At nearly $20,000 each, the expensive dresses the first daughters wore for the 2016 Obama Christmas card have raised eyebrows.
In the family photograph, first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama are smiling and wearing similar, costly Naeem Khan dresses that sparked controversy in March, Teen Vogue reports.
The dresses cost $17,990 and $19,990 respectively, causing news outlets at the time to criticize their choices — and continue to do so more than six months later.
The controversy went viral, with rumors circulating the dresses were paid for by taxpayers.
“Sparing no expense, since it’s the taxpayers’ hard-earned money anyway, the president’s little princesses left many citizens fuming,” wrote Amanda Shea for Mad World News.
These claims turned out to be false, with officials later saying the dresses were on loan to the girls from the designer — a common practice.
“Mrs. Obama [and by extension, the first daughters] pays for her clothing,” explained Joanna Rosholm, press secretary to the first lady, in 2014, Today reports. “For official events of public or historic significance, such as a state visit, the first lady’s clothes may be given as a gift by a designer and accepted on behalf of the U.S. government. They are then stored by the National Archives.”
The luxury dresses continued to spark controversy, with some accusing the Obama administration of hypocrisy, including an opinion article by Shea for Mad World News: