Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Very funny post from David Lebovitz regarding returning to the U.S.A.

Mr. Lebovitz is the author of my favorite new cookbook "The Perfect Scoop." He is an American pastry chef living in Paris. His blog is hilarious and the observations on this list made me laugh.

My friend Sfashionista and I were just talking about some of these things the other day. I'll admit it, I don't think twice about going to the supermarket after the gym. Yes, I'm sweaty, bandana on my head but at least I'm not rolling up to Pavilions in my pajama bottoms. I have seen people at brunch wearing PJ bottoms as well.

L.A. is more casual than New York. I do remember making an effort on the East Coast. I'm not saying men need to start wearing fedoras again but this sloppy dressing has gone too far. What the hell is up with wearing flip-flops everywhere? There were some members of a women's NCAA championship team who went to their White House ceremony in flip-flops. I don't care what your politics are, you do not wear freaking beach shoes to the White House.

My sister and I talked about the "skintern" thing happening in DC. These are interns who dress like they are going to strip at Crazy Girls. I worked on Capitol Hill after college and our interns wore suits most of the time. I am positive the Congressman's Chief of Staff would have sent any intern home who walked in dressed to party.

When I went to the Ocean's 13 premiere there was a producer in dockers-ish pants and converse sneakers. He is in his late 30s. My co-worker said "he doesn't look cool, just tacky". This was a big old school Hollywood, we are shutting down Hollywood blvd. type premiere.

I crack up reading travel boards where many of my fellow Americans whine about not being allowed to dress how they want at the Vatican (no shorts, shoulders covered). Uhm, hello it's a church and you are visiting another country, respect their rules. You are not at Walmart.

I'm curious how the expats view their countrymen as tourists and what do they notice when they come back to the States?

13 comments:

Sherry said...

granted I am not an expat so can't answer your question, but I wanted to say I totally agree with your opinion on clothing, especially when it comes to tourists abroad. I noticed the dress code for churches in Italy and it struck me as totally normal. I do not need to be told not to wear shorts and a tank top to the Vatican - to do so strikes me as disrespectful. And even if it didn't, I think it is very important that you keep in mind and respect the culture of the country you are visiting. Attitudes like the ones you mention regarding wanting to dress the way we want are one of the reasons Americans are not always so well respected abroad.

sognatrice said...

Well Americans do tend to stick out when visiting my village, but most aren't actually sloppily dressed. I can't think of anyone, actually. That said, the whole shorts/visors/water bottle thing does spark a memory or two ;)

I haven't been back to the States in a few years, but I'll be sure to get back to you when I've had a chance to go and observe. Should be interesting!

Kathy said...

I'm constantly amazed by how people dress here in America (the West Coast, specifically). I see people at parties/events/etc wearing things that I wouldn't even wear to clean my house!

rose said...

Flip flops at work drive me insane, I'm the tech side...yes, we could use lessons in dressing, but it's a financial co. Definite pet peeve of mine. And if people are going to wear them to work, for goodness sake, they should get a pedicure.

As far as Americans abroad, I hit many a message board re: entire strings on how not to dress abroad. ;)

gibber said...

I will cop to wearing flip flops on Fridays to work. But I work at a laid back think tank and can get away with it, and only do it on days when we don't have any events. And I always have a pedicure!

When I'm in St. Martin I can ALWAYS spot the Americans. It's crazy. And yes, St. Martin is a hot island and i don't expect people to dress up, but it blows my mind to see people in jeans at the fanciest restaurants (and I'm not talking about nice jeans...I'm talking mom and dad jeans). Shit, at least throw on a pair of Dockers!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sherry - I totally agree.

sognatrice - I am looking foward to reading those posts.

kathy - LOL. I know!

rose - yes a pedi is very important

gibber - you are too funny. I am not a fan of mom/dad jeans. They make you look older.

Kataroma said...

I live in Rome and I've actually found that the Italy vs US dressing thing is more complex than you'd think. As I wrote on my blog recently in my experience Italian women dress less formally than American women for some occasions ie work. At my job the men wear suits and ties every single day and the (Italian) women - knee length shorts with rhinestones on them, pepso bismol pink t-shirts, yoga pants, flip flops, dangly earrings, low cut tank tops etc.

On the other hand, these same women would probably dress up for a social event - like a nice restaurant or a wedding.

As a point of comparison I moved here from New York and grew up in Sydney, Australia. New York and Sydney women dress a LOT more professionally for work than Rome women - on the average of course.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kataroma - rhinestones?! really? wow. :)

sissi said...

What stands out when american are abroad ?

Their white tennis shoes and white socks.

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

Shorts & thongs amongst all those Italian men in linen....

J.doe said...

I could comment forever about this pos. I knew that Italian women always look more elegant than their American counterparts while doing the most mundane tasks such as food shopping, but I was amazed, simply amazed when I moved back to the US after only 4 years in Italy and saw people waring pajamas and gym suit pants with slippers in the stores in public. It's beyond casual! dress like that at home-not in public! Also the shoes seem to be geared for comfort and not style. I find most of them to be ugly. In Italy the shoes are much more elegant. In fact I was a slob in Italy wearing sneakers (with laces tied)

Kataroma said...

Ummm...maybe it's because I lived in NYC but I've never seen someone supermarket shopping in pyjama pants or slippers (!!??) Why would anyone do that?

NY is a pretty diverse place fashion wise - but most people dress pretty nicely and with care- whether it be hip hop style, fashionista style or corporate style. Same in Sydney. Well, I guess Australians wear shorts a lot more than Italians do - but for work in an office Australian women would NEVER wear shorts or tank tops like they do here.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

sissi - I wear sneakers aboard but not the white clunky workout ones (uhm, I only wear those to work out in). Puma, Adidias, Nike etc. all make comfy hip sneakers for everyday walking around.

cleopanta - and loose t-shirts from a restaurant in Cabo, etc.

j. doe - I do wear track pants to run errands less often now but I never got the pjs at brunch!! come on. :)

kataroma - Yes, Los Angeles is much more casual than New York. Some of the things I wear to work here I wouldn't wear to go the market back east. LOL. If you dress up too much people ask if you have an interview or something. I gave away all my suits to charity and haven't worn one in over 6 years.