The latest episode in the longstanding right-wing tradition of hyper-focusing on the physical appearance of American first ladies involved Dr. Biden's patterned tights.
Conservative America collectively clutched its pearls in horror last week when first lady Dr. Jill Biden exited Air Force One in a kickass outfit. The 69-year-old was photographed as she stepped off the presidential aircraft dressed in a flowy leather-trimmed dress with a pair of playfully patterned, fishnet-adjacent tights and ankle boots following a visit to California Thursday. While fashionistas across the country drooled over Dr. Biden's all-black look, conservatives—seemingly grasping at straws for a scandal since the Biden White House rarely, if ever, produces personal scandal—lost their collective marbles over the first lady's choice of tights.
It’s Dr. FLOTUS Jill Biden to you, and she can wear what she wants. pic.twitter.com/qSzOyHLRPf— Madam Vice President Harris is GOAT! (@flywithkamala) April 4, 2021
Social media soon flooded with sexist tweets slamming Dr. Biden's look as racy and "trashy," likening her to Madonna (which is nothing less than high praise, to be honest), and proclaiming the first lady simply "too old" to be wearing cute tights. While the non-controversy—which brought back memories of all the hullabaloo over President Obama's tan suit and former First Lady Michelle Obama's sleeveless shifts—left many incredulous that this was even being discussed, it was merely the latest episode in the longstanding right-wing tradition of hyper-focusing on the physical appearance of American first ladies instead of what they do or don't do for the country.
The easiest way to show how backwards you are is to say a woman looks “too old” for an outfit. A woman can wear what a woman wants at any age. Jill Biden looks great. https://t.co/tR40kF4uer— Sandy Blue (@sandybluenv) April 5, 2021
We've seen this pattern with almost all first ladies to date. While it was particularly bad for Michelle, given that she's Black, even Melania Trump wasn't spared. Granted, conservatives only had high praise for Dr. Biden's predecessor (even coming to her defense when she wore the notorious "I Really Don't Care Do U?" jacket at the peak of Trump's family separation policy) but they still struggled to look past Melania's designer clothes and sky-high heels. Often calling her "the classiest first lady in US history," they seemed to expect very little from the former model other than turning up in headline-grabbing designer garb during her sparse public appearances.
I saw the follow up story. @FLOTUS rocked the patterned tights. I'm a little jelly. More at 11.— Faralyn Padilla (@FaralynPadilla) April 4, 2021
In stark contrast to her predecessor, Dr. Biden appears to favor a more understated, elegant, and relatable aesthetic; we got a good taste of her relatable first lady fashion back in February when she was spotted wearing a blue scrunchie while out picking up Valentine's Day treats. This style could be chalked up to the fact that she's a working woman who's got a lot on her plate. Dr. Biden—who holds four university degrees and taught English full time at Northern Virginia Community College throughout both of her terms as the second lady—has always strived to be more than a politician's wife.
She’s wearing a scrunchie! I love this relatable woman!!!— Traci (@TraciB4U) February 13, 2021
"If we get to the White House, I'm gonna continue to teach," she told CBS News in August. "It's important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession." Juggling multiple roles on a daily basis requires a practical wardrobe. Rather than glamorous Gucci dresses, Louboutins, and Birkin bags, flattering shift and wrap dresses in bold hues would serve better in transitioning from the classroom to going about her duties as one half of a political power duo. However, this doesn't seem to stop the first lady from having fun with her outfits — as demonstrated by her patterned tights — and unlike some people, we're sure grateful for the refreshing break from a chaste nude hose and expected pumps. Dr. Biden is single-handedly setting some major fashion goals for working women everywhere and we wouldn't trade it for all the haute couture in the world.