The Politics of Fashion: Michelle and Melania

By Haley Verre and Alyssa Williamson

Staff Writers

First Ladies have always been a form of inspiration for American women. For the last eight years, fashion fanatics all over the nation have been graced with Michelle Obama’s impeccable sense of style and class. She’s arguably a modern-day Jacqueline Onassis.
One of the best features of Michelle’s style is the confidence that she carries regardless of what she wears. Despite the controversy over her decision to wear sleeveless dresses, she proudly showed off her strong, toned arms at various occasions.

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Source: Luke Sharett/The New York Times

 

She stands out at any formal occasion with her choice of bright, jewel-tone hues. For example, the dresses she chose in 2009 and 2013 were a bright white and red, respectively, and were each designed by Jason Wu.

Jason Wu, a personal favorite of the former First Lady, was also responsible for designing her lace, navy blue farewell speech dress. The entire First Family were coordinated that day, and wore blue to demonstrate their unity moving forward to a new era of politics.
Michelle’s style is not only enviable, but also accessible to the everyday woman. On an daily basis she can be seen sporting affordable brands like J. Crew, H&M, and
the GAP. She was praised for this approach to affordable dressing, since her style could easily be emulated, and it gave citizens the sense that she is no different from the rest of us.

As we enter a new presidency, we also look forward to entering a new era of fashion as Melania Trump emerges as a Slovenian-born American style icon. Melania
collaborated with Hérve Pierre on the design of her inaugural ball gown. Pierre, much like the new First Lady, was an immigrant who came to the U.S. to make a name for himself.
While Melania’s style is different from what we have seen grace the White House for the past eight years, we expect it to evolve to something resembling that of former First Ladies.

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Source: Doug Mills/The New York Times

 

Before becoming a part of the political scene, Melania has been known for her sexier take on fashion trends, but moving forward there is evidence that she is ready to adopt a more mature and classic take on her style. Her powder blue Ralph Lauren dress echoed the style of Jackie Onassis with its feminine, structured form, matching gloves, and jacket.
Michelle used fashion to appear relatable to everyday Americans and, being on the younger side, remained relevant to the fashion scene. She took a chance on up-and-coming designers and helped people like Jason Wu gain traction in the fashion world.

Looking forward, we are eager to see what Melania Trump has in store for American style.

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