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From pearl necklaces to sneakers: 5 Kamala Harris style tips we should ALL incorporate in our lives

Wardrobe stylist and author of “The Creatives’ Closet,” Monica Barnett, shares fashion tips inspired by our next vice president.
Image: Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris Campaigns In Florida
Kamala Harris prepares to board her airplane at the Orlando International Airport after speaking at an early voting mobilization event at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on Oct. 19, 2020 in Orlando, Fla.Octavio Jones / Getty Images

As a wardrobe stylist, I’m excited to see not only how Vice President-elect Kamala Harris transitions to her new role, but also how her style journey evolves over the next four years.

One thing is clear: The senator from California has a signature style. She loves her pearls. She isn’t afraid to toss on a pair of sneakers. She opts for (often dark-colored) blazers and suit jackets that cinch in at the high waist and leave her with more room throughout her top half. The result? She always looks put together and comfortable.

Vice President-elect Harris has also perfected the art of wearing traditional pieces that easily allow her to go from work on the Hill to an evening of networking. It’s a habit many professional women could do well to mimic. But how?!

Sure, all of her style choices may not align with your lifestyle. But if you want to take a page out of Harris’ style playbook, here’s what to keep in mind. After all, we all know she’ll be rolling into the White House in January dressed to handle business and take on the world. And you should be too!

1. Don't be afraid to rock sneakers with a pantsuit.

Sen. Kamala Harris earlier this year on "Morning Joe" in Miami, with Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist.
Sen. Kamala Harris earlier this year on "Morning Joe" in Miami, with Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist.Alee Gleiberman

Sen. Harris loves sneakers, especially Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers, which she wore to rallies and voter mobilization events during the campaign. Look for sneakers that are classic and low-key like Converse, Stan Smith’s, or Everlane’s Forever Sneakers.

Image: U.S. Democratic vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris makes an election campaign visit to Las Vegas
Kamala Harris wears customized Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers at a campaign event in Las Vegas on Oct. 27, 2020.David Becker / Reuters

2. Athleisure has a place in the life of ANY professional woman.

Many women saw themselves in Harris when they watched the video of her in sunglasses and athleisure wear calling Biden and saying, “We did it Joe! You’re going to be the next president of the United States!” There’s a time and place for athleisure (just not on an important, high-stakes video conference call) For athleisure brands that allow you to get some exercise but still look pulled together, check out newcomer Bandier, functionality-perfected Athleta, and trusted favorite Lululemon.

3. Don't rule out white after Labor Day, especially off-white!

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris arrives to speak in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 7, 2020.Roberto Schmidt / AFP - Getty Images

Rocking white after Labor Day is still frowned upon maybe because it’s so difficult to keep clean, but consider a winter white ensemble to stand out in any crowd. That’s exactly what Harris did during her historic acceptance speech when she donned a white, Carolina Herrera suit that gave nod to the suffragette movement. Check out Suistudio, which is channeling acceptance speech AND holiday party-stunner vibes!

4. Find accessories that align with your aspirations.

Sen. Kamala Harris on "Morning Joe" in 2016.
Sen. Kamala Harris on "Morning Joe" in 2016.Miller Hawkins

Pearls are the vice president-elect’s choice but whatever accessory you choose, the key is to find pieces that accent your look and align with your aspirations especially if we’re talking about virtual business! To avoid multiple change-ups (Harris most often rotates between three sets), look for less colorful stones and more metalware like this.

5. With pantsuits, it’s ALL about the fit.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California talks to Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski in San Francisco in 2018.
Sen. Kamala Harris of California talks to Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski in San Francisco in 2018. Miller Hawkins

You, too, should have a seat at the table and rock a pantsuit like the men do -- just make sure your pantsuit has soft lines and fits well, especially in the shoulders. The clean (but not overly austere lines) of Theory suits gives you flexibility to mix and match, while MMLaFleur still does clean lines but adds a slightly softer and more feminine chic to their suiting.

So, are you ready for the White House? Even if you’re not quite there, as Harris reminded us in her victory speech, “…see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before.”

Good luck Vice President-elect Kamala Harris – we’re all rooting for you!

Monica Barnett is a wardrobe stylist based in Washington, D.C. and is the founder of Blueprint for Style. She is also the author of two books, including her most recent venture, The Creatives’ Closet – a 'dress for success' book just for female creatives' of the gig economy. It’s her go-to guide for building brand consistency and closet nirvana in the new economy where a consistent brand and style message are part of the basic tenets of success! Check her out on Instagram or join her Style Book Club!