With an Understated Ensemble, Melania Trump's Message Takes Center Stage

Melania Trump dialed it back, sartorially speaking, for her latest public appearance. 

Addressing press on Monday afternoon at the Rose Garden of the White House, Melania introduced her “Be Best” campaign, which aims to help children by addressing issues related to social media use and the opioid crisis. (The scope, as well as the title of the initiative, quickly drew ire, but that’s a dissection for another day.)

Her ensemble for the presentation was pointedly simple—a buttery, belted leather trench coat by Ralph Lauren and a stiff white pencil skirt which she topped off with her go-to sky-high stilettos. Unlike other statement-making looks she’s worn in the past, Melania’s ensemble was … fine. 

The aforementioned standouts, of course, include that white hat which the First Lady sported during French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to the White House, which she followed up with a shimmery Chanel number for her first date dinner.

Another outfit of note: During her last public speech regarding her anti-cyber bullying initiative back in September, Melania stepped out in a hot pink Delpozo dress that was quite a statement piece, to say the least.

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With its voluminous sleeves and neon color, the dress drew plenty of commentary from the Twittersphere. Supporters of the First Lady honed in on negative fashion reviews to highlight the “irony” of the fact that Melania was cyber bullied in the midst of her anti-cyber bullying campaign. Others believed the dress was intended to be a distraction so that the hypocritical nature of her comments, given her husband’s own cyber bullying tendencies, wouldn’t cast too dark of a shadow over her message.

This time, however, there was no distraction. The burnt carmel color of the leather trench almost seemed to fade into her auburn hued hair and deep tan complexion, so that all you saw was Melania herself. 

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Compared to her husband, who seems to tweet his every stray thought, Melania has stayed relatively mum during her 16 months in the White House, making just a handful of public appearances. And when she does find herself in the spotlight, she makes more headlines for her grim, tight-lipped smiles (“cries for help” as some on social media have called them) and rebuffing her hubby’s attempts to hold her hand than she does for policy.

She’s found fashion fans along the way, many of whom reluctantly admit to getting excited to see her wardrobe given they don’t agree with her other half’s policy. “I understand this makes me a shallow, terrible person but I never get tired of admiring @FLOTUS fashion,” tweeted NYC-based news anchor Melissa Francis. “That coat is to die for. Sue me.” 

Francis isn’t the only one who has taken a liking—or at least pivoted to a more neutral position—with regards to her feelings toward the First Lady. According to a new CNN poll, 57 percent of respondents have a favorable view of the first lady, a ten percent bump since January. Many believe the sympathy factor to be at play, especially in light of the recent reports of the president’s infidelities. (If the appearance of Stormi Daniels—who just sued President Trump for defamation—on SNL tells us anything, it’s that talk of POTUS’ sex life is certainly not going away anytime soon.)

On Sunday, The Washington Post also reported that Melania and Donald Trump’s schedules rarely overlap these days, spurring headlines like, “Melania, Who Swats Trump’s Hand Away, Might Not Like Spending Time With Him.” 

While the White House remains as tumultuous as ever, Melania’s fashion has remained consistently tailored, classic, and just ever-so-edgy (a pussy bow blouse here, a cut-away cape blazer there), but never straying too far from the conservative aesthetic of the powder blue Ralph Lauren skirt suit she wore on Inauguration day back in 2017.

Where her husband shouts/tweets into the void, Melania, instead, let’s her image do the talking for her. And on Monday, at least, it wasn’t saying much.

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