In an interview accompanying her appearance on the cover of Vogue as first lady, Dr Jill Biden said her husband was proving “a calmer president” than Donald Trump.
Biden appears on the cover of the August edition – an honour which was denied Melania Trump, to her anger and that of her husband.
For her cover shoot, Biden wears a floral dress by Oscar de la Renta. In the accompanying interview, she says “part of the reason Joe was elected” is because “people wanted someone to come in and heal this nation, not just from the pandemic, which I feel Joe did by, you know, getting shots in everybody’s arms. But also … he’s just a calmer president. He lowers the temperature.”
In December 2020, Donald Trump shared a tweet from the hard right Breitbart News which said: “The elitist snobs in the fashion press have kept the most elegant first lady in American history off the covers of magazines for four consecutive years.”
The then president added that his first lady was “the greatest of all time”.
In her Vogue interview, the first lady said it was “kind of surprising” that her fashion choices should spark conversation.
At the G7 summit in Cornwall earlier this month, she wore a blazer jacket from designers Zadig & Voltaire with “LOVE” written on the back. The slogan was widely presumed to be worn in answer to a “I really don’t care, do u?” jacket which Melania Trump controversially wore in 2018 on a visit to Texas to meet migrant children separated from their parents.
Biden told reports at the G7 summit her message was simple.
“We’re bringing love from America,” she said. “This is a global conference [and] we’re trying to bring unity across the globe. I think it’s needed right now, that people feel a sense of unity from all the countries and feel a sense of hope after this year of the pandemic.”
During the election, Biden wore Stuart Weitzman boots with “Vote” written on them. She is generally known for shying away from household-name brands in favour of industry favourites like Brandon Maxwell, Gabriela Hearst and Jonathan Cohen. She told Vogue this was intentional.
“I like to choose from a diverse group of designers,” she said. “When I was planning inauguration outfits, that’s one of things I considered.”
On inauguration day in January, Biden wore a turquoise coat, dress and gloves from a lesser-known label, Markarian, a move widely seen to aim to bring attention to the economic crisis in the fashion industry.
Biden told Vogue she does not work with a stylist, a unusual choice for such a high-profile position.
The editor of one Instagram page dedicated to her style – Dr Jill Biden Fashion – thinks this sends a positive public message about sustainable fashion.
“I think [this] is really great,” the editor says. “[Biden] sometimes buys from designer brands (either ready-to-wear pieces or custom-made pieces) which means the clothes are expensive but she wears them a lot and she wears them for years. I like that she’s not debuting a new outfit for each event because I think that wouldn’t be a good look during a pandemic when people are struggling.”
Kamala Harris, the vice-president, featured on the cover of Vogue’s February issue. The image was widely criticised for its lighting and alleged lack of respect.