First Lady Melania Trump had people scratching their heads back in late December, after she wore one confusing pair of pants.
Upon arriving in Washington, D.C. with her husband, President Donald Trump, early on Dec. 27, 2018, Melania Trump was spotted wearing an outfit that, at first glance, looked a whole lot more revealing than it actually was. Donning oversized sunglasses and an emerald green belted coat that hit below her waist, Melania also had on a pair of tan leather pants that, well, looked very similar to her natural skin color (via W magazine). So, if glancing quickly at the former model, one might just think she was walking around without pants — a shocking optical illusion, for sure! Especially when it involves a first lady!
As noted by W magazine, many people were, at first, alarmed at Melania’s look, wondering just why she’d forgo wearing pants or why she’d choose to wear a skirt so short that it was completely covered by her jacket. “Did Melania forget her pants?” one Twitter user wrote. “Coming off the plane at the base wearing a very short green [coat] with nothing else on??”
Hilariously, another Twitter user posted, “I thought Melania had excessive spray tan on some seriously wrinkled knees with a too short dress then I realized those are just ugly skinny pants.”
Of course, Melania was indeed wearing pants, as, if you look closely at photos taken of her that day, you can make out the hem of her pants near her ankles, as well as wrinkles in the leather near her knees. Skin doesn’t wrinkle quite like that, people!
As suggested by Elle, instead of tweeting up a storm about Melania’s leggings, maybe people should have paid more attention to the fact that the first lady was wearing dark sunglasses when it was super dark outside. We get that she was possibly concerned about flashes from photographers’ cameras, but how could she even see where she was going?
Melania Trump is, of course, no stranger to headline-making fashion choices. As many may recall, she infamously wore a military green Zara jacket with the phrase “I really don’t care, do u?” featured on the back in June 2018 (via Vox). She donned this statement piece while on her way to visit migrant children who’d been separated from their parents at the Texas-Mexico border. Not exactly the best time to wear that jacket…
Melania’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, told press that the fashion choice had nothing to do with Melania’s trip and was nothing more than a jacket. She stated, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope this isn’t what the media is going to choose to focus on.”
However, it wasn’t long before Donald Trump commented on the matter and claimed that the jacket was actually a statement to the media. “‘I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?’ written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media,” he tweeted out. “Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!” Sigh.
And let’s not forget the “colonial-style hat” — a white pith helmet — that Melania wore while on a Kenyan safari in October 2018. As noted by The Guardian, pith helmets were donned by “European explorers and imperial administrators in Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East in the 19th century before being adopted by military officers, rapidly becoming a symbol of status – and oppression.” So… yeah. It’s not a great look for a White House figure to wear on an overseas trip. Or, you know, at all.
In response to criticism for her headwear, Melania told press, as shared by The Hollywood Reporter, “You know what, we just completed an amazing trip. We went to Ghana, we went to Malawi, Kenya, here we are in Egypt. I want to talk about my trip and not what about what I wear.” She continued, “It’s very important what we do, what I’m doing with U.S. aid, and what I do with my initiatives, and I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”
While we can give Melania a pass for those leather pants, we can’t excuse the helmet. Fashion isn’t just clothes — it can carry implications, which people in important public positions should take into account.