First lady Melania Trump wore a jacket that read "I really don't care, do u?" as she boarded a flight to a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents.
The green, hooded military jacket from Zara had the words written graffiti-style on the back.
When asked what message the First Lady's jacket intends to send, spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said: "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe."
Ms Grisham underscored that message in a tweet with the hashtags #SheCares and #ItsJustAJacket.
But President Donald Trump offered his own interpretation in a tweet, saying it "refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"
Mrs Trump changed into a pale yellow jacket before the plane landed in McAllen, Texas, for a visit to the Upbring New Hope Children's Centre, which houses 55 migrant children.
Like it or not, Mrs Trump's jacket had her trending on Twitter. One user borrowed an image of the back of the Zara jacket to promote groups working on behalf of immigrant children. But even after questions arose about her attire, Mrs Trump was back in the green jacket when she returned to Washington.
Zara, a Spanish-based company with a large presence in the United States and around the world, had no comment on the uproar. The jacket belongs to the company's spring-summer 2016 season.
The youthful jacket sharply contrasts with the First Lady's typically bold, foreign-flavoured wardrobe.
In public appearances, the first lady has worn designs by Dolce & Gabbana, Del Pozo, Christian Dior, Emilio Pucci, Givenchy and Valentino, often with daringly high Christian Louboutin heels.
It is not the first time the First Lady's fashion choices have caused a stir.
Last August, a pair of Mrs Trump's signature heels earned her a round of bafflement as she boarded Air Force One bound for Texas to tour devastation after Hurricane Harvey.
She had changed into white sneakers by the time she and the president landed.