Exactly the sort of style, for example, that might appeal to Republicans with a yen for the old days. Teri Jon describes their customers as “Professionals. Mothers. Daughters. World travelers. Home-makers. Sisters. Partiers.”
And while Mr. Trump clearly intended his sartorial criticism to be a barb at Ms. Haley — perhaps an implication that he knows fancy (or his wife, Melania, does) and his rival does not — the dress was in fact a pretty effective representation of how Ms. Haley has used her image as part of her campaign strategy.
That starts with the fact that she even wore a dress to make her speech, rather than, say, the standard female politician’s trouser suit or even the American flag Ralph Lauren sweater she had been sporting on the road.
Gender, especially as expressed in clothing, has been a part of Ms. Haley’s political platform since she announced her candidacy for president, whether it’s her high heels, which she has been referencing in stump speeches for years (and which she name-checked in the third Republican primary debate) or her penchant for quoting so-called Thatcherisms (from the conservative former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher) like “‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.’”
And in the semiology of clothing, a dress often suggests “woman.” Mr. Trump of all people should understand the subconscious messaging. He is, after all, the man who, as president, announced that the women in his administration should “dress like women.”