Melania Trump Clothing and Style on Her Tour of Africa

“I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear,” First Lady Melania Trump lamented on the final day of her solo four-country trip to Africa, which took her last week to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt. She was reacting to criticism of the pith helmet she had worn earlier in Kenya.

It’s a sentiment any serious person would sympathize with—but it was difficult to honor her wish. The objectives of her trip weren’t clearly defined, and some of her clothes were, well, distracting.

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It was not clothing, but costume. And costume always attracts attention, invites interpretation, and sends its own message.

Take the pith helmet. That’s a hat with a history. It was widely worn by European colonial armies in Africa and…

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