The first lady’s ‘I really don’t care jacket’ isn’t the first time she’s appeared to have sent a sartorial signal
The internet is arm-deep in jacket-gate. Ever since Melania Trump wore the world’s most inappropriate jacket on her trip to a child detention center on Thursday, theories have been swirling as to the first lady’s motives.
Donald Trump, naturally, tweeted his own explanation. Per Trump, Melania’s jacket “refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!”.
While that may be what the president is telling himself, the internet has a number of other ideas, one of which is that Trump has learned how dishonest her husband is, and she truly no longer cares about what he thinks. Actor Kevin McHale, best known for his role in Glee, for example, was one of many people who voiced the theory Trump is trolling her husband.
The idea that Trump’s jacket was aimed at the president is bolstered by the fact that while the first lady never says very much in public, she is very deliberate about her clothing and knows how to make a sartorial statement. Rather than wearing whatever her minions pick for her, Melania has said that she always wears “what I like and what is appropriate for the occasion”. There have also been a number of previous occasions in which the former model appears to have used her clothing to dress down her husband.
The great pussy bow incident of 2016
In October 2016, Trump wore a Gucci pussy bow shirt to the second presidential debate. This was just two days after the 2005 Access Hollywood tapes in which Donald Trump talks about “grabbing women by the pussy” surfaced. Pussy bow blouses, a style of shirt with a floppy bow around the neck, were en vogue at the time so her choice of apparel wasn’t entirely inexplicable. Nevertheless, the internet immediately lost its shirt and began speculating as to whether Trump was making a subtle jab at her husband. Was this her way of being a nasty woman?
The Hillary-esque white pantsuit
It can be hard to keep track of all the presidential porn star scandals, I know, but please cast your mind back to early January when news broke that Trump had arranged a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, so she would keep quiet about an alleged sexual affair in 2006. Relations between the first lady and the president appeared to cool after that: she cancelled plans to travel with him to the World Economic Forum in Davos and there were rumours she was sleeping at a hotel. The first time Trump appeared in public with her husband after the Stormy scandal broke was the State of the Union address, and her choice of outfit caused quite a stir. The first lady’s decision to wear a cream Christian Dior pantsuit drew immediate comparisons with famous pantsuit aficionado Hillary Clinton, who had worn a similar style for the inauguration.
The Democratic House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, and other Democratic women also wore white pantsuits for Trump’s inauguration, as a statement of protest and a reference to the women’s suffrage movement, which is associated with the colour white. In light of this, many seemed to believe that Trump’s white wardrobe choice was designed to make her husband see red. Ultimately, however, no one knows for sure what Trump is thinking. Perhaps not even the first lady herself.