Presidential Family Members' Most Inappropriate Outfits

Inappropriate outfits worn by presidential family members is a popular topic of conversation. The fashion choices of the first family have always been intensely examined by the public — see, for instance, The New York Times and The Washington PostFor many Americans, the presidential family serves as a symbol of national ideals. Needless to say, any representatives of the nation should always look the part, right? Representing an entire country with your fashion is a pretty big responsibility, and the burden of this responsibility is pretty clear when you take a look at some of the reactions to the first family's most inappropriate outfits over the years. It seems that the public really can't stand it when the presidential family wears the wrong thing!

When the first family makes a fashion faux pas, just about everyone has something to say about it, whether they're a member of the media or they're just some guy on Twitter. From the Trumps to the Obamas to the Clintons, the White House has definitely seen its share of inappropriate clothes! Keep reading to discover some of the worst ever outfits worn by members of a president's family.

This Zara jacket was a seriously questionable choice for a presidential family member

While she is sometimes heralded as a fashion icon, Melania Trump has also received her fair share of fashion criticism since her husband was elected president in 2016. In 2019, The Guardian wrote an entire piece that ridiculed her somewhat goofy "literal" holiday outfits that often had printed images of her travel destination. But one of her most controversial outfits to date was the infamously insensitive Zara jacket that she wore to visit a border detention center for migrant children in Texas in 2018. The jacket had the words "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?" printed on the back. Needless to say, many thought this statement was inappropriate given the nature of her visit. As Harper's Bazaar noted, the outfit was slammed as being "horrifically tone deaf" and "hugely insensitive."

In an interview with ABC News, Melania Trump claimed that the message on the jacket was in fact "for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me." While she went on to assert that she "didn't wear the jacket for the children," it's pretty clear that the jacket still made for a totally inappropriate outfit worn by a presidential family member.

Presidential family member Ivanka Trump wore a collared dress to Buckingham Palace

The first lady isn't the only presidential family member to make the occasional fashion faux pas. President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump has also made a few unpopular fashion choices since her father took office. One infamous example was the dress she wore to a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in June 2019. Anyone who follows the British royals will know that dress codes are pretty strict and specific at the palace, but, as reported by Yahoo! Lifestyle, Ivanka chose to wear a collared dress for a white tie banquet. And as it turned out, many thought this outfit was a bit too casual for a strictly formal event, rendering it an inappropriate outfit.

One critical Twitter user wrote, "Ivanka's dress gives the impression of a '50s housewife or secretary... does not appear to be appropriate for the occasion." Another person took to Twitter to mock the dress, saying, "Ivanka looks like she's wearing a denim dress that she personally bedazzled." Sounds like Ivanka Trump seriously missed the mark with her dress on this occasion! 

Melania Trump wore stilettos to a hurricane disaster zone

Melania Trump has had her fair share of fashion mishaps. In another case of inappropriate dressing, this presidential family member chose some highly controversial shoes that seemed inappropriate given the situation in August 2017. She wore a pair of ultra high heels to head to a Hurricane Harvey disaster zone, and her fashion choice for the trip had the internet in total uproar. One Twitter user mocked Trump, writing, "Petition to buy Melania some kind of Skechers or something."

Even though Trump changed into a pair of more sensible tennis shoes before stepping off the plane, it's safe to say that the first lady isn't always dressed appropriately for every occasion. As The New York Times put it, Melania Trump's high heels were "redolent of a certain clichéd kind of femininity: decorative, impractical, expensive, elitist." No wonder some people felt that they were the wrong choice!

Hillary Clinton didn't get the fashion memo at this photo op

The Trumps aren't the only presidential family members to make a few serious fashion errors. As it turns out, Hillary Clinton, first lady to President Bill Clinton and later Secretary of State, wore some pretty questionable outfits too. One such mistake came in 2012 when Clinton showed up to the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico when she wore a truly stand-out top. She donned lime green to the event, only to find that every other person was wearing plain white, as reported by Glamour.

Needless to say, the resulting photos at the summit show Hillary Clinton sticking out like a sore (lime green) thumb. While some people would undoubtedly be embarrassed to be seen wearing the wrong thing, Clinton didn't seem to mind her obvious inappropriate outfit — she even seemed to find it pretty hilarious judging by photos of the event!

