Melania Trump is the kind of woman who travels to a flood-ravaged state in a pair of black snakeskin stilettos. Heels this high are not practical. But Trump is not the kind of woman who has to be practical. Heels this high are not comfortable. Comfort is not the point. Neither hers nor yours.

Trump is the kind of woman who knows that when she walks from the White House to Marine One there will be photographers, and so she will dress accordingly. On this soggy Tuesday morning, she wore her stilettos with a pair of cropped black trousers and an Army-green bomber jacket. Her hair was nicely blown out, and she was wearing a pair of sunglasses though it was overcast and drizzly at the time. As she walked to the chopper, she glanced toward a camera, and the photographer captured her with one hand in her pocket, her weight shifted slightly to one leg. She looked great.

Trump’s fashionable ensemble was defined by its contradictions. She was wearing a working man’s jacket but it was juxtaposed with sexy limousine shoes. The trousers and the top were basic black — utilitarian. The oversize aviator sunglasses were Hollywood. It’s an image that would have been at home in any fashion magazine, which is so often the case with the first lady. She knows fashion. She knows her angles.

July 8, 2019 | First lady Melania Trump walks by 453 American flags, each representing a child in foster care in Cabell County, W.Va., many because of the opioid crisis, at Ritter Park in Huntington, W.Va. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
July 7, 2019 | President Trump and the first lady return to the White House after spending a weekend at their residence in Bedminster, N.J. (Chris Kleponis/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
June 21, 2019 | The president — accompanied by the first lady, Vice President Pence and his wife, Karen — speaks from the White House balcony during the Congressional Picnic. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
June 18, 2019 | The first lady waves to the crowd while arriving for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
June 18, 2019 | The president and the first lady walk over to speak to the media on the South Lawn of the White House. (Oliver Contreras for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
June 12, 2019 | The first lady and Agata Kornhauser-Duda, Poland’s first lady, walk through the Colonnade of the White House. (Shawn Thew/Bloomberg News)Bloomberg
June 7, 2019 | The first lady disembarks from Marine One on the South Lawn as she returns to the White House with Trump after traveling to Europe. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
June 5, 2019 | The president and the first lady attend an event in Portsmouth, England, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. (Chris Jackson/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
June 5, 2019 | The first lady and the president arrive at the airport in Shannon, Ireland. (Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg News)Bloomberg
June 4, 2019 | Philip May, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband, and the first lady attend a garden party at 10 Downing Street in London. (Facundo Arrizabalaga/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
June 4, 2019 | From left, the first lady; Suzanne Ircha, wife of Woody Johnson, U.S. ambassador to Britain; and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are seated in the Winfield House in London. (Chris Jackson/Pool/AP)AP
June 3, 2019 | The first lady and the president are welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in London. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Getty Images
June 3, 2019 | The first lady and Prince Charles arrive at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London. (Victoria Jones/Pool/Reuters)Reuters
May 28, 2019 | The first lady arrives to introduce the president at a Memorial Day event aboard the USS Wasp in Yokosuka, Japan. (Evan Vucci/AP)AP
May 27, 2019 | The first lady, Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako attend a welcome ceremony for President Trump at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (Nicolas Datiche/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
May 27, 2019 | The first lady and the president are greeted by Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako as they arrive at the Imperial Palace for a state banquet in Tokyo. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool/AP)AP
May 24, 2019 | Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House to board Marine One. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)AP
May 23, 2019 | The first lady and president visit Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
May 10, 2019 | Trump participates in the celebration of military mothers in the East Room of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
May 7, 2019 | Trump arrives for an anniversary event for her “Be Best” initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House. (Andrew Harnik/AP)AP
May 2, 2019 | The president and the first lady exit the Oval Office to attend the National Day of Prayer service in the Rose Garden. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Getty Images
April 24, 2019 | The first lady walks with the president to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
April 15, 2019 | The first lady visits troops and their families in Fort Bragg, N.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
April 11, 2019 | The president and the first lady welcome South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, Kim Jung-Sook, to the White House. (Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
March 31, 2019 | The first lady holds hands with the president as they arrive on the South Lawn of the White House. (Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
March 22, 2019 | The president and the first lady stand with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Haiti President Jovenel Moïse at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)AP
March 18, 2019 | The first lady arrives to host an interagency meeting on youth programs at the White House. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
March 17, 2019 | The first lady and president arrive to attend service at St. John’s Church in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)AP
May 15, 2019 | The first lady is escorted by the president to the White House Historical Association dinner. (Leah Millis/Reuters)Reuters
March 7, 2019 | President Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his wife, Monika Babisova, as they arrive for meetings at the White House. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
March 4, 2019 | Trump visits a second grade class at the Dove School of Discovery in Tulsa. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Feb. 24, 2019 | Melania Trump listens as the president speaks at the Governors’ Ball in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Alexander Drago/Reuters)Reuters
Feb. 21, 2019 | Trump listens to the president during a reception for National African American History Month in the East Room of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Feb. 18, 2019 | The first lady accompanies the president before he gives a speech to the Venezuelan American community at Florida International University in Miami. (Luis Alvarez/AP)AP
