When she emerged from Air Force One at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, her attire was conservative.
The 47-year-old former model wore black patent stilettos and what is believed to be a $1,495 black Stella McCartney jumpsuit, cinched at the waist with a wide gold belt.
But she was missing a head scarf in a religious country that imposes some of the world’s harshest restrictions on women.
The President’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump also opted-out of covering her head during the state visit.
She wore a $1,490 long-sleeved printed Cédric Charlier maxi dress that showed her ankles and her tan pumps as she held hands with her husband Jared Kushner.
Melania Trump chose not to wear a head scarf when she and President Donald Trump arrived in Saudi Arabia Saturday, despite the religious country’s strict dress code for women
The 47-year-old ex-model wore black patent stilettos and what is believed to be a $1,495 black Stella McCartney jumpsuit, cinched at the waist with a wide gold belt. She and her husband President Donald Trump are pictured leaving Air Force One for a welcome ceremony at the Royal Terminal of King Khalid International Airport Saturday
Ivanka also chose to opt out of wearing a head covering for her arrival in Riyadh with her husband Jared Kushner
Ivanka wore a $1,490 long-sleeved printed Cédric Charlier maxi dress that showed her ankles and her tan pumps
Michelle Obama also chose not to wear a head scarf when she visited Saudi Arabia in 2015 with then-President Barack Obama and Trump tweeted his disapproval, saying the former first lady offended the Saudi people
Michelle Obama did not wear a head covering when she and then-President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia on a condolence visit in 2015, pictured
Melania’s predecessor Michelle Obama did not cover her head when she accompanied then-President Barack Obama on a condolence visit in January 2015 after the death of King Abdullah.
Donald Trump tweeted his disapproval at the time, saying: ‘Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf (sic) enemies.’
The President gave his trademark thumbs up to the press as he rode the escalator from the tarmac to the royal terminal at the airport in Riyadh.
In much of the Arab world, the gesture is considered a vulgar sexual insult, even though many in Saudi Arabia have disputed that.
Melania speaks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef during an arrival ceremony for President Trump at the Royal Court in Riyadh
Ivanka watches her father arrive for a presentation ceremony of The Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud Medal, at the Royal Court Palace
Trump and Melania visit an art exhibit before a bilateral meeting with Saudi King Salam at the Royal Court Palace Saturday
Though Melania did dress conservatively, with long sleeves and long pants, women in Saudi Arabia are expected to wear a robe called an abaya in public and not pants
Women are also expected to cover their hair and face, though many Western women choose not to
Two of Melania’s predecessors, Michelle Obama and Laura Bush chose not to wear head scarves, with the exception of Bush wearing one briefly after she received a scarf as a gift
Former First Lady Laura Bush, pictured, also opted out of a head covering on her visit to Saudi Arabia in October 2007, with the exception of briefly wearing one as she met with cancer survivors in Jeddah. A Saudi woman is helping Bush put on the scarf, pictured right
Bush wore the scarf because it was given to her as a gift by Saudi doctor Samia al-Amudi
Under the kingdom’s strict dress code for women, Saudi women and most female visitors are required to wear a loose, black robe, known as an abaya, in public.
It is generally frowned upon to wear pants and women are expected to cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab.
But covering one’s head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this year, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also shunned head coverings, showing how common it is for high-level female visitors to skip wearing a headscarf or an abaya.
And during her time as first lady, Laura Bush generally went without covering her head, though she once briefly donned a head scarf she received as a gift.
As Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also did not cover her head on visits to Saudi Arabia.