March 23, 2010 | fashion

Europeans Dress Better Than Americans: Fact

I stated on Twitter the other day that North Americans dress badly and it ruffled a few feathers. I don’t even see this as a debatable point. The evidence speaks for itself. Put someone from Europe next to someone from America or Canada and it’s game over. No need for discussion. However, people wanted me to explain my viewpoint, so here goes.

North American ‘style’ is lazy and unoriginal for the most part. (I did mention I was gonna ruffle a few feathers, right?) I lived in Canada and the States for years and not a day went by where I was not completely underwhelmed and unimpressed by the style choices of the majority of people there.

When I lived in New York, I found it laughable that it considered itself to be a ‘fashion capital’. Everyone dresses the same. It’s like a uniform. You can even break it down by ethnicity. Most white people wear Gap or Banana Republic and where I lived in Spanish Harlem (a predominantly black and latino neighbourhood), I was pretty much the only one not in Rocawear or Baby Phat. And before you get your knickers in a twist, I do realise that not every white, black or latino person falls into these categories.

Every outfit is a variation of jeans and T Shirts. Oh except when they go to work. For work, men will wear what they call, ‘dress pants’ (which I think is a complete oxymoron, but whatever). Show me an American man that doesn’t own at least three pairs of these and I’ll give you the £5.72 in my bank account. They’ll team that with a ‘button down shirt’ – Americans make the distinction that the shirt has buttons, because they need to know up front that it will require some effort to put it on. Like I said, North American fashion is lazy, so wearing a shirt with buttons is a big deal.

And of course, everything is ill fitting. I think the concept of tailoring has completely escaped North Americans. Mens pants are always too baggy. Naturally, American men refer to European style trousers as ‘gay’ because they are what they consider to be ‘tight’. In actuality, those are how your trousers are meant to fit. Ladies clothing on those shores never seems to hug the form correctly. But, it would require time and effort to change those things and that would infringe on the time they get to spend in their jeans and T Shirts, so why bother?

In New York I was complimented on my clothing on virtually a daily basis, probably because I put some effort into my style. But there really is no excuse to dress badly in NYC – there are boutiques selling nice clothes (which, I’d like to point out, they import from Europe), but I guess JC Penney or whatever, is easier for most people. God forbid you make a little effort or stand out from the Gap uniform!

In Toronto, I despised shopping. Everything was the same. Even boutique stores that were two doors away from each other were stocking the same dresses (which really just comes down to poor research and business skills on the part of the shop owners).

The whole theme in North America seems to be casual comfort. And, due to the growing obesity problem, there soon won’t be any other choice.

But a great deal of this is cultural. Here in England, we are lucky enough to have the rest of Europe as our playground. From a young age, we go on holidays to France, Spain or Italy and get to absorb all the different styles there. Our style is a constant fusion of what we are lucky enough to be surrounded by. Since most Americans don’t have passports, well, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with that one. Few people on the planet dress better than French women or Italian men. There’s experimentation, there’s flair and there’s a genuine desire to always look your best.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course there are people on this fair continent who are yet to master the art of style and the constant cheapening of fashion through discount stores is definitely having a negative effect on the way people dress, but that’s a whole other debate.

If North Americans are honest with themselves, their favourite designers are most likely, European. From McQueen to Missoni – we produce the best. You’ve either got it or you don’t and when it comes to fashion, we Europeans definitely have the edge.

Update: I have written a new post revisiting this topic in 2013, you can read it here

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249 Comments

steve-o

Preach it sister! As a “native” Torontonian–I couldn’t agree more. Queen Street and Bloor Street, both of our “fashion streets”, are a farce and only have declined in their choices. Europe — that’s where it’s at!

Ewa

I could not agree more! I am no fashionista by any means but compared to the things I see on this side of the pond I am really starting to wonder.

My goal in life is now to get my husband to understand that “khakis” (chinos) are not acceptable and that wearing an open “button down shirt” over a t-shirt wasn’t even fashionable in the 90’s. I could also fit two of him in the jeans he likes to wear… *sigh*

I can’t wait to go home to Sweden this summer and pick up some nice clothes for him and for me!

