What Do the State of the Union’s Purple Ties Mean?


What’s in a tie? If you’re President Obama giving the State of the Union address, it can mean quite a bit. Tonight, Obama, along with Vice-President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner, made a sartorial show of solidarity. The three leaders sported purple ties because — as every first-grade student knows — blue and red make purple, and it may be a visual signifier of Obama’s desire for bi-partisan cooperation. This isn’t the first time Obama and Biden have rocked the royal hue: The pair, along with then–Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, all wore purple during the 2010 State of the Union. And then, as now, pundits speculated about its meaning. “There is kind of a connotation in politics that comes through color,” said fashion blogger Mary Tomer, of last year’s tie choices. “I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to think purple could’ve been chosen symbolically.”