If you had to pick a standout 'Melania moment' from the current American presidency, then plenty of people might choose the day when Mrs Trump wore a jacket which had ‘I really don’t care, do u?’ emblazoned on the back, for a trip to a centre for child migrants.
In spite of extensive protestations from the First Lady’s representatives about how said jacket meant either nothing, or was aimed at the media, the unsurprising takeaway was ultimately that the Trump family weren’t terribly bothered about the plight of children in crisis.
If there was a lesson to take from this episode, it’s that sometimes it’s incredibly effective to swap subtle soft power clothing messages (you know, the old tricks like wearing a French designer in France or the colours of the Polish flag in Poland) for something with pure blunt force.
Enter, Jill Biden who emerged from voting in the Delaware state primary on Monday wearing a pair of black knee-high boots with the slogan ‘VOTE’ plastered in silver lettering (with a definite DIY feel) down the leg.
So far, the wife of Democrat Presidential candidate Joe Biden has maintained a down-to-earth, relatable look which doesn’t feel overly strategised. Mainly wearing neat tailored dresses or pretty floral blouses, Dr Biden has demurred from making fashion a cornerstone of her campaigning, unlike both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump before her, who both, in their own ways, quickly used clothing as a means of communication during their husbands’ campaigns; Obama wore pieces by young American designers from diverse backgrounds while Trump developed a penchant for bold, expensive outfits which often got people talking (like her Gucci pussy-bow blouse).
There is something almost punk-ish about Dr Biden’s most overt fashion statement yet. Her chosen boots are the kind of chunky, stompy style which is in vogue now, although by pairing them with a somewhat incongruous sleek dress, the intention was evidently to make us talk about the vote message, rather than how on-trend she is.
That the dress she wore was purple - the colour of the suffragettes - was either a clever coincidence or a way to underscore her point further still.
The VOTE boots come almost a month after Michelle Obama delivered the same message in jewellery form, choosing a necklace by LA-based brand By Chari bearing the word for her speech to the virtual Democrat convention.
With the issue of voting and whether Americans can depend on their choice being counted come November 3 currently being one of the most debated issues of the election, a crudely literal fashion choice from the First Lady hopeful tells us everything we need to know about American politics now. The time for subtleties is over.