Feb. 15, 2019 | The president and the first lady walk to Marine One as they depart for Palm Beach, Fla., from the South Lawn of the White House. (Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post)For The Washington Post
Feb. 14, 2019 | First lady Melania Trump helps children celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Dec. 26, 2018 | The first lady smiles after speaking to troops alongside President Trump during their surprise visit to al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. (Andrew Harnik/AP)AP
Dec. 24, 2018 | The president and first lady speak with children, who are calling the NORAD Santa tracker, from the State Dining Room of the White House. (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
Dec. 1, 2018 | First lady Melania Trump and other spouses of world leaders pose for a photo at the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires during the Group of 20 leaders summit. (Pilar Olivares/Reuters)Reuters
Nov. 30, 2018 | President Trump and the first lady pose with Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his wife, Juliana Awada, before a gala at the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Nov. 29, 2018 | The president and first lady walk from the White House to Marine One on the South Lawn to depart for the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Nov. 28, 2018 | First lady Melania Trump participates in a town hall meeting on opioids at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Nov. 27, 2018 | Melania Trump waves as she is acknowledged by, from left, American Red Cross President Gail J. McGovern, second lady Karen Pence and Red Cross official Koby Langley as they prepare to assemble comfort kits for military personnel at the Red Cross in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)AP
Nov. 19, 2018 | The first lady and the president watch the arrival of the White House Christmas tree at the North Portico of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Nov. 10, 2018 | The first lady is greeted by Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Elysee Palace in Paris on the eve of the commemoration ceremony for Armistice Day. (Vincent Kessler/Reuters)Reuters
Oct. 28, 2018 | The president and the first lady welcome trick-or-treaters to the White House for Halloween festivities. (Mike Theiler/Pool/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
Oct. 23, 2018 | The first lady and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos greet students from Digital Pioneers Academy before screening the film “Wonder” with them in the White House movie theater. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)Reuters
Oct. 6, 2018 | The first lady visits the Giza Pyramids during the final stop of her trip through four African countries. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Sept. 11, 2018 | The Trumps hold hands as they walk away from the Flight Path Overlook at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)Reuters
Aug. 27, 2018 | Trump greets Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Gakuo Kenyatta, outside the Oval Office. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Aug. 20, 2018 | The first lady attends the federal partners in bullying prevention summit at Health and Human Services in Rockville, Md. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)AP
Aug. 19, 2018 | The Trumps and son Barron walk to Air Force One before departing from Morristown, N.J., for Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
July 24, 2018 | The first lady blows bubbles with 18-month-old patient Elliegh Rasmussen during a visit to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
July 16, 2018 | The first lady watches as Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki. (Alexey Nikolsky/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/Kremlin/Pool/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock
July 13, 2018 | Trump and Philip May, the husband of British Prime Minister Theresa May, bowl with children during a visit to British military veterans at a hospital in London. (Luca Bruno/Pool/AP)AP
July 13, 2018 | The first lady and the president stand with Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Windsor Castle. (Matt Dunham/AP)AP
July 12, 2018 | The Trumps pose with British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband, Philip, during a ceremonial welcome at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Getty Images
July 11, 2018 | The first lady arrives with other first ladies for a group photo of NATO heads of state and government at Park Cinquantenaire in Brussels. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)AP
July 10, 2018 | The first lady watches as her husband speaks with the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House en route to Europe. (Leah Millis/Reuters)Reuters
July 9, 2018 | Trump arrives in the East Room of the White House for the president’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee. (Evan Vucci/AP)AP
July 4, 2018 | The president and first lady arrive to greet guests during a picnic for military families on the South Lawn of the White House for the Fourth of July celebration. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)Getty Images
June 25, 2018 | The Trumps welcome King Abdullah of Jordan and Queen Rania to the White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)Getty Images
June 21, 2018 | The first lady arrives at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland after visiting a shelter for migrant children in McAllen, Tex. The words on her jacket — “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” — created an uproar online. (Andrew Harnik/AP)AP
April 24, 2018 | The first lady is shown during an arrival ceremony for the French president and his wife at the White House. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)AP
April 18, 2018 | Trump arrives at the Henry Morrison Flagler museum in Palm Beach, Fla., for a visit with Akie Abe, wife of the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
April 17, 2018 | The Trumps Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie, stop to talk to the media as they walk to dinner at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)AP
March 23, 2018 | Trump presents an International Women of Courage Award to L’Malouma Said, of Mauritania, at the State Department. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)AP
March 20, 2018 | Trump arrives for a roundtable discussion on cybersafety and technology with industry experts in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Getty Images
March 5, 2018 | The Trumps welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara Netanyahu, at the White House. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Feb. 19, 2018 | President Trump, the first lady and their son, Barron, leave Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)AP
Feb. 16, 2018 | The Trumps walk with Igor Nichiporenko during a visit to Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach, Fla., where victims of the school shooting in nearby Parkland were treated. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Feb. 14, 2018 | The first lady helps Annie Ribas, 9, left, and Katherine Faughn, 6, decorate cookies during her visit to the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)AP
