Ms. Allison doesn’t take a single day for granted. “If I am alive for Inauguration Day and have my health, I will be watching every bit of it,” she said. “For that day I will probably get a little dressed up and put some pearls on.” She wore them on her wedding day, 57 years ago, and puts them on when attending church, which she still tries to do.
The day will be especially moving for her. “I remember very well when women had no kind of positions, nothing to do but stay home and have babies,” she said. “I won’t be here to see, but I think it is going to go even further for women.”
With few opportunities to leave the house during the pandemic, some women are excited for any excuse to put on their pearls. “I might run out to the grocery store that morning just so people can see me wearing them with a big smile on my face,” said Jan Thompson Gorniak, 53, a forensic pathologist in Las Vegas.
For Gwen Kelly, 56, a project administrator in Cincinnati, wearing pearls has been a transformative experience since she was a little girl. “I used to try on my grandma and aunt’s pearls all the time, and finally they got me my own set when I was nine or 10,” she said. “I always felt like wearing pearls elevated me.”
Other women are buying their first set of pearls so they can be part of this community. Ms. Gorniak never received pearls growing up, nor was she interested in them. “I am not a big accessorizer,” she said. “I always looked at pearls as expensive and upscale.” But this Facebook group made her change her mind. On Jan. 2 she went to Zales and bought a long strand of pearls for her 53rd birthday. “Now I think they say, ‘I am dainty, but at the same time, I have strength,’” she said.
She hasn’t even tried them on yet, preferring to wait until Jan. 20 to wear them for the first time, along with an outfit inspired by Ms. Harris. “I am going to don a white T-shirt, black blazer, jeans, my Converse, and the pearls,” she said.