The Bucknellian

Melania Trump’s Fashion: Tasteful or Inappropriate?

Colette Lewin, Contributing Writer

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Last week, First Lady Melania Trump finished her first solo trip in office, where she visited Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi. Throughout her trip, she posted various pictures holding babies, feeding elephants, and touring sites of religious and cultural importance. Though people noticed how often the First Lady was smiling without her husband, many also commented on her outfits in the pictures posted from her trip.

The First Lady quickly became frustrated with all the attention she was receiving on her clothing, rather than what she accomplished on her travels. Trump quickly responded back to the fashion feedback she was getting in a news conference, saying, “I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.” The First Lady has faced criticism for other past fashion choices, but one outfit during this past trip caused particular controversy.

During her safari ride, the First Lady wore a white pith helmet. Many expressed that this was insulting and exploitative of African culture by representing colonialism. A New York Times article expressed disapproval of Trump’s helmet and other outfit choices. The article said, “her attire is a signal of her understanding of what Africa is in 2018. It’s tired and it’s old and it’s inaccurate.” I agree with the article’s statement: the First Lady seemed quite oblivious and insensitive to African culture. I highly doubt she was just wearing the hat to keep the sun out of her eyes.

The First Lady’s style has stirred controversy in the past. Perhaps one of the most contentious outfits she has worn was a jacket she sported that read, “I really don’t care. Do U?” on a visit to a detention center holding migrant children. People wonder if, as the First Lady, she was presenting herself appropriately. Many other former first ladies dressed in ways that drew less attention to themselves and more attention to the issues that they were promoting, and Trump should do the same.

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Melania Trump’s Fashion: Tasteful or Inappropriate?