Jan. 30, 2018 | Trump receives applause as she enters the House chamber before the State of the Union speech. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Dec. 31, 2017 | The Trumps arrive for a New Year’s Eve gala at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (Evan Vucci/AP)AP
Dec. 13, 2017 | Trump high-fives the daughter of a military family while sorting toys during a Toys for Tots event at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)AP
Dec. 7, 2017 | Trump arrives with patient Damian Contreras and Santa Claus before a reading of “The Polar Express” at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. The tradition of first ladies visiting the medical center dates back over 60 years. (Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)Reynold/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock
Nov. 23, 2017 | The Trumps visit members of the U.S. Coast Guard at Station Lake Worth Inlet in Riviera Beach, Fla. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Nov. 21, 2017 | Trump listens as the president speaks during the Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Nov. 10, 2017 | Trump visits the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China in Beijing. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)Reuters
Nov. 9, 2017 | Trump and Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, arrive at a state dinner in honor of President Trump at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)Reuters
Nov. 4, 2017 | The Trumps emerge from their limousine and are greeted by the news media before departing from Hawaii for a 10-day trip to Asia. (Cindy Ellen Russell/Hono­lulu Star-Advertiser/AP)AP
Oct. 11, 2017 | The first lady listens as Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak in the Oval Office. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Oct. 6, 2017 | Trump listens during a Hispanic Heritage Month event in the East Room of the White House. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Oct. 3, 2017 | The first lady stands alongside the president as he speaks to the media before departing the White House for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. (Jim Scalzo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)Scalzo/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock
Sept. 23, 2017 | The first lady meets with Prince Harry in Toronto. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)Reuters
Sept. 22, 2017 | The first lady works in the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn with children from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)Reuters
Sept. 20, 2017 | The first lady addresses other spouses of world leaders on the issue of vulnerable children around the world at a United Nations luncheon in New York. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Aug. 29, 2017 | The Trumps step off Air Force One after arriving in Corpus Christi, Tex. (Charlie Blalock/European Pressphoto Agency)EPA
July 14, 2017 | The Trumps watch the traditional military parade as part of the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris. (Julien De Rosa/European Pressphoto Agency)EPA
July 13, 2017 | Trump and Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, attend a welcoming ceremony at the Invalides in Paris. Read: U.S., French first ladies visit Paris, celebrate French style (Charles Platiau/Reuters)Reuters
July 8, 2017 | Trump is received by Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz during the Group of 20 summit at the town hall in Hamburg. (Friedemann Vogel/Pool/European Pressphoto Agency)EPA
July 7, 2017 | The Trumps attend a concert at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg. (Lukas Barth/European Pressphoto Agency)EPA
July 5, 2017 | The first lady walks from the White House to Marine One as she and the president prepare to travel to Poland and Germany. (Susan Walsh/AP)AP
June 26, 2017 | The first lady attends a meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Win McNamee/Bloomberg News)Bloomberg
June 4, 2017 | The first lady applauds as the president speaks at the Ford’s Theatre Gala in Washington. (Mike Theiler/Reuters)Reuters
May 26, 2017 | Trump arrives at Chierici Palace in Catania, Italy, wearing a Dolce & Gabbana floral coat with multicolored silk flowers. Read: About Melania Trump and that $51,500 jacket she wore in Italy … (Domenico Stinellis/AP)AP
May 25, 2017 | The first lady visits the Queen Fabiola children’s hospital during the NATO summit in Brussels. (Laurie Dieffembacq/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
May 24, 2017 | The first lady arrives with the president at the Melsbroek Air Base in Brussels for the NATO summit. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
May 24, 2017 | Pope Francis meets with the Trumps at the Vatican. The first lady wore a long-sleeved Dolce & Gabbana black dress and a black veil, following a tradition of many first ladies before her to wear black when meeting the pope. Read: Why Melania Trump wore a head covering in Rome but not in Saudi Arabia (Evan Vucci/Pool/Reuters)Reuters
May 20, 2017 | King Salman, right, walks with the president and first lady during a welcome ceremony at Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Read: On her first official trip, Melania Trump is dressed for control and containment (Saudi Press Agency/via European Pressphoto Agency)EPA
May 19, 2017 | President Trump and the first lady, wearing a leather Herve Pierre skirt, board Marine One to begin their first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily. Read: On her first official trip, Melania Trump is dressed for control and containment (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
April 6, 2017 | The Trumps stand with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, upon their arrival at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)AFP/Getty Images
Feb. 11, 2017 | The first lady and Akie Abe, right, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, listen to park administrator Bonnie White Lemay as they tour Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach, Fla. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)Reuters
Feb. 10, 2017 | The Trumps and the Abes step off Air Force One upon arriving in West Palm Beach, Fla. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)AP
April 17, 2017 | The first lady greets children during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Feb. 15, 2017 | The first lady takes her seat before a news conference in the East Room of the White House. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
April 5, 2017 | Trump, Queen Rania of Jordan, right, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, center, arrive for their visit to the Excel Academy Public Charter school in Washington. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)AP
Feb. 3, 2017 | The Trumps arrive at the Palm Beach International airport for a visit to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Getty Images
Jan. 20, 2017 | Trump, wearing a Jackie Kennedy-esque powder-blue Ralph Lauren cashmere dress and cropped jacket, shakes hands with outgoing first lady Michelle Obama during the inauguration at the Capitol in Washington. Read: Beyond fashion: How Melania Trump is modeling herself after Jackie Kennedy (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)The Washington Post
Photo Gallery: The former model’s daytime fashion choices often show a businesslike polish.

