Jill Biden Shows Subtle Sartorial Support For Ukraine
The First Lady wore a blue dress with the European nation’s national flower on the sleeve to the State of the Union address.
It’s been over a week since Russia launched its large-scale attack on Ukraine, and in the time since, world leaders have continued to come together to show their support for the European nation in ways both tangible and symbolic. Among them is First Lady Jill Biden, who has repeatedly made clear that she stands by Ukraine — without saying anything at all.
In addition to inviting the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova as her guest to the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, she also showed sartorial solidarity. Her cobalt blue dress was embroidered with a small sunflower — Ukraine’s national flower — on the sleeve.
The dress, by American designer Sally Lapointe, seems pretty typical at first glance. But take a closer look and you’ll see the small yellow flower that [has become a symbol of resistance in recent weeks on her right sleeve. In an Instagram post, Lapointe called the opportunity to dress the First Lady “a huge honor.”
According to CNN White House correspondent Kate Bennett, Biden had the sunflower custom embroidered on the morning of the address. Days earlier, she was seen wearing a mask with a sunflower on it during an event at the White House celebrating Black History Month.
The flower has taken on new meaning since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24. A Ukrainian woman went viral after she was captured on video handing sunflower seeds to a group of Russian soldiers. “Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here,” she said.
Additionally, people have been seen at protests around the world carrying and wearing sunflowers in solidarity with Ukraine.
While it may seem trivial, making a statement through clothing sends a loud and clear message — and is something Biden has slowly but surely become known for doing. During the tenuous election, she let her boots with the word VOTE in capital letters down the leg do the talking. During a 2021 speech by President Biden, she wore a Gabriela Hearst dress embroidered with flowers from all 50 states, to represent unity and inclusion.