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The cost difference between Melania Trump's and Michelle Obama's outfits reveals the truth about America's criticisms of them

Business Insider Logo By Kate Taylor of Business Insider | Slide 1 of 9:  This week, Melania Trump found herself in yet another fashion scandal. The first lady was spotted boarding a plane to Texas in  sky-high stilettos, though she was heading to an area devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Public perception of Trump and her immediate predecessor, Michelle Obama, couldn't be more different. Fans of Obama paint her as a J. Crew-clad woman of the people. Meanwhile, Trump was slammed for a photo shoot in which she  twirled a string of diamonds like spaghetti. For fans of Trump, glitzy designer clothing is part of her appeal. Instagram accounts with thousands of followers track her every outfit. The far-right website Breitbart News, which  criticized Obama for wearing a $2,290 dress to meet the pope in 2015, wrote that Trump was the "breakout star" of President Donald Trump's first trip abroad,  radiating "high fashion." To see how accurate Melania Trump's frivolous, filthy-rich reputation is in contrast to Obama's more down-to-earth image, we decided to re-create a theoretical "week in the life" of the two first ladies. We wanted to see whether Trump was actually spending more than Obama, or whether she was just a victim of bad press. We compared seven iconic looks that Obama and Trump wore to similar events, from vacationing to campaigning, as well as their price tags. Fashion can be a strategic way for the first lady to send a message to the American people - and Trump and Obama both have different reputations and messages to send. Here's how the two first ladies measure up and what it means for how Americans see them.

This week, Melania Trump found herself in yet another fashion scandal.

The first lady was spotted boarding a plane to Texas in sky-high stilettos, though she was heading to an area devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Public perception of Trump and her immediate predecessor, Michelle Obama, couldn't be more different. Fans of Obama paint her as a J. Crew-clad woman of the people. Meanwhile, Trump was slammed for a photo shoot in which she twirled a string of diamonds like spaghetti.

For fans of Trump, glitzy designer clothing is part of her appeal. Instagram accounts with thousands of followers track her every outfit. The far-right website Breitbart News, which criticized Obama for wearing a $2,290 dress to meet the pope in 2015, wrote that Trump was the "breakout star" of President Donald Trump's first trip abroad, radiating "high fashion."

To see how accurate Melania Trump's frivolous, filthy-rich reputation is in contrast to Obama's more down-to-earth image, we decided to re-create a theoretical "week in the life" of the two first ladies. We wanted to see whether Trump was actually spending more than Obama, or whether she was just a victim of bad press.

We compared seven iconic looks that Obama and Trump wore to similar events, from vacationing to campaigning, as well as their price tags. Fashion can be a strategic way for the first lady to send a message to the American people - and Trump and Obama both have different reputations and messages to send.

Here's how the two first ladies measure up and what it means for how Americans see them.

© AP Images

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