Forget Politics; Let’s Talk Fashion

Political fashion, that is.

This past week the president gave his state-of-the-union address. Love him or loathe him, the state of the union is an important event that should be taken seriously because traditionally, the president outlines his plans for the coming year. In this particular speech the president spent most of his time boasting about accomplishments real and imagined and exaggerated but still, it’s a serious event.

Most news outlets take it pretty seriously, too. The Philadelphia Inquirer, though, decided there was another aspect of the event that deserved significant attention and shared that in an article titled

Why what Melania Trump wore to the State of the Union matters

The Curmudgeon originally intended to go through the column and pull out the highlights (or would they be lowlights?) for you but after a few minutes of attempting to pick and choose he decided to just go ahead and share the whole silly thing – silly, in this case, referring to the subject and the person who wrote the piece, while the commentary on fashion itself is hilariously serious. (You can also find the column here, on the web site.)

First lady Melania Trump faced quite the fashion conundrum when it was time to pick out the perfect outfit for her husband’s first State of the Union.

There was no way Trump could wear everyone’s go-to hue black; it had already been claimed by the Democratic women as a show of solidarity with the #TimesUp movement.

Republican women were slated to wear red, white and blue to represent love of country — see Ivanka’s striking red, white, blue (and black) plaid Oscar de la Renta dress.

But our classically-inclined first lady understands to a perfect fashion T that she looks best in monochromatic tones.

So what’s a first lady to do?

Wear white, of course.

On Tuesday night, Trump was her usual flawless self in a straight Dior winter white pantsuit featuring flat-front trousers that stopped just above the ankle, like longish-culottes. Her blazer didn’t hug her willowy frame. And her blouse was a simple silky button down.

White is one of Trump’s proven staple shades. Her inaugural gown was unforgettable, one-shouldered white crepe Hervé Pierre. And she’s the queen of the exquisitely cut, hip-hugging white skirt suit as evidenced by her decision to wear them to several meetings with world dignitaries.

White is her color. It’s crisp. It’s clean. It’s neutral.

But remember, the only way our silent first lady communicates with America is through her clothing. And Tuesday night, as usual, she clearly  had something to say.

This white pantsuit makes quite the different fashion statement from the kind of white outfits Trump  has worn in the past. Through its boxy shape and loose silhouette — a look she rarely wears — it states, “I am more than the president’s perfect wife.”

The message is telegraphed these days in large part thanks to Hillary Clinton, whose take on this style of white pantsuit has turned it into the modern-day suffragette uniform. (See: Kesha’s performance of “Praying” at Sunday night’s Grammys.)

Sometimes Trump’s outfits are an extension of the president’s “Make America Great Again” platform, like when she wore the powder blue Jackie O-inspired inaugural suit. Other times she’s practicing diplomacy, like when she attended the state banquet dinner of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a floor-grazing, red gown. There are times when her style reminded us she was a bit of a maverick herself, hence the belted, sequined Michael Kors skirt suit she donned to her husband’s first televised speech last March. Some thought it was too flashy. I loved it. But most of the time she’s telling us she need not bother herself with the dilemmas of common folk — the stilettos for the August trip to Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

So this, her first appearance since it became known that Donald Trump’s attorney arranged a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair between them, may be the first lady’s visual way of telling us that frankly, she’s not having it anymore. She didn’t accompany President Trump on his recent trip to Davos last week. And Tuesday the first couple rode in separate cars from the White House to the Capitol for last night’s address breaking a long-standing tradition.

When the suffragettes wore white back at the turn of the 20th century, it was the beginning of the women’s movement. Maybe in wearing this particular white pantsuit, Trump is also on the verge of expressing something new.

Time will tell.

People’s lives turn on what these politicians do, their futures hang in the balance, but it’s great that the Philadelphia Inquirer can put all that silly serious stuff aside and solemnly inform its readers that

This white pantsuit makes quite the different fashion statement from the kind of white outfits Trump  has worn in the past. Through its boxy shape and loose silhouette — a look she rarely wears — it states, “I am more than the president’s perfect wife.”

That, alas, seems highly unlikely.

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