Since becoming first lady of the United States, Melania Trump has been making headlines for her choice of clothing: How much it cost (always a pretty penny) and whether she made the right choice for the occasion.
Here we’ll look at the ways Melania’s pricey outfit choices may have been sending messages to her husband and others. Was a pink blouse a subtle commentary on Donald’s “locker room talk” (page 5), and was a vibrant green dress a direct message to a former Mrs. Trump (page 4)?
1. She played it cool post-scandal
- Price of Adam Lippes dress: $1,280
In March 2018, Melania avoided the spotlight during the Stormy Daniels scandal by spending spring break in Florida with son Barron. She made one public appearance in visiting Palm Beach’s St. Mary’s Medical Center to bring Easter baskets to young patients.
Decked out in a casual asymmetric striped dress, the first lady sought out a polished yet casual look.
Next: She dresses for diplomacy.
2. She has diplomacy in mind
- Price of her Asia trip wardrobe: More than $42,000
In November 2017, Melania joined her husband on a tour of Asia. In an act of diplomacy, she stepped out in Beijing wearing a black embroidered Gucci gown. Its design was inspired by elements of a traditional cheongsam — a floor-length silk gown with a high slit. She wrote the dress to a state dinner hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The first lady previously sent similar statements of goodwill at the White House, wearing a Tadashi Shoji gown while hosting Japan’s president and a Versace number when hosting Italy’s president.
Next: She knows when to go casual.
3. There’s a time and place for going casual
- Price of checkered flannel Balmain shirt: $1,100
While she was criticized for wearing stiletto heels to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey, Melania was praised for getting it right when she dug around the White House vegetable garden with children in September 2017.
For the occasion, she donned $50 Converse sneakers and $185 J Brand jeans. The one price tag that belied her attempt at a casual look was the $1,100 Balmain flannel shirt. Either way, for her this outfit was surely lower end.
Next: The message she may be sending to a former Mrs. Trump
4. She’s the only current U.S. first lady
- Price of dress designed by David Cameron’s wife: $450
In October 2017, Melania wore a green belted dress designed by Samantha Cameron, wife of former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. Some speculated her wearing a dress made by another first lady was a response to a comment made by her husband’s first wife, Ivana Trump.
When Ivana appeared on Good Morning America a few days prior to promote her new book, she said she implied she was “basically” first lady. Was the dress Melania’s way of saying she’s the only real deal?
Next: The outfit that may have been a reaction to her husband’s controversial comments
5. A reaction to her husband’s comments?
- Price of Gucci Pussy Bow blouse: $1,100
Following controversial audio released days earlier where the president made so-called “locker room talk,” Melania appeared at the second presidential debate in October 2017 wearing a pink pussy bow blouse. While some speculated she was commenting on the audio, a spokeswoman said the choice was unintentional.
Next: She often goes for the European look.
6. She may prefer European brands
- Price of Dolci & Gabbana silk coat: More than $50,000
Melania stepped out in Sicily in May 2017 wearing a Dolce & Gabbana coat featuring silk multicolored flowers. While fashion websites gushed over the expensive jacket, the mainstream press didn’t take so kindly to its $50,000-plus price tag. They quickly pointed out it cost more than the average household’s annual income.
Next: Maybe it’s because of backlash at home
7. Thumbing her nose at U.S. designers?
- Price of Valentino jacquard dress with floral design: $8,900
Not only might Melania prefer European brands, but she may also be wearing them out of necessity. Not many American designers have lined up to dress Melania, either for political convictions or fear of backlash in the press and on social media. Examples include Michael Kors and Calvin Klein.
As U.S. designers publicly refused to dress her, she’s leaned on European designers instead. She’s chosen outfits from Old World, expensive design brands including Del Pozo, Christian Dior, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy, and Valentino.
Next: Her inauguration outfit’s message
8. She wanted to show her commitment
- Sky-blue Ralph Lauren inauguration dress: Custom made
Melania has shown she prefers some U.S. brands like Michael Kors and Calvin Klein. She wore a sky-blue Ralph Lauren cashmere dress to her husband’s inauguration in January 2017. The choice resembled Jackie Kennedy’s 1961 similar inauguration ensemble.
The possible message to the country: The new first lady wanted to show her commitment to her new dignified position of serving the nation. Hillary Clinton also wore Ralph Lauren to the ceremony.
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