It was also an image that suggested that Trump is the kind of woman who refuses to pretend that her feet will, at any point, ever be immersed in cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water. She is the kind of woman who may listen empathetically to your pain, but she knows that you know that she is not going to experience it. So why pretend?

Well, sometimes pretense is everything. It’s the reason for the first lady to go to Texas at all: to symbolize care and concern and camaraderie. To remind people that the government isn’t merely doing its job, that the government is engaged with each and every individual. Washington hears its citizens. That’s what the optics are all about. Sitting around a conference table and talking into a speaker phone are not good optics. A politician has to get on the ground in work boots and a windbreaker. Rolled-up sleeves. Galoshes. Baseball caps.

First Lady Melania Trump walks on stilettos to board Air Force One en route to Texas to view the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Appearance is even more relevant with this first lady. She rarely speaks in public and has yet to make clear precisely what she might do with her time in the White House aside from looking after her young son. And so every time she comes into public view, standing or walking silently alongside her husband, the image becomes a silent expression of intent and self-awareness. These pictures are her legacy.

And for her trip to Texas, the first lady offered up a fashion moment instead of an expression of empathy.

Observers were baffled by her shoes in particular. Those shoes. Those shoes. Good Lord, those shoes. She is fond of Manolos and Louboutins. But it’s not the brand or the cost: It’s the heels. She defies gravity in them. She floats above it all. They aren’t power heels; they’re sexy heels. Heading off to Texas, she looked dressed to view a natural disaster from a distance, from on high, not up close. Her ensemble implied that people’s personal stories would be ferried to her after they had been vetted and tidied up. There was no suggestion that Trump would be flat-footed in the muck, hearing their truth in messy, tearful open-ended confusion.

By the time Trump landed in Texas she had changed. She was still wearing black trousers, but they were paired with a white shirt and sneakers. She still had her sunglasses, but her hair was pulled into a ponytail. She also was wearing a black baseball cap that said “FLOTUS” in white letters. The cap was like a hedge against her blending into the crowd. A defense against any possibility that for just a split second she might seem regular. She is not like you, or you, or you, it says. She is the first lady.

First lady Melania Trump, after making an en route costume change, steps off Air Force One in Corpus Christi, Tex. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Melania Trump wears a FLOTUS baseball cap. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Melania Trump’s sneakers. (Evan Vucci/AP)

(On Tuesday evening, the first lady issued a statement about her trip: “I want to be able to offer my help and support in the most productive way possible, not through just words, but also action. What I found to be the most profound during the visit was not only the strength and resilience of the people of Texas, but the compassion and sense of community that has taken over the State.”)

Still, her Corpus Christi ensemble was more akin to what one might have expected her to wear for the Hurricane Harvey briefing. Its simplicity and practicality were in sync with the president’s khakis and boots. It was optically optimal. But the chance to tell an uninterrupted narrative of care and concern had already been missed. This was just a costume change for another fashion moment.

Read more from Robin Givhan:

The Fashion of Politics: How clothing choices help sell a political message.