GRAY IN L.A.: BARBIEGATE! Beware Of Puffed Sleeves!


Something was bound to happen. Melania, trophy wife of Donald "the Orange-nator" Trump and a skillful Barbie impersonator, stumbled over these two blunders when she shared her classic immigrant's story at the RNC.

1. Thievery, by "borrowing" some phrases of First Lady Michelle Obama's old speech.

2. Puffed sleeves on an ill-fitted dress!

First of all, kudos for good taste in picking Michelle's words; could have been Kim Kardashian's! Secondly, which is the bigger offense of the two?

I have a strong aversion to puffed sleeves, long or short -- when not worn by little girls, Disney princesses, Woodstock attendees and Brigitte Bardot ca. 1966. And now I keep wondering what was the background story in the lavish Trump residence while choosing a dress for the big outing the other night.

I think it went something like this. Mel asked the refined taste authority Don, self-proclaimed expert in all things "hot" and female, "Honey, which dress? The white angelic one with the big, floppy, puffed cuffs, or the pale yellow stunner with the slit skirt and the richly embroidered shoulder pads?"

"Clean white and tight, that'll work best," he barked, "shoulder pads remind me of Ivana and Disco!" and that was that. Melania obeyed, not without imploring, "but I can wear my hair like Raquel Welch in that masterpiece 'Kansas City Bomber' right?" But he was already in front of the bathroom mirror with his custom-made secret hairspray in his hand.

Is all this scrutiny fair? All is fair in fashion! Yes, we are mean and opinionated when it comes to what women wear and why. Of course, we've always been gleefully watching public appearances by idols and enemies, judging, devouring and tearing apart every dress code and style while enjoying mishaps with shrieks of "schadenfreude" -- especially in the political arena.

Right now we're staring at Hillary's hair and her very somber parade of pant suits and wonder whether she will ever surprise us with a burst of something a bit more daring. And in-between we have a Melania moment with a dress that looked, as acerbic fashion critic Cojo called it, "like a ruffled monstrosity out of some 80s nightmare." Close enough. And let's not forget a classic. Does anybody remember that hilarious episode of "Seinfeld" where Jerry wears this wild white puffed-sleeve-shirt to the screams of delight of his friends? Men are more rational and easier to embarrass (except for you know who), while in contrast women swallow just about every fashion bait.

As I have been informed while I type this -- Melania's white "Angel-Dress" with the "pouf" sleeves costs only $2,100 and is supposedly already sold out.

Oh, America, you beautiful, you tolerant. You might hate Trump and wouldn't dream of accepting a foreigner "babe" like Melania as a First Lady -- but some would surely wear some slightly ditzy white dress.

Indeed, clothes are important, they are a statement; they do sent signals and tell who we are. As do our words. Even if they are somebody else's.

As for her copycat "crime," I say this: Melania speaks five or even six languages -- so why didn't she use that talent to come up with something truly original in just one of them? As for her role model choice, she couldn't have picked a more inspiring one. So, why didn't she copy Michelle's often fabulous sense of clothes as well?

So I say "sorry, Melania" or "Entschuldigung" in my native German (which she also speaks fluently). You picked Donald Trump and you wear puffy-sleeved 80s clothes. Two bad choices.

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