Melania Trump is making a key mistake that makes her less admired than Michelle Obama

  • Michelle Obama placed second in Gallup's poll of the most admired women in the US, while Melania Trump earned the No. 8 spot.

  • Trump has received backlash for wearing expensive outfits, which can make her seem out of touch with Americans.

  • Obama, meanwhile, used her fashion choices to represent social and political initiatives.

Michelle Obama trumped Melania Trump in winning over the hearts of the American people.

On Wednesday, Obama earned the No. 2 spot on Gallup's poll of Americans on the woman living anywhere in the world they admire most. 7% of the Americans polled said they admired Obama more than any other woman.

The No. 1 spot went to Hillary Clinton, whom 9% of Americans said they admired the most.

Trump, meanwhile, took the eighth spot, with 1% of Americans naming her as the woman they most admire.

As first ladies, both Trump and Obama primarily focused on nonpartisan issues — obviously, a contrast to Clinton's freedom and responsibility to address things head-on as a presidential candidate. And, for better or worse, both Obama and Trump have been judged on their public presentation as well as their social and political efforts.

The difference is that Obama found ways to use fashion to bolster her political credibility — a skill Trump is still developing.

Obama became famous for her appreciation of Target and J.Crew fashion during her time as first lady. She used fashion to appear as an accessible yet aspirational "mom-in-chief."

Obama's fashion sense was often used to symbolize her social initiatives. One of Obama's best-known acts as a first lady was establishing the White House garden in 2009. It went hand-in-hand with her efforts to reduce rates of childhood obesity, with initiatives such as the "Let's Move" campaign and school nutritional regulations.

Obama used the garden as a place to showcase her down-to-earth fashion. Vogue said in its review of Obama's 2012 book, "American Grown," that "throughout the book, the first lady, always beautifully coiffed, wears a different J. Crew sweater to match the season (marigold yellow for summer, argyle for fall)."

Trump, meanwhile, has come under fire for some of her more expensive outfits. The first lady has scaled back somewhat after her clothing choices sparked criticism (you won't spot her in another $51,000 coat), but her wardrobe is still notably more expensive and has more designer labels than Obama's.

That's not to say that the first lady is not without her supporters. Becoming Americans' eighth most admired woman in the world is nothing to sneer at, especially since Trump beat out notable names such as Kate Middleton and Beyoncé Knowles.

Still, Americans demand substance — not just style. Obama managed to use her fashion choices as a way to make a political statement.

Trump is beginning to do the same, making adjustments like adopting a disaster-zone uniform that stands in stark contrast to her typical high-fashion looks.

However, there's still a lot the first lady needs learn from her predecessor.

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