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Nothing else Melania Trump wears will ever matter again

July 13, 2018 at 6:00 AM

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On their first night in Britain, July 12, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump boarded a helicopter bound for a black-tie gala at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. (The Washington Post)

Once again, Melania Trump has stepped onto the international stage in the traditional role of first lady: an emissary of the American people, a symbol of our collective humanity — and a fashion mannequin of soft diplomacy. The stakes, as always, are high. But her credibility as a moderating force, a gracious presence swathed in silk and lace, has been significantly undermined by her own hand. All it took was a $39 olive-drab jacket.

The first lady began her country-hopping sojourn Tuesday, when she stepped off Air Force One in Brussels wearing a camel-colored Burberry trench coat buttoned snugly to the neck. There was no evident Belgian subtext to this particular choice, but it still suggested an intent. The classic trench coat was basically invented by the British. And Burberry is a quintessentially British brand, though with a new designer, Riccardo Tisci, who is Italian. Thus, Mrs. Trump’s fashion choice could be construed as an olive branch of sorts to Great Britain, the ally with whom the United States has an often-mentioned special relationship that has been looking less special these days.

Melania Trump on the tarmac after arriving in Brussels for the NATO summit. Her classic trench coat is by Burberry. (Francois Lenoir/Reuters/)

On Wednesday afternoon at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in the Brussels suburb of Waterloo, Mrs. Trump participated in a program for NATO spouses that included a fashion show and chocolate tasting. She listened appreciatively at a recital of Tchaikovsky. For the occasion, she selected a navy sleeveless dress with a flared skirt by Calvin Klein 205W39NYC. It was an astute choice — an iconic American brand under the creative leadership of Belgian designer Raf Simons. Since taking the helm in 2017, Simons has mounted runway shows that paint an elegiacal portrait of the American Dream through the eyes of an immigrant. His version is not without hope or optimism, but it’s not the sunny vision it once might have been. In Simons’s version, the clouds have rolled in over the amber waves of grain. So the first lady’s dress potentially offered quite a bit of cultural subtext.

Melania Trump, left center, wearing a Calvin Klein dress at the NATO spouses event with Amelie Derbaudrenghien of Belgium, left, and Brigitte Macron of France and Gauthier Destenay of Luxembourg at right. (Nicholas Lambert/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock/)

For Wednesday evening, Mrs. Trump opted for a white, tea-length cocktail dress by the Lebanese designer Elie Saab. The silhouette was reserved, but the fabric was rather sheer. It balanced glamour with decorum. It did not speak of Belgium or NATO, but it could well serve as a reminder of the global nature of fashion, creativity and style.

Melania Trump in a sheer, lace tulle dress by Elie Saab at the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, Belgium. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/)
Melania Trump in a taupe sheath by London-based designer Roland Mouret as she arrives in London. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Mrs. Trump continued in this manner throughout her international excursion. For her Thursday arrival in London, she opted for a form-fitting sheath by the London-based designer Roland Mouret, a brand that has been in the wardrobe rotation of the Duchess of Sussex, nee Meghan Markle. For dinner later that evening with Prime Minister Theresa May, she wore a yellow silk chiffon gown by the New York-based designer Gilles Mendel. He helms J. Mendel, which was founded in the 1870s in St. Petersburg as a furrier catering to Russian aristocracy. The house relocated to Paris after the 1917 revolution. Gilles took over the family business in 1981 and has since been inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Related: [For Melania Trump, 2017 was the year of the sleeve]

So the first lady’s wardrobe is well positioned to tell a story about the global nature of fashion, its ability to speak to cultural and social shifts, the heft of its emotional resonance. It has the potential to speak volumes about empathy and cross-border friendship.

But does it? Can it ever?

Can there be fashion diplomacy after detonating the nuclear option? After the crude fashion equivalent of throwing up the middle finger? That, after all, is what Mrs. Trump did in June when she flew off on a humanitarian mission to visit detained migrant children wearing a fast-fashion jacket inscribed with “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” Few garments have caused as much of a media storm as that Zara jacket with its dismissive white graffiti scrawl. In response to the brouhaha, her spokesperson advised, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.” Thus instructed, there was no reason to believe that there was any sly misdirection, no bitter irony, no mistaking the intent. Take the general message at its word.

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First lady Melania Trump wore a jacket that caused a stir on social media as she boarded a plane to Texas on June 21 for a border visit. (The Washington Post)

The message was clear, after all. Recoil. Agree. Shrug. She does not care. About what, precisely?

About opinions. About expectations. About anything. “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?”

Mrs. Trump has made it plain. Her publicly expressed lack of concern wasn’t focused on some specific aspect of her role — perhaps one with which the public could even empathize or at least understand. Her disaffection was writ large as she walked across the tarmac in clear view of photographers. She didn’t aim her disdain with the precision of a sniper. She sprayed everything within range with scorn.

