Why did the Democrat women wear white to the State of the Union?

"Did you get the memo?" is a common quip when one turns up to work wearing the same outfit or colour as a co-worker.

And the Democrat women of Washington seemingly did, because there was only one colour for the group to wear to work today: white.

Sea of white … Democrat women are seen wearing the colour in a show of solidarity at the State of the Union address.Credit:AP

From Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to hot shot New York congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, the White House was a sea of oppositional ivory for President Donald Trump's address on Tuesday, local time.

White has been one of three colours associated with the Suffragette movement for more than a century, representing purity. The other colours are green for hope and purple for pride.

In recent years, the colour has been favoured by Hillary Clinton. The former US secretary of state wore the colour three times during her presidential run, most notably after her defeat when she attended President Trump's inauguration.

Although it certainly makes a statement, the wearing of white is a solidarity move and should not be misconstrued as a protest, said University of Melbourne senior political scientist Dr Lauren Rosewarne.

"This is nothing new, this has been a thing for Democratic women since they have been in office. It's a way to honour the feminist hard yards preceding those who made it to elected office," she said.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arrives at the Capitol.Credit:AP

"Now it has a heightened significance based on the results of the midterms [elections] given there is a huge number of women, and from diverse backgrounds."

Dr Rosewarne said the impact of wearing white comes from women doing it in large numbers, as seen at the State of the Union.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shakes hands with President Donald Trump at the State of the Union address.Credit:AP

"White is chosen as a colour because it's non-threatening. It's a subtle way to make a statement.

"Last year Melania Trump wore white – it highlights it's not a controversial colour, it's considered a way to honour your sisters and the groundwork they did as opposed to making a protest."

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