Even former presidential family member Michelle Obama regretted her choice to wear shorts

While Michelle Obama is generally considered to be something of a style icon, even she has made fashion blunders during her stunning transformation. One such mistake came when she sported a pair of shorts while on holiday to the Grand Canyon in 2009. The decision to bare her legs caused quite a stir in the media, with some claiming her choice to be an inappropriate outfit for a presidential family member and others praising her for the relatable, practical outfit, as explained by Today. According to Robin Givhan, a fashion editor at The Washington Post, the shorts were probably too informal for the occasion. Givhan said that Obama "stepping off Air Force One makes it an 'official' photo," so the moment "should, perhaps, be considered a more formal moment."

In 2013, Obama recalled the fashion faux pas during an interview on BET's 106 & Park (via Today). Apparently, the first lady later regretted the decision, saying that it caused "a huge stink." While there would normally be nothing wrong with wearing shorts on vacation, Obama's blunder and the "huge stink" that followed made it clear that members of the presidential family need to think twice about every garment they wear.

Melania Trump, the president's wife, wore a see-through dress on the Fourth of July

In a 2019 fashion blunder, Melania Trump wore a white dress to the White House Fourth of July celebration. Unfortunately, she appeared to reveal a little more than she intended when it started to rain. Many people on the internet noticed that it became see-through in the rain — and Trump didn't seem to be wearing a bra underneath her Caroline Herrera-designed dress, according to Express.

People were quick to mock the presidential family member for the wet weather wardrobe malfunction. One user wryly said, "Our 'classy' FLOTUS letting the girls out for the night." Another Twitter user said, "No woman would wear all white like Melania did, unless intending an imitation of wet T-shirt night." This wardrobe mishap was definitely one of Trump's most embarrassing to date — nevertheless, it's a good reminder to all of us that we may want to make wardrobe preparations for unexpected showers!

Did Ivanka Trump wear a bathrobe to a childcare facility?

Ivanka Trump had a fashion faux pas in 2019 when she selected an oddly designed dress for her visit to Guadalupe Center's childcare facility, causing many on the internet to make fun of her choice. According to many Twitter users, the dress bore a striking resemblance to an expensive white bathrobe! One Twitter user even joked, "Is she having a sleepover with these kids?" (via Express).

Trump posted some images of herself on Instagram, showing the dress many deemed to be an inappropriate outfit for a presidential family member. But she didn't respond to people criticizing her look.

Still, just looking at her ensemble, it's easy to see why people might have thought that this dress was a bizarre choice, especially for such a serious, formal event. With its simple v-shaped neckline, baggy sleeves, and robe-style waist tie, it does look a lot like something you'd find handing on the door of a hotel bathroom.

Hillary Clinton defied tradition and controversially wore a pantsuit in her White House portrait

Hillary Clinton exhibited some rebellious fashion in her official White House portrait that was revealed in 2004. In the painting, the first lady is seen wearing a pantsuit. As CNN reported, the outfit was highly controversial — and by extension, considered inappropriate for a presidential family member by many — at the time. Up until this point in history, the first lady was always painted in "cream-colored gowns, strings of pearls and periwinkle skirts." It's easy to see how Clinton's jet black pantsuit must have raised some eyebrows.

CNN explained how Hillary Clinton's unusual outfit was actually a loaded political statement about how the first lady was always committed to playing a meaningful role during her husband's administration. While her White House pantsuit portrait may have been controversial at the time, it was undoubtedly a symbol of some serious girl power!

Eleanor Rosalynn Carter was accused of recycling her outfits

The wife of President Jimmy Carter, Eleanor Rosalynn Carter, had a few fashion mishaps of her own while she served as the first lady from 1977 to 1981. One of the main talking points about Carter's wardrobe was her propensity to recycle certain outfits, wearing them over and over again. Presidential family members' fashion choices can be a way of making subtle statements, whether intentional or not. And Carter's habit of recycling clothes sent a statement that many thought was inappropriately frugal. As such, the habit caused a fair amount of ridicule from the public. 

One of the most famous instances of Carter re-wearing an outfit came at the very beginning of her stint in the White House. In 1977, Carter announced that she would wear a gold and blue dress to the inaugural ball. However, as it turned out, she had worn this dress not once, but twice before. According to Time, the decision was not met kindly by some members of the public. Some people reportedly thought it was a highly inappropriate choice as she would be missing a chance to "champion the American fashion industry."

