Pope Francis walks past Ivanka Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump during a private audience at the Vatican, May 24, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There is undoubtedly an intense level of scrutiny surrounding US President Donald Trump's first foreign trip. But the women accompanying him - most prominently his wife, Melania, and his daughter Ivanka - have also received plenty of attention for what they chose to wear - or not wear.
The first three stops on Trump's whirlwind world tour have included visits to sites and meetings with figures in the three major monotheistic religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. And with such stops, the modesty and attire of the women accompanying Trump have certainly come into play. From Riyadh to Jerusalem to the Vatican, Melania and Ivanka have mostly played it safe in their clothing choices.
Neither Melania nor Ivanka wore a headscarf during their time in Riyadh. Though Saudi law requires women to cover up in public, including their hair, foreign officials are not bound to the rules, and first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush also went with their heads bare on official visits. Though at the time of the Obamas' trip, Trump tweeted criticism of Michelle's decision - "they were insulted. We have enuf [sic] enemies" - Melania still went without.
Despite the oppressive heat in Riyadh, both of the women were decidedly covered up on the trip. Ivanka wore a long-sleeve, ankle-length and high-necked floral dress on day one, and a modest pantsuit on day two. Melania arrived in a floor-length billowing black pantsuit, and also sported a pink ballgown, a knee-length khaki dress and a white pantsuit with a black turtleneck. Both women had their arms covered at all times.
The pair kept up the trend arriving in Jerusalem - Melania in a white knee-length pantsuit (with a lower neckline than anything she sported in Riyadh, but still modest) and Ivanka in a long-sleeve blouse and duty-length skirt. The pair kept the same outfits on to visit the holy sites later than day - the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall.
Ivanka, notably, arrived in Tel Aviv in a navy-blue hat that she wore the entire day - including to the Western Wall . Trump's daughter, who converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2009, has been spotted several times wearing head coverings to synagogue in the US.
At dinner Monday night with the Netanyahu family, Melania wore a floor-length black gown with sheer, lacy sleeves.
On the family's second day in Israel, which included a visit to Yad Vashem, Melania opted for a sleeveless, knee-length white dress, while Ivanka also went with a white, in a modest long-sleeved lace dress.
Without a skipping a beat, the First Family then set off for Rome, where they met Wednesday at the Vatican with Pope Francis.
There the two women both stuck close to tradition, wearing very modest all-black ensembles, and donning black veils. The Vatican dress code requests that women wear black and cover their hair with the traditional mantilla. Melania opted for a closely-cropped veil, while Ivanka chose a larger, airier look. Former first ladies Obama and Bush also wore black veils during meetings at the Vatican.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel did wear all black when she met Pope Francis at the Vatican, but she opted to go without the veil.
With the Trumps heading next to Brussels and then Sicily, it is likely the women will get to lighten up a little in the wardrobe department, with more bare arms and more colorful looks.