Ivanka Trump at the Republican National Convention. (Photo: Getty Images)
When Melania Trump addressed Republican convention-goers on Monday night, the white Roksanda Illicic (wedding) dress she wore sold out nearly instantly.
So it’s no surprise that on Friday, Ivanka Trump — who addressed the convention and introduced her father the evening before wearing a design from her namesake collection — tweeted out the details of her look, complete with links of where to buy.
Melania Trump at the Republican National Convention. (Photo: Getty Images)
Considering the high likelihood that Ivanka Trump has read The Art of the Deal as a bedtime story, it seems she’s not afraid to make as much as she can off of her star turn at the Republican National Convention.
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump)July 22, 2016
As the Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Holmes points out, not only is the dress that Ivanka tweeted out not an exact replica of the one she wore last night, it was also linked to an affiliate shopping link, a tech-savvy move that lets her earn a commission on sales on the item being linked to when bought through that link as well as any item a buyer purchases from a retailer whose site is visited through such a link. In other words, the mother and businesswoman is set to see earnings rise through the sale of her almost-replica dress and through anything curious shoppers might buy after ending up on the Macy’s site in pursuit of their own not-quite-matching version of her dress.
And incidentally, while writing this story the Ivanka Trump dress in question just sold out on Macy’s site.
Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address in January 2016. (Photo: Getty Images)
Today, our concept of celebrity is broader than ever. Undenaibly, Michelle Obama has just as much — if not more — sway over the latest must-have styles as any Hollywood actor. Case in point: the golden Narcisco Rodriguez sheath that Mrs. Obama wore at the State of the Union address this January sold out before her husband had even finished his remarks to the nation. The J.Crew belt that the first lady wore at her husband’s second inauguration likewise sold out nearly instantly.
Michelle Obama at President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration ceremony. (Photo: Getty Images)
And the current FLOTUS isn’t the only political spouse whose sartorial choices can create a retail tidal wave. The Duchess of Cambridge bestows the “sell-out effect” on practically everything she puts on her body, from trendy earrings to that blue dress she wore to announce her engagement.
So just why is it that these women can make us feel like we need to have a certain garment immediately, just because they wore it?
Kate Middleton’s Issa dress sold out immediately after her engagement announcement. (Photo: Getty Images)
“Modern celebrity is an interesting thing,” Art Markman, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, tells Yahoo Style. “In the past, you might encounter your favorite star a few times a year. They might star in a movie, then have a few articles written about them in monthly magazines and perhaps do a television appearance every few weeks. Now, we feel much closer to our favorite celebrities, because there is much more access to them. The 24-hour news cycle is filled with celebrity sightings. In addition to movies and television, there are social media pages and YouTube videos. As a result, we can feel quite close to the celebrities we follow.”
But Markman also drives home an important reality about the closeness we feel with our celeb BFFs: “They are not actually friends” with their fans IRL.
Which is where a little retail therapy comes in.
“An easy way to feel closer to a beloved celebrity is to buy the same products and clothes that celebrity wears,” he says. “Combine that with an easy access to shopping. In the past, you would have to wait for your next shopping trip to dress like your favorite celebrity. Now you can order that outfit in the moment from your phone while you are watching. That shortens the distance between the desire instilled by the wish to be closer to a favorite celebrity and the point of purchase.”
And clearly, the women in the Trump family aspire to be Michelle Obama’s successor not only in assuming her address at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue but also in having the kinds of fashion credence and popular recognition to confer the magical sold-out factor onto their preferred garment.