When Amanda Gorman was chosen to write and deliver an original poem, “The Hill We Climb” for the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the pressure was on. But at least when it came to getting dressed, she had it covered: Gorman reached for a head-to-toe outfit from Prada, a brand with whom she has worked in the past.
For the occasion, the Poet Laureate re-wore a sunny yellow double-breasted coat over a white poplin shirt and a black leather pencil skirt, accessorizing with a fiery-red satin headband and black leather pumps.
But of course, the look was about more than just the fashion.
“I am weaving my own type of symbolism into my outfit, and it’s really special and important to me to deliver these nuggets of information and sentimentality as I’m reciting the poem,” Gorman told Vogue. “I’m also wearing a yellow coat, which is my own nod to Dr. Jill Biden, who was the one who recommended me in the first place, and I’m so honored by that. She said, ‘I saw this video of you and you were wearing yellow and I loved it.'”
Other symbolic touches included a ring with a caged bird, a nod to Maya Angelou, and earrings from none other than Oprah, who wished to continue an inaugural tradition she started with Angelou herself. “Oprah actually got in contact with me, and we’ve been in touch for a while now,” Gorman told Vogue. “She said, ‘I bought the coat and gloves that Maya Angelou wore when she recited her inaugural poem. I’d love to continue the tradition with you and bring something to your outfit.'”
While the focus of the day was undoubtedly her incredible poem — you can watch her recite it in full above — Gorman’s outfit was a testament to the power of using fashion to make a statement.
“I’m glad we can talk about the fashion, because it has so much meaning to me, and it’s my way to lean into the history that came before me and all the people supporting me,” she also told Vogue.