Melania shows fashion credentials

Leanne Italie
AAP

Incoming first lady Melania Trump wore a sky-blue cashmere jacket and mock turtleneck dress by Ralph Lauren, the brand that designed so many Hillary Clinton pantsuits, on Inauguration Day.

"It was important to us to uphold and celebrate the tradition of creating iconic American style for this moment," Lauren's company said in a statement.

With her hair in a soft updo and wearing long, sky-blue suede gloves and matching stilettos, Mrs. Trump was greeted at the White House by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, the latter in a deep-red belted short-sleeve tweed dress by Jason Wu. It had black trim and a matching double-breasted coat.

President Donald Trump, wearing a red tie and black overcoat, opted to leave his suit jacket unbuttoned.

Trump's oldest daughter, Ivanka, chose white Oscar de la Renta with a tiny American flag pin, and Hillary Clinton showed up in an off-white Ralph Lauren pantsuit that harkened back to one she wore in July to accept the Democratic nomination for president. Her overcoat matched the ensemble. Tiffany Trump also opted for white and wore a double-breasted coat.

Who else made a large fashion statement for Trump's big day? His senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, in a Gucci military-style wool coat of red, white and blue, with two rows of cat-head buttons and a red cloche hat. She described her look as "Trump revolutionary wear." Social media users had a field day ranging from the uniform costumes in The Nutcracker ballet to Paddington Bear.

Mrs Trump's look, with its bolero-style jacket, prompted comparisons to a fashion icon of the past, Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore an outfit by Oleg Cassini with a matching pillbox hat to husband John F. Kennedy's 1961 inauguration.

"I think she looked sensational," New York fashion expert Hal Rubenstein said of the new first lady's style. "She's not a huge risk-taker, but she dresses in that smart, sophisticated Upper East Side urban style."

Later Friday, when the Trumps made the rounds of inaugural balls, Mrs. Trump wore an ivory off-the-shoulder gown by Herve Pierre.