On Monday, Ivanka Trump attended the Air Traffic Control Reform Initiative briefing in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. The assistant to the president dressed for the workday event in a $35 silky satin dress — from Target.
The black shift with a calla lily printed on the front comes from Victoria Beckham’s collaboration with the retailer and is described as a “chic option for work or the weekend” and the “perfect combination of classic and fashion-forward.” The piece is also currently on clearance for $17.50.
The affordability of the ruffle hem dress prompted many to speculate as to how the first daughter is potentially using fashion to make a political statement. Huffington Post published an article with the headline, “Ivanka Trump Comes Down To Earth In A $35 Dress From Target” and Mercury News surmised it was a synergistic move to promote American-made products (though granted Beckham is a British designer) on the same day the Trump Organization launched a budget-friendly hotel chain with “a patriotic flair” called American Idea.
Business Insider wrote that Ivanka “wearing a Target dress that people could buy for less than $20 could be seen as an effort to appear relatable to the American public.” Branding expert Eric Schiffer, the CEO of Reputation Management Consultants, added, “The dress picture says ‘I don’t necessarily want to be associated or aligned with the Trump administration.” He also noted that “it shows that she is doing things that are asynchronistic, or not connected to [her father’s] actions.” This in particular pertains to her stepmother, with the title saying that “Ivanka Trump’s $35 Target Dress Could Be a Brilliant Political Move to Distance Herself From Melania.”
So what would Ivanka’s motivation be to do so? Well, the off-the-rack Target dress moment comes shortly after Melania Trump made a splash on one of her final days abroad at the G7 Summit in Italy by wearing a $51,500 Dolce & Gabbana jacket. She was highly criticized for the flashy coat and the exorbitant price, which is a little less than the median household income in the United States at $56,500, according to the Census Bureau.
Ivanka herself has been dragged for her pricey wardrobe. In January, she posted a glamorous date night photo with her husband, Jared Kushner, wearing a $5,000 metallic gown that was accused of having “Let them eat cake” overtones.
A post shared by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on Jan 28, 2017 at 9:04pm PST
But, if all this commentary were to be taken as truth, why would Ivanka then change into a couture piece later Monday evening?
— Judy Kurtz (@JudyKurtz) June 6, 2017
At the Lynch Foundation benefit, Ivanka wore a J. Mendel silk organza cocktail dress with cutout floral appliqués that retails for $4,290.
A post shared by White House Wardrobe (@whitehousewardrobe) on Jun 5, 2017 at 6:55pm PDT
Regardless of the potential motive, switching between high and low fashion is actually a common practice for the mother of three. Often she’s spotted pairing pieces from some of her favorite brands such as Altuzarra, Oscar de la Renta, or Carolina Herrera — items that generally cost thousands of dollars — with affordable high heels from her own company. She also wears dresses from her own brand regularly.
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