Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Horrible American Fashions


“Americans are a disgusting people,” said my American husband the other day.

The sad thing is, I had to agree. If you go to the U.S. after living in Europe, you can’t help but cringe. People are fat. People are sloppy. People wear their pajama bottoms in public. (If you don’t believe me, see the above photo, taken in Naperville, IL).

Now I’m all for casual. I like baseball hats. I like sweatpants. And I don’t like the stress of worrying about what I’m going to wear to go to the supermarket. But still. There are limits, both in what should be casual and the amount of food that should be consumed.

To consider the level of casual, take an advertising agency creative director for an example. These people are notorious for taking casual to the limit.

In the U.S., a typical creative director dresses like he’s about 18 even though he’s 45. Baseball hat, untucked T-shirt, shorts, and flip flops or running shoes.

In Switzerland, a typical creative director wears a button down (tucked in), jeans, belt, and leather shoes.

Now be honest. What do you think is more appropriate? Has the American definition of casual been taken too far?

18 comments:

Stephersplatz said...

I back in Illinois and Iowa for Christmas. One of the first things I noticed in Iowa was all of the fat people. Really. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory in Des Moines. More than half of the people there were extremely overweight.
A few days later I went grocery shopping with my mom. I saw at least 3 girls wearing pj pants tucked into their Ugg boots and a few ladies wearing santa hats.

At the airport on the way back to Zurich you could spot the Americans a mile away. They were the ones in the sweatpants.

Chantal said...

Glad to hear I'm not alone in my observations! What is up with the pj thing?

Kelly said...

I agree the American casual style has been taken too far. My parents' visit last month involved a never-ending stream of comments from both of them about how well people were dressed in Europe. My mom kept saying, "it's obvious these people actually look in a mirror before they leave the house!"

Kristin said...

lol, you should come to So Cal. Here the track suit and flip flops are king. Oh, also the daisy duke's and Uggs (in 90 degree weather).
When I first started my job, the 50-year old receptionist thought it was ok if she didn't wear her shoes in the office (and not just under her desk, but walking around the office)!

Teresa said...

Chantal
Delighted to find you...all the way from my FAVORITE place in the world...in my comments today!
Thank you for coming all this way to make a comment!
I do hope we can keep in touch!
I would adore to keep in touch with someone living the life in Switzerland!
Now about those pj pants...
promise not to wear mine out today...definately know what you are talking about.
Before moving to Seattle...
we lived in a little rural town in Alabama...you can ONLY imagine!
Last night we watched the great movie "Devil Wears Prada!" Made me even think about what I wear.
People here on Bainbridge...
and in Seattle...are sporty dressers...which I love.
Staying warm is key.
Lots of REI...
fleece...you know the look!
Yes...I adored the movie Julie & Julia...but was disappointed to discover what "the real bloggers" personality was like.
It's no wonder Julia Childs didn't care for her.
I popped over to her blog and her language was not my cup of tea. But that's just me.
It was weird to discover this different personality. Would be curious about the book. Let me know!
Delighted to be in touch!
Happy Day in Switzerland!
Someday I will send you some pics to see from the ALPS!!
XXOOXX
Like you need to see pics of the alps! ha!

Chantal said...

I wonder how much more casual Americans can get after the PJ thing. Go out in just underwear? No, they're probably too prude for that.

I admit I sometimes wear pajama pants during the day. But only at my desk. I change out of them to go out in public. Unlike some people :)

M'dame Jo said...

Actually, what surprised me the most was not so much the "casual," but more the contrast between day and night. Seeing those girls shopping in sweatpants, but going out with their boobs out, tons of makeup, skirts so short they're not skirts anymore, etc., that's kind of weird for me.

Chantal said...

I guess some of them aren't trying to hide their fat after all.

Amy Mc. said...

This is a funny post and I think it also kind of depends on where you are coming from. We moved to CH from Dallas where the women, even when dressed down, have their hair and makeup done and jewelry on. I am not a native Texan and do not feel that I am too "Dallas," but I think that many of the women live up to the stereo-type. Of course you still see the occasion mom dropping their kids off at school in their warm up suit, but for the most part I feel like the women look pretty put together. While I never saw any Swiss in PJ pants or sweats, but I saw plenty out and and about with disheveled hair, clothes that did not go together, and just looked kind of sloppy. I frequently told my husband that I did not think that people looked in the mirror before they went out. Part of it could be too that I am a SAHM and those were the Swiss women that was around too. My observations of people going to work were that they were much more dressed up than Americans would be going to work. Of course now that I write this I still start seeing pj pants all over Dallas. Haha.

Chantal said...

Yeah, I think it does vary based on where you are from, and of course there are sloppy Swiss people too, but in general, I think Americans should at least call it quits with the PJ thing!

M'dame Jo said...

I guess some of them aren't trying to hide their fat after all.

Well, there's something in both the casual and the butt/boobs out that a side of me is envious of.

When I was in Cali, I saw this woman at Safeway shopping with wrist weights. I'm guessing she's wearing them to run her errands and tone her arms at the same time. Or going out with hair rolls. They just don't care. I would never dare to go out with wrist weights. And probably not even to go jogging.

Same thing with being (mildly) overweight and daring to wear tight leggings with a leopard print because you think it's cute or fun and again, not caring that people may think your ass is too big to wear such an outfit. I forbid myself wearing things that I'd like to, but think are inappropriate if you're over 52 kg.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is that I think there's something positive in there too, a freedom that we don't have here.

If I have to go to the bakery across the street on a Sunday morning, I put a coat on my PJ and I just go. It drives my boyfriend crazy, he'd rather dress and go himself than knowing that I went in PJ.

Chantal said...

Interesting comments! I know exactly what you mean about having less freedom here. I experienced that right away when I started worrying about what to wear to the grocery store. I never worried about that in the U.S. But here, I really feel like people stare at you if you dress in anything even slightly unconventional or casual.

Traveler For Good said...

Funny that you mention the pajama pants. My sister said that she got "the look" from the gas station attendant near her house for wearing her Christmas tree pants....after Christmas.

Chantal said...

Oh no! But what not...it seems that everyone is doing it!

Anonymous said...

Yes, as an American I am very distressed and almost sad at how lazy, dirty and disgusting people here have become. I dress well, and am often asked why by most people I work with and also by some friends. I feel like I'm doing something wrong by wanting to look my best. This country is steadily going downhill very rapidly.

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