Politics

Secret ‘Pantsuit Nation’ Facebook group is rallying Clinton supporters

And the winner of the 2016 election is … pantsuits!?
Univision News Logo

Update, Nov. 8, 2016, 10:30 a.m. EST: The "Pantsuit Nation" group now has 2.6 million members.

November 8 isn’t just Election Day. It’s also National Pantsuit Day, according to the founders of a private Facebook group called “Pantsuit Nation,” who are rallying Hillary Clinton supporters to sport the candidate’s signature two-piece look to the polls.

Pantsuit Nation started two weeks ago as a small group of friends and Clinton supporters. But it quickly became a nationwide pantsuit movement of 2 million members -- aka “pansuiters” -- of all genders whose posts in the group celebrate Clinton, diversity and feminism.

“We can take this symbol of feminism and the struggle for equality and own it,” the group’s founder Libby Chamberlain told the Wall Street Journal. “Literally wear it to the polls.”

Throughout the campaign, the pantsuit has become the Democratic candidate’s unofficial symbol. Her Twitter bio deems her a “pantsuit aficionado.” Her campaign’s “internal design system” is named Pantsuit. Her candidacy has sparked pantsuit flashmobs. She even inspired Beyonce and her backup singers to wear pantsuits over the weekend during an #ImWithHer concert.

“I gotta say, didn’t you love the pantsuits?” Clinton said to the crowd after Beyonce performed.

Chamberlain, a 33-year-old education counselor from Maine, started Pantsuit Nation after a conversation with a friend about having to defend Clinton’s clothing choices.

“Hillary embodies women's fight for equality, and the pantsuit is an emblem of that struggle,” Chamberlain wrote in a statement provided to Univision. “I decided on a whim to wear a pantsuit on Election Day and to see if I could get some friends to join me. I wanted to create a place for friends to celebrate voting for and electing the first female president, in all her pantsuited glory.”

In the group, which is by invitation only, people immediately began sharing their stories and photos and inviting others to do the same. In a week, Pantsuit Nation had 100,000 members. As of Monday afternoon, it had more than 1.9 million.

And as the group expanded, so did its mission. In a constant stream of posts -- more than 20,000 submitted each day -- people share stories of inspiration about why they’re voting for Clinton and in honor of whom. There are mother/daughter pairs; women born before suffrage; a husband who voted for his late wife; nonagenarians; Holocaust survivors; a mom for her transgender child; the terminally ill.

One 85-year-old woman in the group had a heart attack in a polling place but insisted on voting before going off in the ambulance.

“I'm in labor with my first child but absolutely had to make it to the polls to cast my vote for Hillary before going to the hospital,” another wrote.

The group has also raised over $185,000 since a fundraising drive started November 4.

Administrators encourage members to adhere to the “go high” mantra encouraged by First Lady Michelle Obama, to keep the dialogue positive. They moderate every post. As a result, members tout the group’s tenor of joy and celebration in the face of such a negative election season.

On Tuesday, the group’s moderators will approve only pantsuit photos and selfies. Members are encouraged to post across social media with the hashtag #pantsuitnation.

As for buying a pantsuit, the group is encouraging members to try “Goodwill stores, their mother’s closet, online retailers, large department stores and more.”