In The Know

Melania Trump puzzles with ‘I really don’t care’ jacket

First lady Melania Trump flew to the Texas border in a display of compassion for migrant children — but distracted from her own message by wearing the equivalent of a neon sign.

Her wardrobe touched off an intense media debate as she sported a jacket with the cryptic message “I really don’t care. Do u?” emblazoned on the back.

{mosads}The first lady could be seen modeling the unique ensemble, a military-style jacket from Zara that retails for $39, as she boarded a plane bound for the Lone Star State on Thursday during an unannounced visit to a child detention center.

Following a Daily Mail report, and as photos of Trump boarding the presidential aircraft with the jacket began to surface, talk of the former model’s clothing exploded.

The short coat had first lady watchers attempting to read the sartorial tea leaves.

Some questioned whether the 48-year-old mom of one was attempting to troll her husband, who a day earlier had signed an executive order ending the separation of families at the border. The separations had occurred as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all adults illegally crossing the country’s southern border. And Melania, who initiated the trip, had indirectly criticized the policy on Twitter, saying the administration must govern with “heart.”

Others surmised that Trump’s outfit indicated insincerity about her trip, blasting it as merely a “photo opp.”

“The last ounce of pull Melania Trump had to appear like the voice of reason or compassion just left the building,” one Twitter user wrote. Vice called the jacket “absurdly insensitive.”

Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, fired back at critics, tweeting of the outfit “#ItsJustAJacket” and that the first lady’s meeting with the migrant children “impacted [her] greatly.”

“If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids — rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe – we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children,” Grisham wrote, while denying there was a “hidden message” within the clothing decision.

Despite Grisham’s explanation that it was “just a jacket,” hours later, President Trump offered what he described as his wife’s reason for wearing the piece. The commander in chief said the jacket was an attempt to target the “fake news media,” writing:

The White House didn’t respond to ITK’s request for further comment on Melania Trump’s jacket.

It’s not the first time that the public and the press have attempted to dissect any underlying meaning behind Trump’s, and other first ladies’, fashion.

In January, Melania Trump raised eyebrows when she donned a white pantsuit — a favorite outfit of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and a color once worn by Democrats invoking the suffragettes to protest the president — to her husband’s first State of the Union address.

Trump also made waves in 2016, when she opted for a Gucci “pussy-bow” shirt at the second presidential debate, just days after her spouse, then the Republican presidential nominee, was widely condemned following the release of a 2015 “Access Hollywood” tape in which he used vulgar terms to describe his attempts to have sex with women.

In 2016, Michelle Obama draped herself in a Gucci gown to attend her final Kennedy Center Honors ceremony as first lady. Vanity Fair, at the time, speculated whether the choice of an Italian brand, rather than an American designer, was a show of support for Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who had announced a day earlier that he would resign after voters rejected a referendum to change the Constitution.

Nancy Reagan famously had a flair for red as first lady, once calling her color of choice a “picker-upper.” Her affinity for the fiery hue, now referred to as “Reagan red,” has been credited with transforming it into the color synonymous with the Republican Party.

Dawnn Karen, a fashion psychologist, says while there may have been no hidden meaning behind the message on Trump’s jacket, she considers it a “fashion blunder.”

The Fashion Institute of Technology professor says, as first lady, Trump doesn’t have the luxury of simply dressing for whatever mood she might be in on any given day.

“There are average people who wake up in the morning and they dress for themselves. But then there are people who are celebrities who have to dress for others,” says Karen. “She has to sort of balance that, and I feel like she hasn’t gotten the hang of that.”

By Thursday night, Melania Trump had yet to tweet or give any insight into the headline-making jacket beyond her spokeswoman’s comments. She tweeted photos of her visit to Texas and released a lengthy statement calling for Congress to pass “common sense immigration reform” that did not mention the jacket debate. 

And as the media firestorm continued to swell, Trump displayed what might be considered a form of fashion defiance. She was seen wearing the same “I really don’t care. Do u?” jacket as she returned from Texas and entered the White House — despite the warm weather in Washington.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Melania Trump Michelle Obama
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