Melania Trump's Pussy-bow Symbolism Goes Even Deeper at the Third Debate

Melania Trump in Ralph Lauren Collection.
Melania Trump in Ralph Lauren Collection. (Photo: Getty Images)

Melania Trump’s back at it again with the pussy-bow. After wearing the style to the second presidential debate earlier in October and setting social media on fire, the former model opted for a similar look for the final showdown between her husband, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

Wearing a black jumpsuit with tie detail and wide-leg trousers, Melania, who has made multiple fashion statements during her husband’s run for office, stepped into the former Secretary of State’s sartorial territory with her latest piece from Ralph Lauren Collection. The Sheryl Tie-Neck Wide-Leg Jumpsuit retails for $1,790 and is made in the USA of Italian materials. Trump styled the jumpsuit with a black patent leather belt and carried an Alexander McQueen clutch. In head-to-toe black (and matching with her stepdaughter Ivanka), many on social media said she was dressed like she was in mourning. Melania generally buys her own clothes and shops mostly on and hasn’t worn Ralph Lauren publicly before.

Ralph Lauren
The Sheryl Tie-Neck Wide-Leg Jumpsuit from Ralph Lauren retails for $1,790. (Photo:

In the course of her husband’s presidential campaign, Melania has spoken very little, giving a few rally speeches, another at the Republican National Convention, and limited TV interviews. But she has used her clothes to do a lot of the talking for her when words have seemed to fail. At the RNC in July, the Slovenian-born mother wore a white dress for the “modern bride” with puffy sleeves from U.K.-based designer Roksanda Ilincic, a Serbian native, making a subtle nod to her origins.

Then, at the town hall debate in early October, she wore a $1,100 hot-pink pussy-bow blouse from Gucci with matching pants. This outfit came just days after a Access Hollywood tape leaked with Donald saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p***y. You can do anything.” In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired on Monday night, Melania dismissed Donald’s comments as “boy talk” and claimed he was “egged on” by Billy Bush.

Melania Trump wore a bright pink silk crepe de chine top with a
Melania Trump wore a bright pink silk crepe de chine top with a “pussy-bow” and matching bottoms to Sunday night’s debate. (Photo: Getty Images)

The pussy-bow, which gets its name from the similar ties around the necks of kittens and cats, was popularized when Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent introduced the style in the 1960s. Then, in the ’80s, career women would wear them with their power suits to add a womanly touch. Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, explained in a PBS documentary that it “was sort of our interpretation of the man’s tie … It was our attempt to be feminine but fit into what was then a male world.” Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, Nancy Reagan and more were all fans of the silhouette.

So what could it possibly mean that Melania’s wearing a pussy-bow again? Well, even though she continues to stand by her man despite nine allegations from various women reporting unwanted sexual advances or talk, many have hypothesized that the style could symbolize Melania’s actually #withher. It could also be that she’s a secret feminist, despite all evidence to the contrary. But, most likely, she just really likes the pussy-bow style.

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