When first lady Melania Trump stepped out with her husband to board the helicopter to Air Force One and then Texas on Tuesday, she was wearing stiletto heels, plus a bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses. You may have seen the photo and briefly admired the shoes or perhaps wondered at the wisdom of wearing heels to survey damage from a hurricane, as she and President Trump were on their way to do.
Robin Givhan, fashion critic at The Washington Post, wrote an 820-word analysisof the first lady’s choice of footwear. “Melania Trump is the kind of woman who travels to a flood-ravaged state in a pair of black snakeskin stilettos,” she began. “She looked great,” presenting “an image that would have been at home in any fashion magazine, which is so often the case with the first lady. She knows fashion. She knows her angles.” But, Givhan continued:
It was also an image that suggested that Trump is the kind of woman who refuses to pretend that her feet will, at any point, ever be immersed in cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water. She is the kind of woman who may listen empathetically to your pain, but she knows that you know that she is not going to experience it. So why pretend? Well, sometimes pretense is everything. It’s the reason for the first lady to go to Texas at all: to symbolize care and concern and camaraderie. To remind people that the government isn’t merely doing its job, that the government is engaged with each and every individual. Washington hears its citizens. That’s what the optics are all about. Sitting around a conference table and talking into a speaker phone are not good optics.