The 30 Most Controversial First Lady Fashion Moments in History

Heels are always a great choice for a natural disaster.

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Hillary Clinton was criticized for her fashion choices long before she became a presidential candidate, but Melania Trump is currently winning the tally for how many times she can make the public question her outfits. Here, all the first lady fashion moments that have ruffled feathers over the years.

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Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama wore shorts on a trip to the Grand Canyon with her family in 2009, and it caused a complete uproar. People thought it was "inappropriate" and questioned whether it was right for her to bare her legs. Obama admits it was one of her biggest fashion regrets because it "created a huge stink."

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Melania Trump

Ah, the infamous pussy-bow blouse (yes, that's the real name). Melania chose to wear the $1,100 top just days after a video surfaced of her husband stating in a conversation with Billy Bush, "When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy.” One of the first of many eyebrow-raising fashion choices made by the first lady.

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Mary Todd Lincoln

1861 ball gowns, but make it fashun. Abraham Lincoln's wife Mary Todd was often criticized by the public for her ball gown purchases during the Civil War, which would cost upward of $2,000 (yes, that is a lot for the time period).

Lincoln would defend her by stating, "The President glances at my rich dresses and is happy to believe that the few hundred dollars that I obtain from him supply all my wants." Same.

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Melania Trump

For the G7 economic summit in Italy back in May 2017, the first lady thought it was fitting to wear a $51,000 Dolce & Gabbana coat. Dolce & Gabbana decided to fire back at Melania Trump "haters" by designing $245 #BoycottDolceandGabbana shirts. So, uh, yeah.

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Melania Trump

Melania opted for a pair of Gucci sunnies while visiting Arlington National Cemetery, and Twitter was definitely not pleased. The American people saw them as a sign of disrespect (from the size of the sunglasses to the actual sunglasses themselves).

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Melania Trump

Back in August, Melania Trump went to visit Hurricane Harvey victims in heels and the internet lost it.

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Melania Trump

Stilettos don't exactly scream, "I'm here to help." The first lady's footwear ended up distracting from the issue at-hand: the devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.

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Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's pantsuits have been a running joke since her days in the White House with former President Bill Clinton. There's still a handful of people who make fun of her appearance—including Donald Trump.

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Michelle Obama

Despite her major style evolution throughout her eight years in office, Michelle Obama's first fashion statement on stage at the 2008 election gathering had the public buzzing. Would this be a preview of her style in the White House? Will she *always* wear three-quarter sleeve dresses? Will she *always* smile this big?

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Melania Trump

There's always conversation about who will dress the first lady on inauguration day, but Trump didn't seem to have too many designers lining up for her last year. The first lady ended up wearing a Ralph Lauren dress, and the fashion community had a lot to say about it—specifically designers like Zac Posen who refused to dress her. There had also been a lot of comparison to Jackie O's style, and how Trump would compare to the iconic first lady.

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Melania Trump

The is the first time Melania Trump wore *that* Ralph Lauren Collection shirtdress abroad (more on that later). Aside from her outfit choice, Trump was criticized for the great mood she was *clearly* in while visiting Saudi Arabia.

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Melania Trump

On the same trip back in May she didn't wear a headscarf, despite Donald Trump criticizing Michelle Obama for doing the same when she made the trip.

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Nancy Reagan

Oh, Nancy. Reagan secretly "borrowed" $2,000 Adolfo suits and $22,000 Galanos gowns despite warnings by White House lawyers that this had to be disclosed under the Ethics in Government Act. So pretty much every time Reagan walked into public in a gown or a seemingly nicer outfit she was scrutinized.

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Nancy Reagan

Like this time she met with the Queen...

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Nancy Reagan

...And this time she met with Princess Diana...

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Nancy Reagan

...And this time again with the Queen.

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Melania Trump

The Delpozo dress that everyone loves to hate. Melania Trump has a history of wearing internationally-designed dresses despite President Trump stating in his Inaugural Address, “We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.” Even Fox News reported on the controversy...so there's that.

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Melania Trump

Melania Trump wore a $2,950 Delpozo dress while giving a speech at the U.N. and making statements like, "No child should ever feel hungry."

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Betty Ford

File under: iconic first lady moments. Betty Ford made waves not only when she was captured on top of the presidential cabinet table, but also as one of the first women to don a pantsuit.

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Melania Trump

In case you didn't know, Melania Trump is FLOTUS now. The internet immediately started mocking the hat, as the internet does, which is unfortunately not available for purchase.

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Hillary Clinton

Clinton apparently "baffled the Japanese" when she wore all-black ensembles for three days in a row on her trip in 1996. Black is pretty much our entire wardrobe, so we're a bit confused as to why it was such a big deal.

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Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was the first first lady to be photographed in a bathing suit during her 12-year (!) tenure in the White House from 1933-1945 (four-term offices were once a thing).

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Melania Trump

"Melania Trump, you are an outfit repeater!" Remember the Ralph Lauren shirtdress Trump wore in Saudi Arabia? The first lady received some backlash (on multiple occasions) for wearing the same outfit twice.

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Melania Trump

And then there were the heels...again. Snakeskin Manolo Blahnik stilettos—appropriate shoes to wear to the aftermath of a natural disaster.

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Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama didn't wear sleeves in her 2008 White House portrait, and people lost it— calling it "too informal" and "out of season."

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Melania Trump

The first lady wore a $1,380 shirt to her first White House garden event in September. To quote one Twitter user, "That's obscene."

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Barbara Bush

"Because she's a Republican." Barbara Bush had the public buzzing when she wore a blue velvet gown instead of, you know, any other color because it "represented" the Dems. #Scandalous

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Dolley Madison

Throwback to 1809. Dolley Madison was the wife of former president James Madison, and was often criticized for showing a little more cleavage than usual for the times.

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Melania Trump

The official White House portrait always has the public talking, but in April the American people had a lot to say about the size of the 25-carat rock on Trump's finger as well as the clearly airbrushed photo. The portrait's release was accompanied by Trump's statement, “I am honored to serve in the role of First Lady, and look forward to working on behalf of the American people over the coming years.”

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Melania Trump

The public thought it was strange the first lady chose traditional attire to visit the Pope when he's known for having more relaxed standards. To be continued for the next three years...

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