Opinion: Thoughts on Melania Trump’s jacket controversy

Alexandra Tinline headshot

Alexandra Tinline

If you look at a person’s closet, it usually says a lot about them.  Mine would come across as the dysfunctional style of a lazy 12-year-old boy crossed with middle age suburban mom. Try imagining that.

People use clothes as a way to express themselves.  Kent being home to one of the best fashion schools in the world, you see every style imaginable walking proudly around campus. Some students even use their clothing as a way to express political views. From Black Lives Matter shirts to Make America Great Again hats, the whole ideology spectrum is represented in students’ clothing.

The intersection between politics and fashion is such an interesting topic. Fashion has become something of a controversy in recent years. People thought that the worst, most offensive and disrespectful thing someone in office could have worn was President Obama’s tan suit, in 2014. Boy, weren’t they wrong?

Instead of people reacting to the information being shared at the occasion, regarding national security, the internet was freaking out about the color of a suit. I know, right? Such a scandal! How dare he wear such unprofessional attire in public? Now, let’s flash forward four years.

First Lady Melania Trump has been heavily criticized and praised around the country for her fashion moments during Trump’s administration.  This past week, while visiting two detention centers containing undocumented immigrant children on the border of Texas, the first lady made yet another fashion statement. Melania wore a jacket with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE. DO YOU?”

That seems insensitive to be wearing to a facility that has caused much controversy and hate directed towards your husband, who is already being criticized by not only the country but the world for his policies and treatment of immigrants.

The $39 Zara jacket, which looks like a Forever 21 meme, was confirmed to be her outfit of choice by her spokeswoman stating to CNN’s Jim Acosta. “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.”

I am sure Melania’s mother told her the same thing my mother told me growing up: The first thing a person judges you on when you walk in for an interview is the clothes you are wearing.

Just like the tan suit controversy of 2014, Twitter has stayed divided on the “jacket scandal.” President Trump tweeted that the words written on the back of Melania’s jacket referred to the “Fake News Media”. “Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares,” he said.

Regardless of what she was referring to, someone should’ve told Melania not to wear to an undocumented children detention center. Even if she doesn’t know better, someone in the office should.

Alexandra Tinline is an opinion columnist. Reach her at [email protected]