State of the Union fashion: What Gabrielle Giffords, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton wore


Guests applaud first lady Michelle Obama during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. (Susan Walsh/AP)

The address is not known for statement-making fashion, especially for men: Black suits and red ties or military dress were the norm, with the only colorful accessory being Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) black eye. But three women — Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) — were widely admired for what they wore. (You can read more of our State of the Union coverage over at Post Politics.)

Obama wore Los Angeles designer Barbara Tfank’s dress, which the designer described as a “criss cross bodice cap-sleeved slim dress in silk twill” to the Hollywood Reporter. Obama’s dress was sleek, and the perfect shade of Democratic blue. It’s the third time she’s worn Tfank. Previous occasions include a floral dress for a meet-and-greet with Duchess Catherine, and an emerald green cocktail dress at a 2010 awards ceremony.

Giffords‘s choice of a cheery apricot-colored jacket made her easy to spot on a crowded House floor — and everyone was angling to take a look. Just over a year since she was shot in an assassination attempt, Giffords returned to the floor for the second time since she was gravely injured, and her courage was met by resounding applause from the entire chamber, and hugs and kisses from President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Clinton. Giffords, who announced last week that she is resigning from office, matched her bright jacket with black pants and sneakers.


Retiring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, (D-Ariz.), center, is greeted by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) stands at right. (Saul Loeb/AP)

Clinton brought back one of her style staples — a youthful headband, one of her go-to hairstyles when she was First Lady. She wore a black pantsuit and a triple strand of pearls. Headbands made a comeback at this year’s Golden Globe Awards, but Clinton’s thin black headband was simpler than the ones worn on the red carpet.


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) before the State of the Union speech. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

More State of the Union coverage:

VIDEO: Obama’s speech in less than 60 seconds

5 Policies to watch from the SOTU

Transcript: Read Obama’s full prepared remarks

Infographic: Breaking down the speech by issue


View Photo Gallery: Tuesday’s speech was President Obama’s third State of Union address and his sixth address to Congress overall.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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