On Tuesday night, the White House Rose Garden was Melania Trump’s runway.
For her speech on day two of the Republican National Convention, the First Lady wore a $2,450 tight-fitting green military jacket by the British designer Alexander McQueen, which she paired with a matching pencil skirt ($890) and cinched at the waist with a thick belt. Observers immediately compared her outfit to a Girl Scouts uniform or that of Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter, but standing at the podium in front of a wall of American flags, the message she seemed to be sending was much more sinister.
Green military jackets are not a new fashion item. If this look was worn by someone else in a different context, it would likely not be cause for alarm. (And McQueen likely did not predict it landing at the RNC.) But because this is Melania Trump we’re talking about — someone whose clothes often speak for her — and because she chose to wear this look to a convention with a particularly loud “fascist timbre,” it’s hard not to read the look as dictator cosplay.
Who knows what she was thinking; maybe she just thought it looked good. Melania may not have screamed into the void the way her stepson’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle did — in fact, her tone and words were comparatively modest — but her outfit spoke volumes, and the effect was just as frightening.