Smarty P. Jones

And yet, as an American who dresses for comfort because the law says I have to wear clothes, I could give a shit. *shrug* It’s true. Go ahead, *gasp* all you want. Declare it blasphemy. I don’t care. In my 27 years on this planet, I have never been “into clothes” As long as it fit and it matched, I was good.
I hate dresses, I own quite a few pairs of dress slacks and virtually no heels. *shrug* Again, it doesn’t bother me. My style, or rather the lack there of, is usually more frustrating to other people than it is to me. So this arbitrary title of “World’s Best Dressed” take it. Revel in it. It’s of no consequence to me.
I’m sure I know at least ONE American who will have much to say about this post. *grabs popcorn* This should be interesting.

ian curtis

Totally agree, I lived in toronto for a year and clothes shopping was a nightmare…

Tyrone

Fashion is overrated. You do have some valid points – guys wear their jeans too baggy, and most clothes don’t fit us right. However, most of us don’t have the time to develop an intimate relationship with a tailor, and have things constantly let out and taken in. And fancy clothes aren’t as durable or long-lasting – not when compared to a decent pair of jeans.

Truthfully, most of us Americans are out of shape, and when you’re out of shape, clothes don’t fit you as comfortably. It’s just the God’s honest truth.

And why do we need to wear tight pants? I don’t need to see the outline of anyone’s naughty bits through their pants. That is simply too much information going on.

What’s wrong with khakis? Why do we need to be dressed up all the time? Who do we need to impress? (I don’t need to be overdressed to get my work done. I sit behind a desk all day, and see almost no one.) I love jeans, sneakers, casual clothes and do wear a button-up shirt. I’ll never be a slave to fashion. It’s not worth my time or my money.

Marcus

I really like this post and it is something that I have thought about at length when I have traveled and lived abroad. I think European body types are also very different from North American body types. Especially for men. Every time I have been in London, I have noticed there are not many muscular guys. The Jersey Shore physique is just not a concern for most people. The other problem is that the United States of America is a fat country. So, wearing a form fitting shirt with a gut hanging over is just ridiculous and nasty. As a result, Americans tend to adapt down to meet their new body type. I am sure the same applies for women.

One of the other things I noticed was the idea of shopping. Europeans tend to own fewer pieces of clothing, but of far superior quality. For example, my friend in London owns 2 suits that are Armani Suits. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a friend who owns 5 suits and they are all of poor quality (buttons popping off and more).
Recently, when I was in Amsterdam, I noticed everyone who was actually from Amsterdam wearing very similar clothes, but a different style to what you see in America. The style for men was: slim fit jeans, white sneakers/trainers and a form fitting bubble coat. It was very basic, but it was still fly. That just would not work out well in America. Once again because people have a different body type.
Ironically, this is not just an American phenomenon. When I am in Brazil, I am amazed at how some men dress. I’ve never been able to wear dress shoes, shorts and a t-shirt as an outfit. That is not uncommon. Women in Brazil dress well considering the weather and all, but you also have to think about the money available to most people. A pair of Nike trainers can cost $450 reais which in some cases is as much as 50% of a person’s monthly earnings.

I agree with everything you are saying and I think this post is fantastic! One of things I love about Europe is the sense of fashion. Sometimes I wish people would add some color to their life, but hey, nobody is perfect.

Anna

Ha!

I suppose it’s the apparent lack of freedom to play around with fashion that bugs me about US style. I sometimes like nothing better than slobbing around in jeans and a top, forgetting about physicality for a bit, or embracing some aspect of it other than the aesthetic. (Like at the gym in my yucky leggings/vest combo, feeling really strong with a maximum heart rate, sometimes just what you need to feel.)

But I love being able to fall out of the house in some clashy combination of secondhand, vintage and high street and feeling fun and expressive, rather than thinking I’m violating some predefined dress code. I live in Liverpool and the style covers all bases. Yes, you’ve got your WAGabes, lazy sportswear and the girls who look like they were dragged through the Topshop racks by their ankles, but lots of people really mix it up and, rather than simply following current trends, I feel far more freedom to play with every style I can think of.

