 13, 2019

Representative Jim Jordan attended an impeachment inquiry hearing in his shirtsleeves, which infuriated many, including Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan, who wrote that “Presumably, he doesn’t consider sitting alongside his colleagues during a matter of national importance to be a situation that deserves his high regard.”


Jane Fonda’s I-Dare-You-to-Arrest Me Red Coat

November 1, 2019

Jane Fonda has been arrested repeatedly during her weekly anti-climate change protests in DC, each time in a punchy, poppy-colored coat. The vibrant frock evokes the imagery of the earth being on fire and, practically speaking, it demonstrates Fonda’s commitment to fighting the negative environmental effects of fast fashion. “It’s the last thing I will buy,” she told NPR about her woolen armor.  She even loaned the coat to a woman who was cold while she was in jail. “But I did have to take it back,” she told reporters. “It was my mattress.”


The Women in White at the State of the Union

February 5, 2019

AOC donned a cape fit for a superhero and walked with Ana Maria Archila, who made news the year before when she questioned Jeff Flake about Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination in an elevator. Ilhan Omar sported an ivory under-jacket with Americana blue and red accents. They were just some of the dozens of women whose white outfits greeted President Trump as he delivered his address to the nation.


Melania’s “Ridiculous” Christmas Coat

December 2, 2019

Melania Trump is no stranger to coat catastrophes: The Zara jacket, the one that looked like a plane striking the Washington Monument, the bright yellow cape coat.  Fashion people jumped on her latest weird choice, made in a video about the White House holiday decorations in which she caresses Christmas trees and wanders the hallways with her white coat billowing in tow. Givhan called the garment “ridiculous” and said it “exudes cold, dismissive aloofness.” That counts as a statement!

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Emma Francois is an editorial fellow at Washingtonian covering everything from food to fashion. She graduated from Georgetown University and has previously worked for USA Today, the Georgetown Voice, and the Chautauquan Daily.