It was no secret who Hillary Clinton planned to vote for when she arrived at a Chappaqua, N.Y. polling place 8 a.m. Tuesday morning — and thousands of members of the secret Facebook group “Pantsuit Nation” planned to follow her lead in more ways than one.
At first, the group was supposed to be a subtle nod to her iconic outfit, and to a candidate whose own Twitter bio declares her a “pantsuit aficionado.” But “Pantsuit Nation,” created weeks before the presidential election Tuesday, has grown into something bigger: a group of more than 2 million women and men, invited by friends and colleagues to wear the outfit while electing Hillary Clinton the first female president of the United States.
The Democratic candidate’s fashion has become synonymous with pantsuits, which she has been noted for in public life and wears constantly on the campaign trail. On Tuesday morning, she donned a tan and white version while casting her vote. In a clear nod to her longtime choice of apparel, the group encourages voters to “wear your pantsuit November 8th,” according to its public website. “You know why.”
But posts in the group, which is heavily moderated to avoid negativity about either candidate, haven’t just described voters’ sartorial choices on Election Day. They’ve also become reflections on Clinton, those iconic pantsuits and what voting for her symbolizes to them.
Several members have shared their reasons for donning the iconic fashion set: some posing with daughters too young to vote but old enough to remember Tuesday’s election and some older posters describing the experience of casting their vote early for Clinton after voting only for men as president for decades.
Libby Chamberlain, who founded the Facebook group a few weeks ago with just 50 members, told the Washington Post that the call to don pantsuits has encouraged Clinton supporters to actually turn up at the polls, as well as donate money and make calls encouraging other voters to also cast their ballots. But the group — and its rapid growth — has also shaped a community eager to support the Democratic nominee and “about being supportive of one another through challenging situations,” she said.
Clinton supporters aren’t the only ones donning a particular type of clothing as a demonstration of their political preferences. Some Donald Trump supporters issued a call to wear red at the polls to demonstrate the strength of the Republican nominee’s support, so other voters would “have no choice but to acknowledge the visible truth in a sea of red,” Bloomberg reported.
But several members of Pantsuit Nation have claimed a different color: white, for the suffragettes who had won them the right to vote in 1920.
Late Monday night, Chamberlain posted a photo of Clinton as a young girl in a dress “who is going to be elected president of the United States tomorrow night.”
She exhorted them to vote, noting how Clinton’s choice in clothes had changed since.
“She likely had to wear the skirt pictured in the photo, just like her mom, because that’s what little girls and grown women were expected to do. All. the. time,” Chamberlain wrote. “Tomorrow, she’s going to be wearing pants. And so will we, my dear pantsuiters. So will we.”