Jill Biden Reprises Her Inauguration Look at the President’s First Address to Congress

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It was a historic night: the first time a President was joined by two women on the dais at a joint session of Congress. “Madame Vice President,” President Biden said, greeting Kamala Harris. Then, turning to the camera: “No President has ever said those words from this podium, and it’s about time.”

Tomorrow is the new administration’s 100th day in office. Before a socially distanced crowd of 200 people in a room that accommodates 1,600, President Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated, endorsed expansion of the safety net and tax increases on the rich, and discussed his commitment to the fights against climate change and systemic racism. The President’s agenda includes dramatic expansions of health care and child care. Addressing efforts to create universal preschool for three- and four-year-olds and free community college, he quoted his wife Dr. Jill Biden, a lifelong educator and the only first lady that has continued to work in the White House: “Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us,” he said.

Dr. Biden chose a navy version of the ivory dress by Gabriela Hearst that she wore on the night of the Inauguration, and a matching mask. Like that one, this dress was hand-embroidered with America’s 50 state flowers, as well as those of the District of Columbia, and America’s territories. In January, Hearst, an Uruguayan immigrant who built her business in New York, alluded to the inauguration’s “message of unity” as inspiration. “Unity makes strength and it is needed for the road ahead,” she wrote on her Instagram account. This was no ordinary State of the Union address. There were few partisan boos and no silent protests by the opposing party, but 100 days in, the subject of unity is as important as ever. Dr. Biden’s dress was well-chosen; it telegraphed the optimistic, compassionate, and expansive sentiments of her husband’s speech.