After almost a year of essentially every major event being cancelled, I can barely express just how exciting it was to see some Fashion with a capital F again. Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20 ended up being the biggest style event of 2021 so far (and, TBH, 2020). Amidst all the Ralph Lauren suits, Easter-egg colored coats, and sea of purple, there was one style icon that really stood out. Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and her Prada headband and matching mask were everything to me. Her poetry reading and powerful disposition during the ceremony were moving beyond compare. And the thick, red headband was a refreshing blast from the not-so-distant past. Add in her undeniably modern sequined mask, and you have a look people will remember for decades.
"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. When the Poet Laureate walked onto the Capitol balcony, I was immediately gobsmacked by her sunny yellow, double-breasted coat, which sold out immediately after her appearance. But you simply can’t ignore the way she styled her look, weaving in small, meaningful details that really kick the outfit up several notches. If you were too invested in her stirring recitation of her poem "The Hill We Climb" and its message of unity, I can’t blame you at all, though you may have missed these touches.
Her huge, padded headband was something right out of my childhood. The style has gone back and forth in the fashion trend cycle over the years, with its last biggest wave happening in the ’90s. Since 2018, it’s been slowly creeping back into vogue. Alongside Gorman, Kate Middleton and Chrissy Teigen both have gotten in on the trend. Now with inaugural approval, the padded headband renaissance is well on its way, IMHO.
There’s nothing quite like a look that stays fashionable and safe in COVID times. For her mask, Gorman doubled up with a traditional white mask underneath a matching, rhinestone mask in red to match her headband. The piece added some extra glitz and glamour to her already vibrant look. A COVID-compliant queen, indeed.
Of course, those aren’t Gorman’s only accessories catching the internet’s eye. The poet also wore a ring with a caged bird, gifted to her by none other than Oprah. "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,’" Gorman said about the interaction. Full Prada, ushering in a new trend, and a gift from Oprah? Gorman’s outfit truly had it all. To take a page out of her book, you can check out some Gorman-inspired padded headbands and masks below.
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