I caught my first glimpse of Melania’s outfit soon after she and President Trump arrived at Buckingham Palace, kicking off their 2019 state visit.
“Did you see the footage of Trump and Melania visiting Buckingham Palace?!” ran my text to a friend. “I love Melania’s hat!”
Checking it out for herself, my friend sent back, “I like her whole outfit!” Indeed, it was a classic fashion choice reminiscent of the Edwardian period, capable of measuring up to the proper fashion standards the English Royals commonly exhibit.
But my friend and I weren’t the only ones drooling over Melania’s outfit. Many noted how her dress and hat seemed a nod to some of Princess Diana’s fashions or Audrey Hepburn’s iconic look in “My Fair Lady.” And while there appeared to be a few backhanded snickers over these points, Melania’s outfit met with much the same approval as my friend and I originally gave it.
Which made me stop and think. Why is it that people from all walks of life, political persuasions, and ideologies tend to look at Melania’s outfit and give it general respect and approval? Is there something about certain types of dress that transcend our disagreements and opinions of someone and instead fill us with respect for them?
Quite possibly. Melania’s eye-catching outfit is a classic through and through, and according to Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, author of You Are What You Wear, classic clothes tend to “project a positive image.” Speaking to Forbes Baumgartner says:
With classics, history has done the work for you. It has lasted throughout time, so you already know it works…. [Classic clothing] has multiple functions, and it's appropriate for different age ranges and body types. It became a classic because it works no matter who you are.
But Melania’s classic clothes signal more than a time-tested outfit that fits any occasion. They signal dignity, respect, and grace.
We live in a time when almost every individual craves these qualities. We want to be treated with dignity. We want others to respect us. And while we may not always think of it, those who have the ability to present themselves with grace through a calm, composed, and considerate manner are often those we most admire.
Yet even while we crave dignity and respect, do our actions show that we desire the opposite?
Consider our clothes. Many of us love to be comfortable and run around in casual jeans and baggy t-shirts emblazoned with snarky sayings. Still others prefer to run to the store in their pajamas, with little care as to who sees them or what impression they might be making.
Such attire is all well and fine, but if we want to indulge in it, then shouldn’t we be prepared to receive the same measure of respect and dignity that such clothes inspire? And if we don’t want to be treated with a lower level of respect, then perhaps more of us should take a cue from Melania and her dignified, classic attire.
[Image Credit: Twitter-Clarence House]
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.