Melania Trump could be making headlines once again if Donald Trump moves ahead with his plans to run for President of the US in 2024. During her time as First Lady of the United States, Melania became a hot topic, notably for her fashion choices when attending global events and supporting her husband who was President for four years between 2017 and 2021.
Miranda Holder, a celebrity fashion coach and stylist who is known for her viral TikTok style videos posted under the username @themirandaholder “Your Feel Good Fashion Coach”, pointed out that although Melania sometimes got the “tone wrong” when it came to dressing for important events, she simply “didn’t care”.
“The First Lady has a certain set of unspoken rules or guidelines of how it is expected that you dress. You have to be relatable to the public and present yourself in many different facets in order to win the hearts and minds of the United States,” explained Miranda.
“And obviously, we know that Melania wasn’t the most popular First Lady because she just dressed for her. From a styling perspective, she’s just so much fun, because I don’t think she cares.”
This is true of several events when Melania’s fashion-forward attitude caused a stir around the world. “She gets the tone slightly wrong,” said Miranda. Such was the case in 2018 when the former First Lady took her first solo visit to Kenya.
Opting to wear a white pith helmet, which many people felt drew links to colonialism across Africa. Dressed in riding pants, boots and a white shirt, Melania pulled the look together with the controversial hat while on a safari in a national park near Nairobi.
Pith helmets were worn by European explorers and imperial administrators in Africa, as well as in Asia and the Middle East during the 19th century. The hats were later adopted by military officers leading them to become symbolic of oppression at the time.
However, Miranda believes that Melania did not draw these comparisons, and was instead thinking from a solely fashion perspective. “When she went on safari in Nairobi, everyone went up in arms about it because it was actually worn by the colonial settlers,” said Miranda.
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“There was an uproar, but I think she was just going for it because she thought it was a cute finish, it was topical and she liked it. She didn’t really care about the repercussions.”
A similar incident occurred in 2017 when the former First Lady paid a visit to Texas after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Melania was photographed wearing a pair of high, needle-thin stilettos which caused a stir among the public and the media. At the time, Vanity Fair described her footwear choice as “what not to wear to a natural disaster.”
Yet, Miranda points out that the former model is known for her high heels. “She wore her famous Manolo Blahniks but that’s because they looked fabulous with the outfit,” said Miranda.
Miranda suggests that these fashion choices may be representative of Melania’s modelling career, a world she was thrown into when she was just 16 growing up in Slovenia. “We know that Melania wasn’t the most popular First Lady because she just dressed for her,” said Melania.
“I think that’s really empowering. Her wardrobe was mostly super high-end and designer haute couture pieces and there was an element of peacocking – you could call it flashy.
“But on the other hand, she had done really well for herself. She was very much a model and it was her job to turn up in all the right places and to look amazing. She did all of that beautifully, so you can’t criticise her for that. That was her job. You don’t have to apologise for who you are and where you are, and she certainly doesn’t apologise for that.”