Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Emily Pears

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@2021 Joseph Deleon


This thesis explores the political significance of clothing choices made at American Presidential inaugurations. Fashion is inherently political. Garments convey ideas and movements—they carry with them culture, history, and symbolism. Politicians recognize this and have taken advantage of fashion’s power to send targeted political messages to the public.

I will analyze the political role of fashion through case studies of the 2009 Obama Inauguration, 2017 Trump Inauguration, and 2021 Biden Inauguration. These case studies attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of inaugural fashion’s ability to be a conduit for political messaging. Through the thesis, we will discuss inaugural fashion’s relationship with socio-political movements, color psychology, American patriotism, and broader themes such as race, class, and gender.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.