Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh chose famed womenswear designer Carolina Herrera when she was sworn in as the city’s 50th mayor Tuesday morning.

Catherine E. Pugh made a statement when she was sworn in as Baltimore's 50th mayor Tuesday morning -- not just with her words, but with a bold dress by famed womenwear designer Carolina Herrera.

Pugh's sleeveless, fit-and-flare, white and red number — which recalled the style of first lady Michelle Obama and the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — stood out in the sea of political figures at Baltimore's War Memorial, including Gov. Larry Hogan, retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch.


"I felt like a princess," Pugh said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "It's a classic dress."

The former state senator -- who co-owns 2 Chic Boutique in Pigtown -- originally spotted the diamond-patterned dress at Herrera's boutique in Washington in September when she was attending Congressional Black Caucus events.

"I couldn't afford it then," said Pugh. "It's hard for me to buy if it's not on the sales rack."

But she saw the same dress Thanksgiving week at the Philadelphia Mills outlet. It was marked down to $600 from the original $1,500 retail price.

She completed the ensemble with red suede Charles Jourdan pumps from her closet. Later, as she made appearances throughout the city, she wore a double-breasted knee-length coat by Donna Karan.

As for Tuesday evening's inauguration party, Pugh said she hadn't made a decision what to wear.

"I have a choice of three gowns and two short dresses," she said.

Whatever she wears, she promised that the dress would likely be a bargain.

"One is a very, very expensive gown and I paid $300. It retails for $2,000. I'm the ultimate bargain shopper," she said.