Although first lady Melania Trump usually makes news for what fashions the former model is wearing in her public appearances, upon her arrival in Saudi Arabia Saturday, it was what she didn’t wear that drew attention.
Melania Trump, who is traveling with President Donald Trump on his first foreign trip as president, emerged from Air Force One without a head scarf.
The first lady wore long sleeves and pants in keeping with the Saudi dress code. Her black pantsuit was highlighted by a gold belt and matching gold at the neck.
Ivanka Trump, who is also making the trip, did not cover her hair either.
Although most female visitors are encouraged to cover their hair, Saudi minister of foreign affairs Adel bin Ahmen Al-Jubier, said last week, “We welcome any style of clothing.”
Al-Jubier said the Saudi government “usually doesn’t demand,” but makes “suggestions” to visiting female dignitaries.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not cover their hair during official visits earlier this year. Former first lady Laura Bush also did not wear a head scarf, an example later copied by former first lady Michelle Obama.
“We don’t ask anyone to wear a scarf here unless you go into a place of prayer,” said Muna Abu Sulayman, a Saudi television host.
She had a nit to pick with Melania Trump’s oversized gold belt, saying “somebody else might not have pulled it off,” but also praised Melania trump’s choice of black.Melania Trump forgoes wearing headscarf in Saudi Arabia trip https://t.co/reaBcWediR pic.twitter.com/H8EdhJfioD— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 20, 2017
“It was a really considerate gesture,” she said, since “a lot of people associate it with the abaya.” An abaya is the black outer cloak usually worn by Saudi women
The Saudis went out of their way to show that in greeting the American first family, tradition would be no barrier to friendship.
When he greeted Melania Trump at the airport, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud shook Melania Trump’s hand, a gesture forbidden between Saudi men and women.
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