Melania Trump has made another public appearance in a pricey outfit.
On Friday, the first lady hosted local schoolchildren in the White House Kitchen Garden, founded by Michelle Obama, to help harvest it.
Trump wore a Balmain plaid shirt to the event, along with Converse sneakers, CNN’s Kate Bennett reported on Twitter.
Net-A-Porter is selling the shirt for $1,380, and it perfectly matched Trump’s gardening gloves.
One of Obama’s best-known acts as a first lady was establishing the garden in 2009. It was a symbol of her efforts to reduce rates of childhood obesity, with initiatives such as the “Let’s Move” campaign and school nutritional regulations.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) September 22, 2017
- White House Photo
In addition to serving as a symbol of her initiatives, Obama used the garden as a place to showcase her down-to-earth fashion. Vogue said in its review of Obama’s 2012 book, “American Grown,” that “throughout the book, the first lady, always beautifully coiffed, wears a different J. Crew sweater to match the season (marigold yellow for summer, argyle for fall).”
Trump’s garden style is less accessible than Obama’s clothes from J. Crew and Target. At $1,380 for a seemingly casual shirt, most people aren’t likely to run out to copy Trump’s style.
A first lady’s outfits are not paid for with taxpayer dollars, so the cost of her attire doesn’t affect the American people at all. However, the first lady’s style is a series of calculated, strategic decisions.
Obama used fashion to appear as an accessible yet aspirational “mom-in-chief,” despite her unique position as an incredibly academically accomplished first lady, the only African-American first lady, and the first to be the frequent subject of racist attacks.
So far in her public life, Trump has never had to try to be relatable. Trump and her husband have long embodied a more gold-plated, luxe version of the American dream than the Obamas.
It’s a version of opulence that repulses many, especially progressives. But it’s also a luxury-oriented style of self-presentation that helped make the Trump family famous.
Even in the garden built by Obama, Trump isn’t going to shy away from her signature style. If you dislike her, that’ll probably deepen your aversion. But if you support the first lady, you might think Balmain is the perfect attire for the White House garden.