Kamala Harris is known for her love of Converse sneakers and pearls, and now hundreds of thousands of women are pledging to wear one or both on Wednesday in honor of Harris as she becomes the nation's first female vice president. The New York Times reports that the Facebook group "Wear Pearls on Jan 20 2021" has 430,000 members, and there are many more where that came from: "Chucks and Pearls Day" has more than 84,000, for example. "Just seeing Kamala Harris do things, watching the debate, it was just really an exciting moment for me because I did feel very well represented ... both of us being mixed children," one teen tells Today of herself and her mom, who will both wear pearls. "It's a great difference, seeing this woman in power, basically something has been dominated by white men for the longest time ... and you're seeing how proud she was of her heritage."
Pearls are an important symbol for Harris' sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, one of the nation's oldest black sororities; Smithsonian Mag recently took a look at the significance of that. Harris is "rarely seen" without pearls, sometimes black ones and sometimes white ones, Vogue reports, and then those Converse sneakers symbolize her "on-the-go lifestyle." But that's not all that's meaningful for the women wearing them on Inauguration Day: Pearls "represent sisterhood," says one fashion historian, and that's what many of the women say they've found in these Facebook groups. "It’s women and girls of all variety coming together," says one member. Some of them have even offered to send pearls to those who didn't have any of their own to wear, and the founder of one group started an online store where female-owned businesses could sell pearl products. Says one shop owner, whose sales had plummeted amid the COVID pandemic, "I love the solidarity." (Read more Kamala Harris stories.)