Instead of actions, outfits can speak louder than words First Lady Melania Trump never liked to make public statements, so during her husband’s presidency, performers have exploited what she chose to wear in search of messages about her hopes, priorities and opinions
But sometimes, very rarely, Ms. Trump’s signals show up too much on her nose to be a coincidence I think back to when she wore a Gucci ponytail blouse in a 2016 presidential debate, not long ago after the Washington Post published the recording « Grab them by the pussy » And this other time when she put on a Zara jacket and said, « I really don’t care, do I? » meet detained immigrant children
Of course, she never validates speculation directly.When approaching her clothing choices, it is usually through a spokesperson who is quick to deny any deeper intent (Representatives said the choice of ‘a debate shirt was « unintentional » and that « there was no hidden message » in the jacket)
The point is, the audience wants there to be a message. We want confirmation that she’s thinking it too hard than us – that she’s in the joke, or that there’s an « there- » low « , if you want
Because in politics as in life, clothes have meaning What politicians wear is the most direct and least publicized way they have to communicate in our oversaturated image world Just like us eat with our eyes first, we think with our eyes first A politician can put on a 20 minute speech about his humble origins to death, but if he delivers it with a Savile Row costume and a $ 300 haircut £ is what people will remember
Politicians and politicians can’t afford to send the wrong messages – especially not to the United States during an election cycle, when each appearance triggers cascades of subconscious visual impressions in a split second that s ‘accumulate to shape the opinions of voters
The fact that we take such a close look at the outfits of women politicians is a direct result of Michelle Obama.If it cannot be said that the former first lady invented the diplomatic style (it was Jackie Kennedy, who wore Givenchy in Paris and clothes by American designer Oleg Cassini at home), he can certainly be credited with a mastery of the discipline at Jedi level From the commuter-mom mix to cardigans with designer skirts, thanks to her advocacy of young American design talent like Jason Wu, Christian Siriano, and Brandon Maxwell, Michelle moved the markets Literally A 2010 Harvard Business Review study found quantified the Michelle Obama effect, determining that the first lady’s wardrobe choices over 189 appearances generated $ 27 billion in value for the 29 companies whose clothes she wore
She understood that fashion offered a platform to promote her message more effectively than any news clip and this fashion offered a silent mechanism to convey respect It was no accident that she wore Atelier Versace for an Italian state dinner, or a dress by Chinese-American designer Vera Wang to greet the Chinese president and his wife She repeated this pattern with leaders from India, Canada, Japan, South Korea and – yes – the UK (she wore London designer clothes including Christopher Kane, Roksanda, Preen de Thornton Bregazzi , Mary Katrantzou, Alexander McQueen and others on official trips )
After the Obama era, reporters and the public alike expected similar messages from Melania I felt like this Stretched all over the place to find deeper meaning in that dress or jacket or stiletto heels thin as a pencil In recounting a series of first looks from European luxury fashion houses, we noted the new First Lady’s preferences for figure-hugging silhouettes, heels high enough to keep her practically pointy, block color and four or even five digit price tags
We heard that Donald Trump likes Melania to dress expensive Was she dressing to bolster her wealth claims? Was she creating a new image of the first lady of the trophy in contrast to Michelle’s careful high-low mix? Or did she really not care (did she)?
Melania seems to me to be someone whose favorite hobby is shopping Someone for whom the thought of wearing an outfit you’ve seen in public again would amount to public disgrace She has the means and the platform. form to showcase whatever she picked up in her latest Net-a-porter transport (And she pays retail, so the creators – at least one of whom told me they were privately dismayed to see Melania in their clothes – have no choice to dress it or not)
Of course, Melania is not the only prominent member of the Trump female phalanx There are also the matching daughters (Ivanka and Tiffany), daughters-in-law, girlfriends, advisers and representatives who travel with the first family. Fans find much to admire in the collective brilliance of the Trump women Critics poke fun at the regressive femininity they embody, how they seem to draw on style cues from the Roger Ailes era Fox News But still : in their bodycon dresses of red, white and blue newsreaders (Kimberly Guilfoyle, Lara Trump and Kayleigh McEnany on Instagram, all wearing Chiara Boni) or, when they want to be really clear about it, their one-MAGA-red- authorized dresses (Guilfoyle again), these ladies know how to make an impression
Fashion insiders must recognize that despite the industry’s full membership of the Democratic Party, it is Republican women who have better understood the art of clear and consistent clothing-based political communication
And then came the 2020 presidential campaign, and Dr. Jill Biden’s a woman with a long and respected career as an educator, an area where appearances matter less than content
« Teaching isn’t what I do It’s who I am, » she tweeted before making headlines at the Democratic Party’s virtual convention from her old classroom in a Delaware high school in August
For this address, she wore a forest green shirt dress It was by Brandon Maxwell, but what mattered more than his designer credentials was the stability and confidence he connotes. It looked like a dress that a teacher who wanted her class to know she would take good care of them would wear on the first day of a new school year – a message that resonated with a country filled with families unsure of when, how or even if their children would return to their own classrooms
Since then, she has urged Americans to vote in knee-high boots with silver stenciled « VOTE » on the side, seemed to advocate sustainability by removing a Gabriela Hearst dress from her wardrobe for a debate (« what a surprise and what an honor ”To see Biden“ reuse ”the three-year-old’s dress, the designer wrote on Instagram) and make Democrats smile in a Dolce & Gabbana floral dress (with matching mask) for each other
Dr. Biden is not Mrs. Obama She is not Mrs. Trump either But her apparent lack of a tactical approach to dressing (Michelle) or a high credit limit at Trump Tower (Melania ) represents points of difference, not a void What she offers that others don’t is some familiarity or a more relaxed attitude to dress She appears to be someone who loves fashion without worrying about it The pieces she chooses match the demands of her agenda and (possibly) of her state of mind Any woman who has ever responded to a compliment of an original accessory with: « It’s fun, isn’t it? » will understand why Biden was wearing these VOTE boots
What this campaign has really shown us is that it might be time to stop looking at the candidate’s wives as the most astute style flaggers The Most Interesting Player in the Politics Game This times is not a Biden or a Trump, but rather the potential VPOTUS Kamala Harris is a serious candidate for the national office and a woman who loves clothes – imagine that!
Ahead of the 2020 campaign, the California senator and former attorney general created a sleeker, more contemporary look than most women in politics Instead of blazers and silk blouses, she favors black pantsuits worn with t-shirts; she wears her costumes not with kitten heels but with selections from her extensive collection of Converse sneakers of course she accessorizes with pearls, but they are either cool (a necklace by designer Irene Neuwirth) or different (black Also note: her hair is moving, she’s that rare politician who looks comfortable in jeans and she isn’t afraid to be caught dancing in front of the camera (people always talk about her appearance on a float at the 2019 San Francisco Pride Parade, wearing a rainbow -diamond-dazzled denim jacket – who else? – Levi’s, a local brand)
The best depiction of Harris’ next-gen political style approach can be found on the cover of Elle magazine’s November issue During the black-and-white photoshoot of fashion photographers Inez and Vinoodh, Harris shows off comfortable and bossy in a charcoal gray pantsuit (a blazer with wide lapels and wide leg pants), a black silk blouse and black heels She’s here She’s claiming her space And she means business What could we know more?
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Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Omarosa Manigault Newman, First Lady of the United States, The Apprentice
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