- Political outsiders Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron share surprisingly similar style as first ladies.
- Seen side-by-side at the state visit at the White House this week, their twin looks are sending a strong style message of unity between the two countries.
The French president and first lady arrived in D.C. on Monday for a state visit, giving Americans a chance to see first lady Melania Trump next to one of her closest style allies.
She and French first lady Brigitte Macron have a lot in common. Both women have husbands who became president by non-traditional paths, with Macron rising to prominence in banking and Trump in real estate.
Glamorous looks for extravagant dinners and galas are expected for former model Melania and former schoolteacher Macron, but everyday appearances count, too.
And the two first ladies have rolled out surprisingly similar style themes for their biggest moments in the spotlight:
They both approached the inauguration ceremony with tradition
For their official debuts as first ladies, both chose outfits that balanced muted color with striking silhouettes for memorable, but not aggressive looks.
Trump catered to the more conservative American audience and provoked widespread comparison to former first lady and style icon Jackie Kennedy for her husband's swearing in last January.
Brigitte's choice of a powder blue Louis Vuitton jacket is a nod to her French pride and an eye-catching twist on an otherwise classic skirt suit.
Embracing their national colors
For formal official appearances, the first ladies tend to fall back on the colors known nationwide - red, white, and blue.
Trump's ensemble for her visit to France last year and Macron's tailored dress for the 2017 Salzburg Summit are strong nods to the iconic national color French and Americans can immediately recognize.
Knowing when to go casual is key
It's easy to see the two have different national audiences to please and make choices accordingly, but several of their key patterns suggest their style choices are meant to to appeal to the people.
Trump, who has been criticized for looking out of touch in the past, has largely used her style choices to overcome her image as a Washington outsider and invoke iconic images of national pride and past first ladies.
But when the situation calls for it, she will dress down. Business Insider's Kate Taylor has called Trump's fashion sweet spot "aspirational but just barely within reach - and increasingly self-aware."
Being attached to administrations that push for reform and succeeded through people-first campaign messages adds extra pressure to appear as relatable arms of the administration.
Trump and Macron have both made a point to know when to keep their outfits simple and casual to avoid looking tone deaf at public events.
Choosing the unexpected
Trump and Macron favor bolder, brighter colors to keep things interesting when they're next to the signature presidential plain black suit much of the time.
Trump broke up her otherwise quiet campaign presence with this memorable pink outfit for the second presidential debate in 2016 that was so bold it left people wondering about the message she was sending.
Brigitte employed color with this feminine and professional pink coat to evoke a strong sense of comfort for her state visit arrival on Monday, perhaps as a symbol of the close friendship between the two administrations.
It almost looks like Trump and Macron have planned their state visit outfits to match. On Tuesday morning, they both wore white skirts and blazers.
Trump's included a $2,195 Michael Kors jacket, an eye-catching Hervé Pierre hat, and $775 Christian Louboutin pumps.
Sending a message of unity
As one of the goals of the state visit is to highlight the long-standing alliance between the US and France, dressing alike presents a united front, illustrating how their personal bond underlines the two countries' allegiance.
Pointed-toe pumps are the shoe of choice
Both first ladies are usually spotted in sky-high stilettos, adding even more height to their long legs.
Macron is suspected to be 5-foot-6, while Trump is a towering 5-foot-11.
Heels give them a boost to establish their strong images alongside their husbands - no matter the occasion.