Here's how Melania showed up to appear with her predecessor:
Note the similarity in the sleeve length and the flapped over section at the top as well as the color. The colors are interestingly different, and — funnily enough — for all of Melania's matchy-matchiness* — Laura's color would have much more closely matched the Tiffany box...
... the box that led to so much awkwardness yesterday — laughed at by me here.
I ran across that picture of Laura because, in the comments at that last link, MadisonMan said:
The picture of the Obamas' arrival at the White House 8 years ago includes Michelle handing a package to Laura. Why should she have been surprised to receive something today?I still haven't found a picture of Michelle arriving with a package for Laura. I have no idea whether bringing a gift is traditional and required or bizarre and rude or somewhere in between, but I do think there is a principle of etiquette that overrides all others which is that when someone else is trying to be nice but gets something technically wrong, you do what you can to smoothly erase the appearance that anything is awry. The classic trope is Drinking the Fingerbowl. Thus, if Melania committed a faux pas, Michelle committed a worse faux pas.
* "Matchy-matchy" has been a standard fashion insult for many years, but as Maureen Dowd said in her live-chatting of the inauguration:
Matchy-matchy used to be bad but Melania may make it a trend. Coats and dresses that match, like old Doris Day movies. Monochromatic outfits that make you look tall and slim, like Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn in the “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” scene where she’s all in fuschia.ADDED: Here's the video showing that Michelle did in fact bring a gift and hand it to Laura. Watch how deftly Laura hangs onto it while keeping it out of the photo op:
Laura carries it as if she appreciates it and hands it off discreetly to an unseen person after she enters the house.