Wait, Was Melania Trump Actually Wearing A Pussybow At Last Night's Debate?

Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images.
As you probably recall, everyone had a field day over Melania Trump's outfit at the second presidential election debate earlier this month. There was speculation that her bright pink Gucci pussybow blouse was chosen to subtly shade her husband after the 2005 audio of his disgusting comments about sexually assaulting women, with egregious references to female genitalia, had just leaked two days earlier. So, naturally, we were very curious to see what she'd opt for at the third and final debate last night. Some publications were quick to herald her black Ralph Lauren Collection jumpsuit as the supposed second coming of the highly symbolic, somewhat unfortunately named neckline.

Okay, but is Melania really, truly rocking a pussybow this time around? Or are we all just scrounging for subliminal messaging in the style choices made by any and all women prominently involved in this election cycle? Well, the sleeveless, wide-legged $1,790 piece from the designer's pre-fall 2016 collection is dubbed the "Sheryl Tie-Front Jumpsuit." There's no mention whatsoever of the presence of a pussybow in the item's description; it's described as a "front necktie." The model on Ralph Lauren's site does, however, have it styled in a knotted bow.

Does a pussybow need to be tied in an actual bow (not just a knot), as the name details? The answer is murky, but the name seems to have pretty literal origins: it referred to tying a ribbon into a bow around a kitten's neck, and was legitimate lesson-planning fodder for schoolteachers in the 1880s, apparently. (What, you don't accessorize your cat like that?) The style first emerged in the early 20th century, often linked to the "Gibson Girls," the demure, illustrated antidote to the empowered, Suffragette-era "New Women" that were Kardashian-level popular back in the day.

It was popularized in the '50s and '60s by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel; YSL's Le Smoking suit, which retooled menswear as a then-radical new uniform for women, involved the blouse in question. It then had a resurgence in the '70s and '80s as a woman's answer to menswear at a time when women were (finally) scoring C-suite gigs, as PBS' Makers: Women Who Make America documentary on feminism detailed. It was also Lady Margaret Thatcher's signature style circa the '80s. The once-revolutionary blouse style then went on to have a resurgence in the past few seasons, cropping up on runways, like Chloé and Gucci.

Was it the second coming of the strategically chosen pussybow — and, thus, evidence of Melania, or her stylist, having a surprisingly wry sense of humor? Or was it just a case of a deceptive neckline? Personally, I'm pretty skeptical that Melania's look can truly be considered a pussybow, and no, I don't think there's any covert messaging embedded there. It was probably a bit of a stretch to find any subtext in Melania's shirt choice at the previous debate, too. Making the connection yet again just seems like overkill, especially since there wasn't even a bow in sight. But then, isn't that just semantics — or, just words, as Donald might put it — anyway?
Advertisement

More from Celebs & Influencers