When you think of Melania Trump’s wardrobe, rib-crushing shift dresses, pussy-bow blouses with a nod to Jackie O and militaristic suiting are among the first things that spring to mind.
There’s little doubt that the First Lady has flair when it comes to fit-and-flare dressing.
But yesterday, during a visit to Texas to support the relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Melania made a disaster out of flouting the unspoken dress code.
Next to Donald Trump, in his dressed-down khakis, Presidential windbreaker and work boots, Melania’s outfit by contrast – while perfect for a shopping trip to Barney’s – was ever so slightly lacking in propriety or practicality for what Texas Governor Greg Abbott called “one of the largest disasters America has ever faced”. For once Donald Trump looked (somewhat) sensible.
And it had all been going so well for the First Lady.
Just the day before Vanity Fair praised the usually designer-clad Trump for swapping her high-priced labels for a dressed-down and more affordable $75 pink gingham shirt from J Crew – a favourite brand of the former First Lady Michelle Obama.
It’s a shame Trump didn’t also take a leaf out of her predecessor’s style book for her latest outing. In 2010 Michelle paid a visit to the relief effort in Haiti following the earthquake in a navy button-down shirt, pale jeans and well-worn grey Converse.
Similarly, following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Laura Bush visited New Orleans in a selection of low-key, simple top-and-trouser combos chosen for their wearable, crease-free qualities, not their ability to generate column inches.
As it is, Melania is not a woman to pass up the opportunity to make a bold fashion statement – even in the face of disaster.
The Stan Smith swap
When Melania stepped out on the White House lawn to catch her private jet to Texas in a pair of Manolo Blahniks, a Twitter storm ensued.
Fired-up commentators on social media called for a petition to buy the First Lady some more practical Skechers. Meanwhile, actor Zach Braff quipped: “Melania headed to a disaster zone in stilettos is my Halloween costume.”
The White House took note. Literally hot on the heels of Melania’s appearance, a spokeswoman told us not to panic, assuring the Washington Examiner that Melania was planning on changing out of her Manolos on the plane.
On cue, Melania stepped off Air Force One in Corpus Christi, Texas, clad in box-fresh Stan Smiths.
A go-to style among the fashion set and – without so much as a grass stain in sight – these monochrome kicks were clearly a new purchase for the First Lady for whom flats, let alone trainers, are far from comfortable stomping ground.
The shoe swap was part of an entire outfit change – in to a pair of black slim-fit jeans and a crisp, equally unblemished white shirt with a hitched-up collar and rolled-up sleeves, ready for action. It was a look which wouldn’t look out of place on the fashion week front row. Except for the FLOTUS cap, of course…
…which brings us to the Presidential headgear. Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, Donald sported a white “USA” baseball cap, embroidered with his last name (proudly made in America, natch, and available to buy on his website for $40, should you want to get his look).
Meanwhile, Melania matched her husband’s penchant for branded headwear by sporting a “FLOTUS” cap, simultaneously signifying a united front and ensuring maximum paparazzi exposure at all times.
Top Gun, Top Trumps
If there was any doubt that Melania was a woman on a mission, her Top Gun-inspired army-green bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses put paid to that.
Part Vetements, part Maverick in Top Gun, the combo – worn with razor-sharp tailored trousers – shows a new, street-wise side to Melania, which is at odds with her usual billionairess über-glam brand of fashion.
In any other circumstances, her choice of jacket would have garnered a lot more attention – dare we even say, praise? – from the fashion press.
Read more at standard.co.uk