Have you missed Ivanka Trump’s frequent Instagram posts featuring glamour shots, MAGA propaganda, and snapshots from her children’s play time? Probably not. But the most image-obsessed of the Trump kids has been conspicuously silent on social media since her father left office.
That’s not to say she’s gone completely: Ivanka, always her own best publicist, has been snapped by paparazzi dutifully camped outside her Miami home ever since she moved to a shiny $3.2 million waterfront condo.
These photo opps allow Ivanka to do her thing—look busy while accomplishing absolutely nothing. She jogs on the beach with Jared. She takes her kids for ice cream. She points at things while her assistant watches. Basically, as the familiar Ivank-adage goes, she’s a woman who works. Doing what, well, that’s anyone’s guess.
And then there’s her clothing. Ivanka has always made clear that she dresses with intention. Her previous femininity-emphasizing looks—pencil skirts, pussybow tops—were intended as antidotes to her father’s obvious misogyny. When Ivanka posed next to him, her Louboutins seemed to say: He can’t hate women, because here is one in 6-inch stilettos.
But now that Ivanka is out of office and charting her next course, she has debuted a calculated new look. Some of the elements we know are there, like the stick-straight blonde hair and ultra-white teeth. But there’s a new style to Ivanka, one that might belie her future aspirations—whether in politics or business.
Her Miami wardrobe isn’t what you might expect from a New York expat. It’s more like what a New York expat would assume “middle American” housewives wear. Her straw fedoras, oversized white tunics, and garishly printed cover-ups all stress “on vacation” to the point of costume; each one looks like it should come with a pina colada and umbrella straw.
One photo shows Ivanka watching as her kids splash in their private pool. She smiles as her daughter holds a comically oversized unicorn floaty. Ivanka’s skinny jeans and espadrilles scream: We are just like you! Which of course is maddening; nothing about the scene is remotely normal. (Spare a thought for that poor unicorn, who never asked for any of this.)
But just as her father campaigned on the false image of being an outsider and champion of the working class, Ivanka now finds herself in the midst of a precarious rebranding. If she wants to redeem herself, she will have to come back as the polished but relatable supermom. Hence the dowdy khakis and polos she wears while golfing (as if working moms actually have time to do that).
Will she reemerge in Washington? Ivanka did tell Florida Senator Marco Rubio last month that she would not challenge him for re-election in 2022, but she has not concretely ruled out a political comeback. According to Axios, she’s “plotting her political reemergence by highlighting the virtues of some of the clemency grants.” Ever the humanitarian, that Ivanka Trump.
But Ivanka has not given up on her hometown either, despite the fact that New Yorkers so desperately wish she would. Ivanka returned to the city last month to celebrate her mother’s birthday.
It was not quite Upper East Side glamazon dressing for that occasion, either. Ivanka stuck to black skinny jeans, flats, and a denim button-up. There was not much to analyze there, other than, Oh wait, I have that in my closet, too.
Ivanka has imposed a digital detox since her father left office on Jan. 21. (That’s a pretty privileged decision to make, considering so many of us are stuck working from homes, our internet access a requisite for our paychecks.) Still, she’s not entirely silent. Ivanka has always used her clothing to tell a story.
This time around, it’s a tale of practiced domesticity. Where all this image-making takes her remains to be seen. But if you need Ivanka before then, this totally average, millennial mother will be lounging on her private beach.