Uruguay president cries foul over lounge Suits
by FFE Beauty and Fashion News Staff
Uruguayan president Jose Mujica, a philanthropist known as the world’s poorest president, recently made waves in the UK after he expressed his distaste of lounge suits and blamed the English for imposing the use of the severe apparel worldwide.
The president said ‘We have to dress like English gentlemen. That’s the suit that industrialisation imposed on the world. Even the Japanese had to abandon their kimonos to have prestige in the world.’
But is the accusation accurate? London College of Fashion creative director Tony Glenville reveals the president who usually wears crumpled shirts might be more or less right.
The suit is said to come from the French court’s habit of wearing matching jacket and breeches. British dandies like Beau Brummell then helped transform the outfit into the suit we know today. According to the Victoria & Albert museum, the suit became a norm by the 1890s. But just how it was spread around the world remains a mystery. The Empire was one big factor, though this does not explain how the suit became a standard in certain occasions.
Glenville however clarified that the Japanese have worn their kimonos until the 20th century and are only using suits for practical purposes. He added ‘When you’re doing business you don’t want to be distracted by what someone’s wearing.’
Whether a president of the country or not, some institutions and traditions still impose visitors to wear traditional garb in certain occasions. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit for example is known for having world leaders wear traditional shirts from the host country.