Feb. 15, 2019 | President Trump and the first lady walk to Marine One as they depart for Palm Beach, Fla. from the South Lawn of the White House. (Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post)
Feb. 14, 2019 | First lady Melania Trump helps children celebrate Valentine's Day at the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb. 13, 2019 | The first lady listens during a meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump, Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez and first lady Maria Ruiz Sandoval. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Dec. 27, 2018 | President Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive on the South Lawn of the White House after making a visit to troops in Iraq. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Dec. 26, 2018 | The first lady smiles after speaking to troops alongside President Trump during their surprise visit to al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Dec. 24, 2018 | The president and first lady speak with children, who are calling the NORAD Santa tracker, from the State Dining Room of the White House. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Dec. 11, 2018 | The first lady speaks while standing next to Santa during a “Toys for Tots” event at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. (Susan Walsh/AP)
Decx. 6, 2018 | First lady Melania Trump looks on as the president speaks during a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House. (Oliver Contreras/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Dec. 1, 2018 | First lady Melania Trump, front far right, and other spouses of world leaders pose for a photo at the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires during the G-20 leaders summit. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)
Nov. 30, 2018 | President Trump, right, and the first lady, center right, pose with Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, and his wife, Juliana Awada, before a gala at the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Nov. 29, 2018 | The president and first lady walk from the White House to Marine One on the South Lawn to depart for the G-20 summit in Argentina. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Nov. 28, 2018 | First lady Melania Trump participates in a town hall meeting on opioids at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
Nov. 27, 2018 | Melania Trump, center right, waves as she is acknowledged by, from left, American Red Cross President Gail J. McGovern, second lady Karen Pence and Red Cross official Koby Langley as they prepare to assemble comfort kits for military personnel at the Red Cross in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Nov. 19, 2018 | The first lady and the president watch the arrival of the White House Christmas tree at the North Portico of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Nov. 10, 2018 | The first lady is greeted by Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Elysee Palace in Paris on the eve of the commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day. (Vincent Kessler/Reuters)
Oct. 28, 2018 | President Trump and the first lady welcome trick-or-treaters to the White House for Halloween festivities. (Mike Theiler/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Oct. 23, 2018 | The first lady, right, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos greet students from Digital Pioneers Academy before screening the film “Wonder” with them in the White House movie theater. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Oct. 6, 2018 | The first lady visits the Giza Pyramids during the final stop of her trip through four African countries. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Sept. 18, 2018 | Melania Trump attends a meeting with President Trump and the Polish president in the Oval Office. (Tasos Katopodis/Bloomberg News)
Sept. 11, 2018 | The Trumps hold hands as they walk away from the “Flight Path Overlook” at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Aug. 27, 2018 | Trump greets Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta, outside the Oval Office. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Aug. 24, 2018 | The first lady smiles as she visits the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Aug. 20, 2018 | The first lady attends the federal partners in bullying prevention summit at Health and Human Services in Rockville, Md. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Aug. 19, 2018 | The Trumps and their son Barron walk to Air Force One before departing from Morristown, N.J. for Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
July 24, 2018 | The first lady blows bubbles with 18-month-old patient Elliegh Rasmussen during a visit to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
July 16, 2018 | The first lady looks on as President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. (Alexey Nikolsky/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
July 13, 2018 | Trump and Philip May, the husband of British Prime Minister Theresa May, bowl with children during a visit to British military veterans at a hospital in London. (Luca Bruno/Pool/AP)
July 13, 2018 | The first lady and the president stand with Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Windsor Castle. (Matt Dunham/AP)
July 13, 2018 | The first lady arrives at Prestwick Airport, south of Glasgow, Scotland. (Peter Morrison/AP)
July 12, 2018 | The Trumps are greeted after disembarking from Air Force One at London Stansted Airport in Britain. (Matt Dunham/AP)
July 12, 2018 | The Trumps pose with British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband, Philip, during a ceremonial welcome at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
July 11, 2018 | The first lady arrives with other first ladies for a group photo of NATO heads of state and government at Park Cinquantenaire in Brussels. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
July 10, 2018 | The first lady watches as her husband speaks with the news media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House en route to Europe. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
July 9, 2018 | Trump arrives in the East Room of the White House for the president’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee. (Evan Vucci/AP)
July 4, 2018 | The president and first lady walk arrive to greet guests during a picnic for military families on the South Lawn of the White House for the Fourth of July celebration. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
June 25, 2018 | The Trumps welcome King Abdullah of Jordan and Queen Rania to the White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
June 21, 2018 | The first lady arrives at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland after visiting a shelter for migrant children in McAllen, Tex. The words on her jacket — “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” — created an uproar online. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
June 19, 2018 | The Trumps greet Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia upon their arrival at the White House. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
May 07, 2018 | The first lady arrives to speak about her new Be Best program and initiatives during an event in the Rose Garden. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
April 24, 2018 | The Trumps walk out to the North Portico to greet French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, as the Trumps host a state dinner at the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
April 24, 2018 | The first lady is shown during an arrival ceremony for the French president and his wife at the White House. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
April 18, 2018 | Trump arrives at the Henry Flagler museum in Palm Beach, Fla., for a visit with Akie Abe, wife of the Japanese prime minister. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)
April 17, 2018 | The Trumps Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie, stop to talk to the media as they walk to dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
March 23, 2018 | Trump presents an International Women of Courage Award to L’Malouma Said, of Mauritania, at the State Department. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
March 20, 2018 | Trump arrives for a roundtable discussion on cybersafety and technology with industry experts in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
March 19, 2018 | The president and the first lady walk to Marine One to depart for a trip to New Hampshire. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
March 5, 2018 | The Trumps welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, at the White House. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
