Both Republican and Democratic women stuck to separate dress codes during President Trump’s first State of the Union Address, but it seems Ivanka Trump tried to play both sides in her Oscar de la Renta dress. Meanwhile, Melania Trump remained as enigmatic as ever by playing by her own rules.
In an effort spearheaded by the Democratic Women’s Working Group, female Democratic lawmakers decided to don all black to the event in a show of support with victims of sexual assault and harassment echoing a similar show of support organized by Hollywood stars earlier this month at the Golden Globes. Several member also wore Time’s Up pins, and brought victims of sexual violence along as their plus ones. Notably, Ivanka Trump, who was a registered Democrat until her father’s political ambitions became known and used to hobknow with what the Trump base may call “liberal elite,” had previously shown support for the Time’s Up movement on Twitter to mixed reaction.
Meanwhile, a group of Republican female congresswomen got together in an e-mail chain and decided to enact a dress code of their own: red, white and blue. According to USA Today, the effort was meant “to show [their] support for the flag, and the country and the troops and to be a contrast.” It previously reported that at least one member of the house, Republican Congresswoman Susan Brooks of Indiana, planed to do both by wearing a red jacket over a black dress. It would appear however that she was joined in her duel fashion statement by the President’s daughter.
Ivanka chose de la Renta, a traditional favorite of Washington wives on both sides of the aisle. The asymmetrical dress featured a red, white, and blue plaid grid over a black background. It was the sartorial equivelant of this Tweet following the Golden Globes:
Meanwhile, First Lady Melania Trump apparently went her own way with an ivory power suit, ignoring both dress code statements of the night. Though, some have tried to divine political messages from Mrs. Trump’s wardrobe ever since she (perhaps coincidentally) wore a pussy bow blouse to a debate during the general election, they’ve often been disappointed. Even her de fact stylist Herve Pierre has publicly tried to downplay the idea that there is ever any secret message in her clothing choice. “Sometimes it’s not that complicated,” he once told WWD. “This is a quote from Mrs. [Carolina] Herrera–‘Fashion is to please your eye.’ If you start to intellectualize everything, it’s hard.”
Though, there has been on consistent in Mrs. Trump’s First Lady wardrobe: when it comes to her closet, she puts Europe first despite longstanding bipartisan tradition and her husband’s own America First rhetoric. She wore a Dior pantsuit with a Dolce & Gabbana shirt and Christian Louboutin shoes. Even then it may be hard to find any deeper message. While Dior has embraced strong feminist messages in recent runway shows, the designers behind Dolce & Gabbana have likewise maintained a firm stance against political correctness and made said that sexual harassment is “not violence.”
*This post has been updated.