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Melania Trump quietly has been using her wardrobe to set herself apart from Michelle Obama

First lady Melania Trump has distinguished herself from former first lady Michelle Obama with her wardrobe, and the fashion world has noticed.


While Obama frequently wore sleeveless dresses and tops that showed her tone arms, Trump’s fashion choices include sleeves, the U.K. Daily Mail reported.

“Melania Trump has no jiggles to hide, but I’m heartened by the white Roksana Ilincic dress with bracelet-length sleeves she wore for her convention speech,” columnist Ruth Ann Dailey wrote in The Federalist in February. “Is it too early for hope and change? Because I’m old, cold and slightly flabby. I want my sleeves back.”

Dailey’s observation has proven true over the first year of Trump’s time as first lady.

Although people have both complemented and critiqued her style, her wardrobe choices have stood out.

Daily Mail correspondents gave examples of their favorite Melania Trump looks in a video that accompanied their fashion story, and one responded: “One of my favorite looks was a Gucci dress that she wore to a state dinner. It was absolutely gorgeous. It was Chinese inspired with featured embroidery down the front and back. It had a pretty pink fur trim along the sleeves.”

Her sleeves come in a variety of forms from bell shaped to snug sleeves that go to her elbows and wrists, and from rolled-up sleeves of button down blouses to flutter sleeves to accent dresses.

“If there has been a single defining characteristic of Melania Trump’s public profile over the past year, it has been her relationship with sleeves,” The Washington Post‘s fashion editor Robin Givhan noted.


This fashion choice is more obvious when compared to her predecessor’s sleeveless wardrobe.

Some people, like designer Maria Pinto, praised Obama’s sleeveless look. “The sleeveless sheaths that I encouraged her to wear — it brought sleeveless into a space that was considered more acceptable. News anchors weren’t allowed to wear sleeveless on TV before Michelle,” she told Elle.

Not everyone was a fan, however. When Obama wore a purple sleeveless dress in 2009 during a speech her husband gave to Congress, she caused many to question if showing her arms was inappropriate for a first lady.

“Oh my god. The First Lady has bare arms in Congress, in February, at night!” the editor of Glamour magazine at the time Cindi Leive told The New York Times.

As a former model, Trump has nothing to hide, but she still prefers to wear sleeves.

“Trump’s sleeves are the mark of a fashion aesthete who is willing to cast aside practicality in favor of line, silhouette and proportion,” Givhan wrote.

When her outfits do not include sleeves, the first lady often drapes cardigans over her shoulders instead of putting her arms in them.

“It’s a fashion tic — a styling flourish that allows for layering while ensuring that each layer is visible,” Givhan explained of the fashion choice. “It’s also an impractical style and essentially renders one’s arms useless. But of course that assumes that one will need to do anything remotely physical. No first lady has to.”

While sleeveless was Obama’s signature style, sleeves have become Trump’s. It still remains to be seen whether Trump’s style will inspire a fashion revolution for sleeves to make a comeback.

What do you think?