Michelle Obama infamously wore a sleeveless dress, causing total "uproar"

At the very beginning of her husband's first term in office, Michelle Obama revealed her first official photo in the White House, as ABC News reported, and it became a source of controversy because she chose to bare her arms in a sleeveless dress. Malia and Sasha's mother had actually worn sleeveless dresses before this particular portrait. Wendy Donahue, a style reporter from the Chicago Tribune, explained how many members of the public had complained about Obama's bare arms. She recalled one reader's thoughts on the fashion choice. "She talked about how the season is winter, the occasion was business and a sleeveless dress was the wrong style at the wrong time," Donahue said.

While Michelle Obama's bare arms were initially a source of controversy, eventually they became part of her signature look... and probably made a lot of admirers wonder just what Michelle Obama eats in a day. It just goes to show that some outfit choices that are initially considered inappropriate for a presidential family member might actually be a sign of a forward-thinking first lady!

Hillary Clinton was ridiculed for wearing a scrunchie

Sometimes, even a small accessory can be a huge fashion statement. Take, for instance, a scrunchie. Most people think of '80s workout videos when they think of this type of hair tie. However, as it turns out, Hillary Clinton decided to wear this informal accessory on an official visit to Spain in 2011, as reported by HuffPost. At the time, the publication was seemingly in disbelief that she would choose a scrunchie as her hair elastic of choice. 

Notably, this wasn't the only time Clinton was seen in a scrunchie. She reportedly wore a scrunchie at the UN, and, according to The Guardian, one paper used the headline, "Hillary in UN hair fail." Apparently, Clinton even joked about calling her memoir "The Scrunchie Chronicles" because her favorite hair accessory had become a source of ridicule over the years.

Even though Clinton's fashion choice was constantly written about at the time, it ended up becoming a sort of feminist accessory. In 2015, the scrunchie brand Hillary's Scrunchies, dedicated to the former first lady, was launched, selling scrunchies with the presidential family member's face printed on them, as reported by Refinery29.

Melania Trump's expensive UN speech outfit was pretty insensitive

Melania Trump's inappropriate outfits continued into 2017, when the first lady came under fire for her over-the-top outfit during a speech at the UN. The look in question was an eye-catching, fuchsia Delpozo number worth $2,950, according to Marie Claire. The clothing choice likely wouldn't have caused a stir if it were not for the sensitive subject matter in Trump's speech about child poverty. Many people thought that wearing something so expensive for that moment was insensitive. One Twitter user tweeted a video of the speech with the hashtags "#hypocrisy" and "#letthemeeatcake," suggesting that the presidential family member's speech was insincere.

Other Twitter users took issue with the design itself. For instance, it was compared to a "pink Snuggie" by one user and a "pink parachute" by another. We think it's safe to say that this outfit probably wasn't the best choice, especially for such a serious event.

President's daughter Ivanka Trump wore a super lavish gown in the middle of a serious immigration controversy

Ivanka Trump doesn't always get her fashion choices right, leading many to consider some of her looks inappropriate for a presidential family member to wear. In 2017, she tweeted a photo of herself wearing a $5,000 designer dress, as reported by The Telegraph — in the middle of a refugee controversy.

At the time, President Donald Trump was in the midst of enforcing an immigration policy that separated parents from their children, as explained by People. Being the first daughter, Ivanka is expected to have a little more awareness about the political climate. As such, her outfit caused a fair amount of outrage on social media. One Twitter user even compared her dress to a child in a foil blanket. To highlight the insensitivity of wearing such an expensive dress during a crisis, that person asked, "Who wore it better?" It's pretty clear that Ivanka Trump's timing was off on this one!

Melania Trump wore a controversial pith helmet in Africa

In one of her most inappropriate outfit choices, Melania Trump chose to wear a pith helmet while visiting Africa. This seriously problematic fashion statement did more than just turn some heads. Publications like The Guardian and the The New York Times wrote about the shocking outfit, and it's clear that the headwear was impossible to ignore.

What make this an inappropriate outfit for a presidential family member comes from the history of the pith helmet. The Conversation explained that the helmet harkens back to a colonial tradition of white safari tourists visiting Africa to take part in poaching, trophy hunting, and exploitation. "Melania Trump's pith helmet was never just a hat to keep off the sun," The Conversation claimed. "It is a symbol of how race and colonialism ghosts shape the African landscape when it comes to safari, poaching and trophy hunting." 

Matthew Carotenuto, an African Studies coordinator from St. Lawrence University, took to Twitter to further explain the issue. "It's like showing up to a meeting of African American cotton farmers in a Confederate uniform," he wrote.