Trump family’s ‘garish and superficial’ U.K. outfits, explained

U.S. President Donald Trump and his family spent the last few days in the U.K., visiting Buckingham Palace, dining with the Royal Family and wearing lots of fancy outfits.

While the official state visit wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon, America’s first family made an impression with their wardrobe choices.

Social media erupted with remarks about the Trump family, some celebrating Melania’s hats while others asked why the president doesn’t have a nicely tailored suit.

“In truth, the British press is going to be critical of the Trumps’ ensembles no matter what, given their lack of political popularity in the U.K.,” said Rebecca Halliday, a lecturer at Ryerson University’s School of Fashion.

“[But] what we see in the Trump family is a display of wealth that is often opulent and garish and superficial.”

Here are some of the most talked-about outfits worn by members of the Trump family and how they were received.

Trump’s white-tie look

What he wore: A white waistcoat with matching white bow tie under a black tailcoat.

Where he wore it: Trump donned the look at the Queen’s formal state banquet, which was hosted at Buckingham Palace on June 3.

Social reaction:

Many people took to Twitter to comment that the president’s suit was ill-fitting and poorly tailored.

Bette Midler tweeted that the suit’s proportions were so bad Trump’s tailor should be fired.

Others said Trump looked like “the butler.”

Cultural context: 

When the royals host state banquets, a “white-tie decorations” dress code is mandatory.

“The white-tie dress code is used for the most formal state dinners and affairs,” Halliday said.

“For men, [this is] centred around the wearing of the white waistcoat and bowtie with the tailcoat over top — and this seems to be the area that Trump has problems with.”

Halliday says that a waistcoat should fit snug at the waist but not be too tight.

“Trump’s seems a bit too snug,” she said.

“His tailcoat is too short in the front and doesn’t cover the waistcoat enough, which accentuates his stomach.”

GQ agreed and pointed out that Trump’s waistcoat was too long for this black tailcoat.

While people have been commenting on Trump’s ill-fitting suit, Halliday says it’s important to not let his style choices distract from his politics.

“We shouldn’t look at criticism of politicians’ fashion choices as a distraction from ‘real’ political issues but should read them as a reflection of politicians’ social values,” she explained.

“The Trump family’s opulent fashion choices on their U.K. visit should also be read alongside the Trump administration’s callous decisions back home.”

Melania’s landing outfit and matching hat

What she wore: A custom white dress from Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana paired with a custom hat made by designer Hervé Pierre.

Where she wore it: Melania sported the white ensemble on June 3 when landing at Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen.

Social reaction: 

Some said Melania’s outfit looked like it was inspired by Audrey Hepburn’s character in My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney girl who tries to fit in with high society.

Others compared her look to an outfit from the 1980s show Dynastywith the Cut drawing reference to Joan Collins.

Cultural context:

The Royal Family often sport fancy hats, and as Vanity Fair points out, Melania’s hat may signal that she is adopting the tradition.

“There seems to be an attempt to select and emulate specific upper-class notions of Britishness and British dress in the most expensive manner possible,” Halliday said, highlighting the fact Melania also wore an expensive Gucci shirtdress as she headed to London.

The silk dress was covered with images of Tower Bridge, Big Ben and double-decker buses. (The first lady has been criticized in the past for matching her wardrobe to her travel schedule.)

Ivanka’s white-tie dress

What she wore: A blue Carolina Herrera gown with three-quarter-length sleeves and “floral sparkle embroidery.” The dress currently retails for US$10,990.

Where she wore it: Ivanka wore the dress to the state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Social reaction:

Some people on Twitter said Ivanka’s outfit was too casual and not white-tie.

Cultural context:

For white-tie events, women wear floor-length dresses, ideally ballgowns, Halliday says. Ivanka’s dress does not convey the right formal tone.

“While Ivanka dress is from a noted American designer who has dressed several important political women — and is floor-length — the fact that it seems to be cotton and has buttons lends to an odd shirtdress appearance, which comes off as too informal,” she explained.

Elle UK points out that women often wear dresses with a fitted bodice and full skirt.

“Traditionally, long gloves have been worn, however, this is not seen as essential at modern white-tie events,” the outlet adds.

Ivanka’s belted skirt suit and fascinator

What she wore: A white, pleated knee-length skirt with a white jacket cinched at the waist with a bedazzled belt. Ivanka completed the outfit with a fascinator.

Where she wore it: Ivanka wore this outfit on June 3, the first day of the state visit. She was spotted watching her father and stepmother greet members of the Royal Family through a window of Buckingham Palace in the outfit and later added her hat for a visit to Westminster Abbey.

Social reaction:

People mocked Ivanka’s fascinator, while others accused her of unsuccessfully copying Meghan Markle‘s style.

Cultural context:

Fascinators and decorative hats are staples of British royal culture, as they are common at formal events and weddings.

The conservative nature of her outfit is likely out of respect for royal dressing customs, as women often wear skirts or dresses that hit the knee. Still, Halliday says Ivanka’s outfits may miss the mark.

“Even Ivanka’s more appropriate and contemporary British looks are still not well received by fashion critics because she comes off as even more as classist and distant,” she said.

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