Feb. 19, 2018 | President Trump, the first lady and their son, Barron, leave Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Feb. 16, 2018 | The Trumps walk with Igor Nichiporenko during a visit to Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach, Fla., where victims of the school shooting in nearby Parkland were treated. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb. 14, 2018 | The first lady helps Annie Ribas, 9, left, and Katherine Faughn, 6, decorate cookies during her visit to the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Jan. 30, 2018 | Trump receives applause as she enters the House chamber before the State of the Union speech. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
Dec. 31, 2017 | The Trumps arrive for a New Year’s Eve gala at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Dec. 13, 2017 | Trump high-fives the daughter of a military family while sorting toys during a Toys for Tots event at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Dec. 7, 2017 | Trump arrives with patient Damian Contreras and Santa Claus before a reading of “The Polar Express” at Children's National Medical Center in Washington. The tradition of first ladies visiting the medical center dates back over 60 years. (Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)
Nov. 30, 2017 | The Trumps wave to spectators after lighting the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
Nov. 23, 2017 | The Trumps visit members of the U.S. Coast Guard at Station Lake Worth Inlet in Riviera Beach, Fla. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)
Nov. 21, 2017 | Trump listens as the president speaks during the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Nov. 20, 2017 | The first lady and Barron arrive for the presentation of the White House Christmas tree at the North Portico. (Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)
Nov. 10, 2017 | Trump visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
Nov. 9, 2017 | Trump and Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, arrive at a state dinner in honor of President Trump at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Nov. 6, 2017 | Trump and Japan’s first lady, Akie Abe, visit Kyobashi Tsukiji Elementary School in Tokyo. (Ma Ping/Reuters)
Nov. 6, 2017 | The Trumps arrive for an official dinner, thrown in their honor by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Nov. 5, 2017 | Trump spends time with Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo’s posh Ginza district. (David Mareuil/Reuters)
Nov. 4, 2017 | The Trumps emerge from their limousine and are greeted by the news media before departing from Hawaii for a 10-day trip to Asia. (Cindy Ellen Russell/Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser/AP)
Oct. 20, 2017 | Trump and designer Herve Pierre stand with the gown the first lady wore to the inaugural balls as she donates it to the First Ladies' Collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Oct. 11, 2017 | The first lady listens as Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak in the Oval Office. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Oct. 6, 2017 | Trump listens during a Hispanic Heritage Month event in the East Room of the White House. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Oct. 3, 2017 | The first lady stands alongside the president as he speaks to the media before departing the White House for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. (Jim Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Sept. 23, 2017 | The first lady meets with Prince Harry in Toronto. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Sept. 22, 2017 | The first lady works in the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn with children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Sept. 20, 2017 | The first lady addresses other spouses of world leaders on the issue of vulnerable children around the world at a United Nations luncheon in New York. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)
Sept. 19, 2017 | Trump, center, listens as the president speaks to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)
Sept. 15, 2017 | The first lady greets children during a visit to the Joint Base Andrews youth center in Maryland. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Sept. 14, 2017 | The Trumps at the White House Historical Association reception and dinner in the State Dining Room. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)
Aug. 29, 2017 | The Trumps step off Air Force One after arriving in Corpus Christi, Tex. (Charlie Blalock/European Pressphoto Agency)
July 14, 2017 | The Trumps watch the traditional military parade as part of the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. (Julien De Rosa/European Pressphoto Agency)
July 13, 2017 | Trump and Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, attend a welcoming ceremony at the Invalides in Paris. Read: U.S., French first ladies visit Paris, celebrate French style (Charles Platiau/Reuters)
July 8, 2017 | Trump is received by Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz during the Group of 20 summit at the town hall in Hamburg. (Friedemann Vogel/Pool/European Pressphoto Agency)
July 7, 2017 | The Trumps attend a concert at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg. (Lukas Barth/European Pressphoto Agency)
July 6, 2017 | The Trumps arrive at Hamburg Airport for the G-20 summit. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
July 5, 2017 | The first lady walks from the White House to Marine One as she and the president prepare to travel to Poland and Germany. (Susan Walsh/AP)
June 29, 2017 | The Trumps welcome South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, Kim Jeong-Suk, to the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
June 26, 2017 | The first lady attends a meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Win McNamee/Bloomberg News)
June 19, 2017 | Trump and the first lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo Garcia de Varela, stand outside the White House. (Molly Riley/Bloomberg News)
June 17, 2017 | The Trumps and their son, Barron, walk from the White House to board Marine One en route to Camp David in Maryland. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
June 4, 2017 | The first lady applauds as the president speaks at the Ford's Theatre Gala in Washington. (Mike Theiler/Reuters)
May 26, 2017 | Trump arrives at Chierici Palace in Catania, Italy, wearing a Dolce & Gabbana floral coat with multicolored silk flowers. Read: About Melania Trump and that $51,500 jacket she wore in Italy … (Domenico Stinellis/AP)
May 25, 2017 | The first lady visits the Queen Fabiola children's hospital during the NATO summit in Brussels. (Laurie Dieffembacq/AFP/Getty Images)
May 24, 2017 | The first lady arrives with the president at the Melsbroek Air Base in Brussels for the NATO summit. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
May 24, 2017 | Pope Francis meets with the Trumps at the Vatican. The first lady wore a long-sleeved Dolce & Gabbana black dress and a black veil, following a tradition of many first ladies before her to wear black when meeting the pope. Read: Why Melania Trump wore a head covering in Rome but not in Saudi Arabia (Evan Vucci/Pool/Reuters)
May 20, 2017 | King Salman, right, walks with the president and first lady during a welcome ceremony at Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Read: On her first official trip, Melania Trump is dressed for control and containment (Saudi Press Agency/via European Pressphoto Agency)
May 19, 2017 | President Trump and the first lady, wearing a leather Herve Pierre skirt, board Marine One to begin their first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily. Read: On her first official trip, Melania Trump is dressed for control and containment (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
April 6, 2017 | The Trumps stand with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, upon their arrival at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Feb. 11, 2017 | The first lady and Akie Abe, right, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, listen to park administrator Bonnie White Lemay as they tour Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Fla. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)
Feb. 10, 2017 | The Trumps and the Abes step off Air Force One upon arriving in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
April 17, 2017 | The first lady greets children during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Feb. 15, 2017 | The first lady takes her seat before a news conference in the East Room of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
April 5, 2017 | Trump, Queen Rania of Jordan, right, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, center, arrive for their visit to the Excel Academy Public Charter school in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Feb. 3, 2017 | The Trumps arrive at the Palm Beach International airport for a visit to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Jan. 20, 2017 | Trump, wearing a Jackie Kennedy-esque powder-blue Ralph Lauren cashmere dress and cropped jacket, shakes hands with outgoing first lady Michelle Obama during the inauguration at the Capitol in Washington. Read: Beyond fashion: How Melania Trump is modeling herself after Jackie Kennedy (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
Photo Gallery: The former model’s daytime fashion choices often show a businesslike polish.

