Melania Trump's Fashion Causes A Stir At Rosalynn Carter Memorial Service

Melania Trump has a penchant for serving looks with a side of controversy. Who could forget her infamous "I Really Don't Care" jacket? Well, the former first lady has done it again, and plenty of folks can't help but scratch their heads. On November 19, 2023, former first lady Rosalynn Carter died at 96 years old. A three-day memorial service was held starting on November 27, and of course, many major political figures attended to pay their respects. On November 28, Melania was seated in the front row at Carter's service alongside her fellow former first ladies, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush, but she managed to stand out in the crowd — and not in a good way.

You don't have to be a fashion expert or a public figure to know about a few outfit rules that should never be broken unless otherwise stated. You should never wear white to a wedding, and you should always wear dark colors to a funeral. For a high-profile, formal service like Carter's, wearing all-black is the safest bet — especially for someone who's going to be seated front and center. That said, the light-colored suit that Melania donned as she sat in the front row ensured that all eyes were on her, and many folks on X, formerly known as Twitter, have taken note of her seemingly offensive fashion faux pas.

Melania Trump's odd outfit choice instantly went viral

While looking at the sea of black attire at photos of Rosalynn Carter's memorial service, it's difficult to keep one's eye from going straight to Melania Trump. She was seated on the aisle of the front row in an ensemble that looked to be light grey or possibly even white. The row of political powerhouses next to her included Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary and Bill Clinton, and Jill and Joe Biden, all of whom sported somber black suits. A few other folks seated sporadically throughout the church wore bright colors. Unfortunately, Melania's prominent position as Carter's fellow former first lady, as well as her positioning at the front of the room, ensured that her inappropriate outfit choice stole the show at the worst of times.

In the hours that followed the event, plenty of folks took to social media to condemn Melania's ensemble or question her strange choice. "Everyone, for the most part, respectfully wearing black; Melania, however, looks as if she dropped in before going grocery shopping," said one X user. Another drew parallels between Melania's clothing choice and her position in the political world, tweeting, "Melania Trump doesn't wear black to First Lady Rosalyn Carter's service and looks down. Forever out of place." Regardless of your take on the ensemble itself, we can all agree on one thing: Melania should have opted for something else she had in her closet. 

Dark gray is an acceptable choice for a memorial service

Despite going viral for her seemingly out-of-place fashion choice for a memorial service, Melania Trump's gray coat wasn't all that inappropriate, according to etiquette expert Diane Gottsman. As the founder of The Protocol School of Texas explained to Newsweek, "It would be a different story if Melania Trump wore hot pink or bright red, but rather she chose a somber gray, which is a perfectly acceptable color for funerals." Gottsman noted that gray, in this instance, is a color symbolizing respect and is a fairly traditional choice for such an event.

Even the royal family is allowed to wear dark gray at funerals and memorial services, and they need to follow a strict dress code. Contrary to popular opinion, wearing black to honor someone who's passed away isn't obligatory. Daniel Post Senning, another etiquette expert, clarified to HuffPost that the key is to wear darker hues to convey a sense of mourning for the deceased. "You want to honor the spirit of the event," he explained. If there is an expectation for attendees to wear black, Senning noted that the family will provide that information.

While it's unclear if Melania wore a black outfit underneath her tweed coat, she did complement the look with matching, pointy black pumps and leather gloves, reflecting a respectful and understated ensemble.