At nearly $20,000 each, the expensive dresses the first daughters wore for the 2016 Obama Christmas card have raised eyebrows.
In the family photograph, first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama are smiling and wearing similar, costly Naeem Khan dresses that sparked controversy in March, Teen Vogue reports.
The dresses cost $17,990 and $19,990 respectively, causing news outlets at the time to criticize their choices -- and continue to do so more than six months later.
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The controversy went viral, with rumors circulating the dresses were paid for by taxpayers.
"Sparing no expense, since it’s the taxpayers’ hard-earned money anyway, the president’s little princesses left many citizens fuming," wrote Amanda Shea for Mad World News.
These claims turned out to be false, with officials later saying the dresses were on loan to the girls from the designer -- a common practice.
"Mrs. Obama [and by extension, the first daughters] pays for her clothing," explained Joanna Rosholm, press secretary to the first lady, in 2014, Today reports. "For official events of public or historic significance, such as a state visit, the first lady's clothes may be given as a gift by a designer and accepted on behalf of the U.S. government. They are then stored by the National Archives."
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The luxury dresses continued to spark controversy, with some accusing the Obama administration of hypocrisy, including an opinion article by Shea for Mad World News:
It’s ironic, that in a room full of liberal elites who support wealth distribution, they each exclude themselves from that financial equation, as proven through their excessive spending.
The Obamas’ bank account seems to be off limits, since they employ a spend as I say, not as I do rule to their economic policy. This is proven by the combined total cost of the First Daughter’s formal dresses being more than many Americans make in a year.
Others defend their wardrobe choices, including Alyssa Hardy in Teen Vogue:
The media outrage was completely unwarranted -- and by immortalizing their looks in this year's Christmas card, the Obama girls certainly had the last laugh.
In fact, it may be the classiest comeback ever. With this card, they inspire us to remember the State Dinner as a special moment for their family, and a perfectly appropriate occasion for gowns of that caliber. At the end of the day, we can only sum this card up with one word: iconic.