How does a de facto diplomat recover from such rhetorical carnage?

Related: [There was no pretense about Melania Trump’s heels. But sometimes, a little pretense helps.]

It is a challenge to believe she was interested in the musical prowess of a couple of students at a Belgian music school. Or concerned about strained relationships between longtime allies. Or delighting in the creativity and business acumen of American companies. Or attentive to the protocol of a spouses’ dinner. Or mindful of the historical resonance of a meeting with Prime Minister May. Is she even pleased to be there at all?

For her public appearances in Belgium and England, she filled her wardrobe with designers and brands that speak to the moment in ways that are both respectful and thoughtful. Without saying a word, she has offered a visual tale of international cooperation and collaboration. The question is not whether she is engaging in diplomatic outreach. Of course she is. That is what first ladies do. It is their silent strength.

But if Mrs. Trump doesn’t really care, why should anyone else?

First lady Melania Trump’s public wardrobe was full of symbolism. But if she doesn’t really care, why should you? (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

More from Robin Givhan:

THE FASHION OF POLITICS: Hillary’s pantsuits, Trump’s tailoring, Palin’s sparkles. Why what they wear matters


Robin Givhan is a staff writer and The Washington Post's fashion critic, covering fashion as a business, as a cultural institution and as pure pleasure. A 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism, Givhan has also worked at Newsweek/Daily Beast, Vogue magazine and the Detroit Free Press.

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