Western Culture Suits Eastern Culture

October 28th, 2010 by | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

While every culture has its own unique set of fashion, suits are integral garments in every culture.  When men go to work, go for an interview, or have a meeting with important people, many around the world wear business suits that consists of a blazer, pants, collar shirt and a tie.  Leaders such as Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Wen Jiabao wear them everywhere they go.  Suits are seen as symbolism of credibility and modernity.

While suits appears to be a ‘standard’ fashion as it’s worn in many different cultures, suits actually originated from the western culture.  This is to say how the western culture is a big influence on the world.  This history goes back to the 1600’s, according to Fareed, Zakaria, author of The Post-American World, when Peter the Great of Russia determined his beliefs of what appearance is ethical in professional places:

“Peter the Great of Russia, spent months traveling through Europe, dazzled by its industries and its militaries.  Determined to learn from them, he returned home and decreed a series of radical reforms: reorganizing the army along European lines, modernizing the bureaucracy, moving the capital from Asiatic Moscow to a new, European-style on the edge of the Russian empire, which he named St. Petersburg.  He reformed the tax code and even tinkered with the structure of the Orthodox Church to make it more Western.  Men were ordered to shave their beards and wear European-style clothing.”

Zakaria explains further how western styles have become the ‘standard mode of work dress for men’:

“For men, Western clothing is ubiquitous.  Ever since armies began dressing in Western-style uniforms, men around the world have adapted Western-style work clothes.  The business suit, a descendant of a European army officer’s outfit, is now standard for men from Japan to South Africa to Peru – with the laggard (or rebel once again being the Arab world.  The Japanese, for all their cultural distinctiveness, go once step further and on special occasions (such as the swearing in of their government) wear morning coats and striped pants, the style for Edwardian diplomats in England a hundred years ago.  In India, wearing traditional clothes was long associated with patriotism; Gandhi insisted on it, as a revolt against British tariffs and British textiles.  Now the Western business suit has become the standard attire for Indian businessmen and even many young government officials, which speaks of a new post-colonial phase in India.  In the United States, of course, many businessmen in new industries dispense with formal dress altogether, adopting a casual jeans-and-T-shirt style.  This, too has caught on in some other countries, especially with younger people in technology-based industries.  The pattern remains the same.  Western styles have become the standard mode of work dress for men, signifying modernity.”

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