Soon to be First Lady of Maryland plans to wear a cream gown with a cape for the historic swearing in of her husband, Gov.-elect Wes Moore on Wednesday. She’ll also be wearing two dresses — including a pink creation by designer Christian Siriano — at the inaugural “People’s Ball” later that evening.
Dawn Flythe Moore isn’t letting anyone see her chosen outfits publicly until Inauguration Day, but she detailed the details to The Baltimore Banner and said all the looks the first family will wear will be “classic, timeless” with an emphasis on Maryland designers and stylists.
“This is really a moment for Maryland designers and style icons,” she said, adding that the family started thinking about the look a month ago.
Wes Moore will wear a suit by Prince George’s County native and designer Miguel Wilson when he takes the oath of office that will make him Maryland’s first black governor. The two met during the campaign when a designer offered to create clothes for Moore if he won.
“He kept his promise,” Dawn Moore said. Wilson also designed the classic black tuxedo Wes Moore will wear to the ball.
Aruna Miller, who will become lt. governor, is still deciding what to wear at the ceremony.
As for the ball, she’s wearing a “colorful dress” by Indian husband-and-wife designers Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia, who founded their line Sachin & Babi in 2009. Her husband, David, will wear a Vera Wang tuxedo.
“Life is a big canvas, throw as many colors as you can on it,” Miller said.
The dress Dawn Moore will wear to her swearing-in is a monochrome winter white collared dress with a matching cashmere belted cape by Baltimore designer Jody Davis, whom she has known for 11 years.
“She really knows how to dress a professional woman. Her fabrics are beautiful. She is truly a gift,” Moore said of Davis, who also designed her daughter Mia’s prom dress, a long princess-cut gown in powder blue.
What the first family wears to the inauguration will help set the tone for the next four years, said Zoey Washington, vice president of editorial content at Jellyfish, a global digital marketing company based in Baltimore.
Sign up for alerts
Receive need-to-know notifications
info from The Banner
Wardrobe choices — especially the first lady’s — are a way to show priorities, personality and platform, Washington said. It is also a good way to support the careers of fashion designers, she added.
The selection of Dawn Moore in particular follows the recent trend of First Ladies showing independence and openly embracing her role, much like Michelle Obama and Jill Biden did, Washington said.
“They’re not going to be assistants,” said Washington, a former fashion editor for publications such as Vogue, Elle, People Style Watch and Essence. “The first lady has more right to be bold and seen, instead of being complementary to her husband.”
The future first family turned to stylists Lana Rae and Maria Williams to help them dress up their look.
Moore was immediately struck by Rae’s style when the two met last year at the Baltimore Met Gala at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Wilson was recommended to the first lady by Davis. Rae made sure to use local boutiques, independent designers, and women- and minority-owned establishments.
“Just being in this space with this beautiful family at such a pivotal moment is so inspiring for me. It is an honor to help create a vision of class and poise for the world to see,” said Rae.
The dress, designed by Siriano, the “Project Runway” winner and host, is a strapless pink ball gown with a “little train,” and was modeled after a dress Moore said she saw on his Instagram profile. The dress is not too complex, so she can still dance in it.
Siriano, originally from Annapolis, said he was honored to create the dress.
“I’m very proud of where I grew up and it feels like a full-circle moment to be able to dress someone who also shares the love and passion for the country,” he said. “Her dress will be just as fabulous as she is.”
Moore will wear another dress — a strapless black jacquard mermaid gown with pastel garden trim by designer Alex Teih of Francesca’s Atelier boutique in Green Spring Station, Baltimore County. Moore said she has shopped there since the dress she wore five years ago for the Kennedy Krieger Institute fashion show.
10,000 people who bought tickets for the inaugural ball she’ll also face the age-old question of what to wear when attending a hot social event celebrating a historic moment.
Dawn Moore gave people fashion advice in the Instagram video last week, telling the National Ball attendees to dress “celebratory chic.” She modeled several qualifying looks – a long black evening dress, a short playful cocktail dress in teal and a look in black pants with a bold jacket. The most important thing, she said, is that people are comfortable.
The Maryland resident had dresses made to order at Davis, Dollhouse Boutique and other popular dress shops, while others opted to shop in stock. Some followed Dawn Moore’s advice to wear what they feel good in.
Donna L. Jacobs, founder and director of Morton Street Dance Center, wears a “big flowing dress.”
“This is so special that I get to see it first … this is more special than the others I’ve been to,” she said.
Fourteen women from Black Girls Vote will attend the inaugural ball. Natasha Murphy, chief of staff for a nonpartisan organization that recruits black women voters, will wear an evening dress that’s comfortable, formal and sequined. Others she knows will wear jumpsuits and cocktail dresses.
“It’s a new dawn — it’s a new day,” Murphy said of the celebratory vibe she hopes to capture.
The Moores said the purpose of the People’s Ball is to make people feel included with affordable ticket prices and a “wear what you want” dress code.
“This also looks like my inauguration,” He said Shelonda Stokes, president of the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, who will wear a red sequined dress created by Davis.
“I trust the stylist,” Stokes said. “I wanted more conservative, but Jody brought me this beautiful red dress and it was made for me.” They will use another local stylist for accessories.
Rae said there are many ways Baltimoreans can show off their unique style, and she believes this is the time for “elegance and high-end style.”
Davis said she is styling several women for the event and said women should pay attention to how they feel in their clothes and think about what styles best flatter their body type. She wants women to feel authentic in her designs. Her dresses have vibrant hues and daring silhouettes.
“People buy my dresses because they make them feel strong and feminine,” she said.
Many people will be looking for comfort as they will be at events all day.
“If no one can see your shoes, wear comfortable shoes,” Rae said. She also suggests a chunky heel over stilettos.
Scott Furman, owner of Tuxedo House, expects to see a lot of navy blue tuxedos because “navy is the new black.” He says there might even be people in suits. Suits are significantly less formal than tuxedos, but Furman believes young men may be trending for a more casual look for events like this.
Whatever people wear, the Moores just want people to have fun.
“I treat this inauguration as such my inauguration and I’m glad to be in the room,” Stokes said.