Despite First Lady Melania Trump’s decision not to wear a headscarf in Saudi Arabia, the country’s local press honored her with rave reviews on Sunday regarding her fashion choices.
The Saudis closely watched the First Lady and Ivanka Trump Sunday as they attended events while President Trump participated in bilateral meetings with the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Melania Trump visited the American International School in Riyadh and a General Electric service center staffed by women only. The first lady posted tweets about both visits, calling the opportunities an “honor” and praising “international perspective and education to children.”
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 21, 2017
The White House also reported that Ivanka Trump participated in a women’s empowerment roundtable at Tuwaiq Palace that included civil society leaders, prominent businesswomen and female Saudi elected government officials.
“It is important to hear directly from local women about progress they and their country have been able to make and the challenges they still face,” said a White House official.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) May 21, 2017
In a special English print edition published for the US press, Arab News complimented Melania Trump, calling her outfits “classy and conservative,” and including a full-page color photo of the first lady in a black jumpsuit.
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) May 21, 2017
Melania Trump stepped off Air Force One wearing the designer jumpsuit which was cuffed at the sleeves and cinched at the waist with a large gold belt. According to her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, it was not a coincidence that the flowing look resembled an abaya, the fashion favored for women in Saudi Arabia.
“If you look at her style, it’s still very much her and her style of dress but being sensitive to the place and host nation for sure,” Grisham said.
Arab News took note of the first lady’s choice of outfits, quoting a boutique-owner in Jeddah, Nahed Andijani, “When I saw her arrival pictures wearing a modest outfit respecting our culture, I was like, ‘This looks so much like my abaya!'”
Melania Trump made her decision not to wear a headscarf by considering advice from the State Department’s protocol guidelines and receiving briefings prior to the trip.
“It was not required for her to wear a headscarf and nobody asked her to, and based on that she chose not to,” Grisham said, noting that Melania Trump has been “studying hard” for the foreign excursion.
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