Inappropriate Outfits We Can't Believe Melania Trump Wore

Melania Trump caught a lot of flak for some of her fashion choices during her tenure as first lady. Her modeling past was evident, as she always wore her outfits well. However, her expensive taste and focus on looking good may have appeared insensitive to some.

There were times she seemed to confuse airport runways for fashion show runways. Before she jetted off to Puerto Rico to survey the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017, she made sure she was photographed rocking stilettos and a chic ensemble. But when she exited Air Force One, she was wearing a more casual outfit; making critics wonder why she didn't just depart in the more practical look to begin with.

Then there were the occasions when she and her husband were not on the same page regarding his political messaging. In a 2017 Labor Day tweet, Donald Trump crowed about his administration for putting America first. "We are building our future with American hands, American labor, American iron, aluminum and steel," he wrote. But in the picture paired with his message, Melania was wearing a garment that wasn't made in America — Greek designer Mary Katrantzou had produced the white dress with a multicolored grid pattern in Italy. Despite having myriad fashion options at her fingertips, this controversial sartorial decision is just one of many Melania has made.

She stood out at Rosalynn Carter's memorial service

Melania Trump's attire at Rosalynn Carter's memorial service raised a few eyebrows. In 2023, she joined First Lady Jill Biden and the other three living former first ladies — Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Laura Bush — to pay her respects to ex-president Jimmy Carter's late wife. However, some detractors found her behavior disrespectful. When the foursome of presidential spouses walked into Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta together, Melania stuck out like a red MAGA hat at the Democratic National Convention. While the other women were all dressed in black ensembles, Melania opted against wearing the traditional color of mourning. Instead, she had on a gray tweed coat that was nowhere close to being black. 

In photos of the church pews full of mourners, Melania's lighter-colored outfit is embarrassingly conspicuous. "Melania Trump stood out as the only person at Rosalynn Carter's Memorial service who didn't have the decency or good taste to wear black as all the others did," read one of the many tweets criticizing her perplexing outfit decision. There was also speculation that her attention-demanding outerwear was a calculated decision. While Melania took a step back from public life after Americans showed Donald Trump the door, some people suggested that she saw an opportunity to get back in the spotlight and seized it. "See how everybody is talking about her? Yep, that's what she wanted," one Redditor wrote.

Her outfit omission and bold belt

Melania Trump made an ostentatious accessory choice during her first overseas trip as first lady. While enjoying Saudi Arabia's hospitality, she wore a massive gold belt from Saint Laurent. Its buckle was big enough to serve as a picture frame for a Polaroid, and if Donald Trump had gold toilet paper to complement his gold toilet, the python-embossed belt would come close to matching its width. The rest of Melania's outfit consisted of a black Stella McCartney jumpsuit, Christian Louboutin stilettos, and a chunky gold chain necklace.

Some commenters on X, formerly known as Twitter, compared Melania's waist-cincher to a WWE championship belt, and one comedian quipped that she was helping her husband launch a new Trump-branded product. "Melania is promoting the latest Trump fashion: Chastity Belt in Dictator Gold, $99.99. Proven effective against p***ygrabbers of any country," they wrote.

There were also observations that Melania was not adhering to the country's dress code for its female citizens by wearing a head scarf. However, she wasn't actually offending her hosts with her bare hair, as it's a rule foreign visitors aren't expected to follow. There was still one issue with the omission: It made her husband look like a hypocrite. In 2015, Donald tried to shame then-first lady Michelle Obama for making the same choice. "Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf enemies," he tweeted.

She wore fur after attending a PETA fashion show

Melania Trump had something big to celebrate in February 2002: She was featured on the cover of New York magazine's Valentine's Day-themed issue. Alongside a cover line reading, "Love After 9/11," she was pictured sharing a passionate kiss with a firefighter. But Melania didn't spend her Valentine's Day engaged in a fiery romance with a first responder. She was photographed at a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week event with her then-boyfriend, Donald Trump. PETA sponsored the Marc Bouwer show, which had the theme "A Love Affair With Faux."

Alas, Melania Trump's love affair with faux fur was short-lived. The following year, she showed up at a Dennis Basso Furs store opening wearing a fur stole draped over her arms. Huff Post included a photo of the stole in a collection of images showing Melania wearing fur. "Melania is a very beautiful woman. She wears Dennis Basso beautifully," Basso told the Daily Beast in 2016. However, Melania's press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, sent an email to CNN in 2017 saying that Melania was no longer wearing fur, and PETA's senior VP, Dan Matthews, made no mention of her support for Dennis Basso Furs in a statement praising her for seemingly going faux. "Melania first attended a PETA fashion show years ago that featured one of her favorite designers, Marc Bouwer, a longtime PETA supporter who uses no fur ... it's no surprise that she is now fur-free," Matthews said.

Her choice of wedding attire was deemed 'tacky'

The guest list of Tiffany Trump's Mar-a-Lago wedding was sure to raise a few eyebrows. Both of her parents, Marla Maples and Donald Trump, were in attendance, as was her stepmother Melania Trump. However, while it's true that Melania met Donald while he was married to Maples, there was no scandalous affair — Tiffany's parents had separated by then. Proving that she was totally cool with her dad moving on with Melania, Tiffany posed for a wedding photo with her mother standing on one side of her and her stepmother on the other (swipe to the fourth picture of Ivanka's post above to see).

In true Trumpian fashion, some of Tiffany's family members managed to snag the spotlight away from her on her big day. Ivanka Trump caused a stir by editing Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, out of a wedding photo that she posted on Instagram, while Melania's decision to wear a cream-colored dress was decried as inappropriate on social media. Wearing white to a wedding is considered bad etiquette by many, as it can come off as an attempt to upstage the bride. Some netizens thought Melania's gown was in poor taste because its pale hue was close enough to the forbidden color. "She wore this champagne-colored dress so the internet would be all about her & not about Tiffany's gorgeous gown. Melania stole the bride's attention on her wedding day!" one Redditor opined. Another critic wrote, "Oooh, this is tacky!"

She made people care about her unconcerned coat

When Melania Trump toured a Texas detention center for migrant children, she wore a green Zara jacket with the words "I really don't care, do u?" emblazoned on the back. Melania's egregious failure to read the room resulted in this now-infamous fashion statement. Most people had the plight of the children she was visiting on their minds when they saw the jacket, so the assumption was that she was demonstrating her lack of concern for them. "That is callous and unacceptable," read one social media reaction to Melania's style misstep. She'd later tell ABC News that she was thinking not about the kids but about herself, saying that the words were a message "for the left-wing media who are criticizing me."

But according to White House correspondent Katie Rogers, Melania just decided to go along with the whole "fake news" explanation after Donald Trump tweeted it out. In her book "American Woman: The Transformation of the Modern First Lady, from Hillary Clinton to Jill Biden," Rogers says that the intended recipient of the jacket's message was possibly Ivanka Trump. White House officials told Rogers that Melania felt like the first daughter was trying to snatch away some of the media spotlight normally reserved for the first lady alone. But while the stunt certainly got Melania's name in the headlines, how was Ivanka supposed to know that the words on her stepmother's back were a warning to back off?