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The “Bold Type” Theory of Melania’s Jacket

“Pay attention to the woman behind the clothes,” one (fictional TV) editor warns

Melania Trump’s jacket has got me thinking. There’s an episode of The Bold Type—a complete televisual confection about three young women who work at a women’s magazine—called “The Woman Behind the Clothes.”

“Do you have a go-to power outfit?” fictional Jane asks a fictional and deeply badly dressed Congresswoman. Our heroine is a young reporter whose defining characteristic is an inexhaustible supply of pluck.

“We all see what Hillary went through,” the Congresswoman laments of the high-stakes fashion choices of women in power. When Jane follows up with a question concerning an oil pipeline vote, the horrendously gaudy Congresswoman abruptly pulls the plug on the interview. “That’s a Mother Jones question,” she says.

But belittled Jane notices that the Congresswoman’s ghastly sartorial choices get extra ghastly when she wants to deflect attention from a controversial policy move. She dresses like a kelly green “walking popsicle” on the day she votes to roll back the Clean Water Act. To make a speech about Keystone, she dresses like a fuddy-duddy at Royal Ascot.

“How can I use fashion to my advantage?” Jane recalls the Congresswoman saying in their first brief interview.

There’s a theory, even among those in the press that cover her, that everything Melania Trump does and wears is on purpose. That white hat? We talked about it. That $51,500 jacket? We talked about it. That “I really don’t care do u?” jacket? We’re still talking about it.

And so I ask what is more likely: That millionaire clotheshorse Melania Trump ran out of designer capes at the critical moment and was forced to borrow a Zara novelty anorak off a passing intern on a 83 degree Washington day?

Or that her communications director Stephanie Grisham doesn’t watch the Bold Type, cable’s most watchable critique of the very same “Fake News Media” President Trump claims his wife’s jacket decries?

I honestly have no idea.

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Staff writer

Amanda joined Washingtonian in January 2016. She has written about Maryland brewery Flying Dog’s First Amendment fight, pored over Hillary Clinton’s emails, and come clean about owning too much stuff. She lives on H Street.