First Lady Melania Trump has garnered much attention for her wardrobe choices, which usually include high-heeled shoes, tight-fitting dresses and lots of color. But during an August trip to Camp David, Melania donned a loose-fitting dress that seemed to eschew the typical form-fitting attire she's become known for.
Guardian columnist Hadley Freeman noticed Melania's clothing swap and wondered if it was a subtle bit of defiance to her husband, President Donald Trump.
"It was a beautiful dress, no question, but it didn’t exactly fit in with Melania’s usual glamazon-fembot-princess perfect style," Freeman wrote. "You can imagine Donald Trump looking at it and asking his wife why she was wearing a table cloth, because it dared to hang loosely."
Freeman pointed out, though, that Melania's typical style was back a few days after the loose dress made an appearance. The first lady was photographed wearing towering high heels while boarding an aircraft to Houston on Aug. 29 to give support to victims of Hurricane Harvey, according to the New York Times.
"When is a shoe not just a shoe?" asked Vanessa Friedman, fashion columnist at The Times. "When it is a pair of very high, needle-thin heels worn by the first lady of the United States on her way to the site of a natural disaster."
Several news outlets openly wondered why anybody would choose stiletto heels when heading to a disaster area, but Melania emerged in Houston wearing white sneakers and a ballcap.
"I want to be able to offer my help and support in the most productive way possible, not through just words but also action," Melania said in a statement addressing the controversy about her shoes.
Friedman also wondered if Melania was fully aware of the effect that her wardrobe choices has on the voting public, and also brought up how different Melania's choices in clothes have been than those of previous first ladies.
"The problem is that, as first lady, in an environment as fraught as the current one, there is no such thing as offstage," Friedman wrote. "Even boarding a plane becomes a quasi-official moment in which all messaging, spoken or assumed, is mined for meaning."
Freeman was also critical of Melania for donning a ballcap with "FLOTUS" embroidered on the front while stepping off the aircraft in Houston, remarking that it seemed the Trumps were willing to take any opportunity to advertise. Donald wore a matching "POTUS" ballcap, and both ballcap styles are for sale, according to The Guardian.