The States is generally suffering from a high school hangover and obsession. The attitudes and atmosphere of school seems to inform so much of the culture. Of course most cliques or groups have their unspoken rules, not just looks-wise, but here the range seems vast. Money limits you but there are some great charity shop opportunities.

What’s extra refreshing is that, in such a youth-centric culture, I see tonnes of people in their 50s, 60s and older who like having fun with their clothes as well. I have a friend in her 90s who goes everywhere in elaborate hats and velvet capes.

I mourn the loss of attitude. Surely it was there once. America in the 60s and 70s… come on! Did the Reagan/Bush years knock it out of everyone?

Ha Ha Sound

Um, you could not be more wrong.

Haven’t you ever seen Miami Vice? Or Pee-Wee Herman?

xoxoxo
HHS

Nicole

This continent does absolutely suffer from severe lack of style imagination. Casual has become the norm and any outfit that could be considered “dressy” or “put together” is regarded with suspicion. It can’t have always been this way – I’m sure the stylists on Mad Men haven’t completely fabricated a time period when people took pride in what they wore.

That being said (and despite your personal disappointment), I think Toronto does offer the aspiring style icon some decent shopping options – if you know where to look. I always get tonnes of compliments when I wear a lovely piece by local designers Damzels in This Dress and, if I had the funds, I’d be buying up pretty much everything in the Greta Constantine line. On the international side, hometown boys Dean & Dan Caten have made Dsquared2 one of the most respected and covetable labels in the fashion industry.

Of course, cost is a legitimate concern but there are always options like Holt Renfrew Last Call and even good old ebay to score high end, well-made pieces at considerably discounted prices. How we convince the overweight, suburbanite mall-rats to get on board is another matter entirely.

Nats

Love this post and certainly a topic close to my heart.

I love fashion and looking good – I recognise that this isnt everyones top priority (but it is important to me and i make no apologies for taking pride in my appearance). During my year of living in New York the vocal comments that people would make varied from daily compliments to straight ‘hating’. I overheard countless times women (in their baby phat uniform) making comments like ‘its not that serious’ and ‘this aint no fashion show’ etc simply because I dared to be different and didnt think it was very becoming to wear red earrings, a red belt, red shoes a red bag AND a top with red accents (wht is with that match matchy stuff?).

Americans can chose to dress as they wish (it is hard breaking and amuzing to watch all at the same time)however I found it to be a bloody cheek that said ‘matchy clothes and accessory’ wearers feel it is OK to pass their unwanted opinions on a topic that they are so very obviously clueless about!

Michelle

You are totally bang on with this one, if that hideous uniform we had to wear was any indication (shudder as a I remember it). It was always a joy to watch you come in every day in the first few weeks rocking your fabulous fashion sense…before you were forced to conform like the rest of us. Wearing crap like that was one of the top 5 reasons I couldn’t work there anymore!

Brian

I’ve said for years (dating back to high school) that jeans aren’t that comfortable, it’s no more difficult putting on nice clothes than crappy ones. You just have to care. I own two pair of khakis, one for yard work, one for warm weather. So many guys look like over-grown teenagers. This whole “I have to be comfortable” thing is overrated. How uncomfortable are tailored wool pants? or a “button down” shirt over a sweater?

Bulls@#*. Most of us man a desk, not a front loader. Business attire is the uniform for us desk jockeys. And it’s not hard to look nice and be comfortable, you just have to care.

Irene

Listen you British Bitch…

ah…I’ve got nothing to combat what you said cause sadly, its the truth. There are many valid reasons that I think we are this way, but I am too lazy to go into them right now.

I would love to dress fantastically all the time, but the truth is this – I’m fat, poor, and mom to a toddler and I live a boring life. I don’t need to dress up.

I am totally into clothes though. If I had the body and the money to shop the way I wanted to, everything I’d own would probably be European.

Oh, just shut up with your facts and shit. Take that where? Back there!

*wink*

C-Dreamer

I would have to disagree with you. You do have some valid points, but you have failed to look back at the fashion scene in America over the past 50 years. I strongly suggest that you google or search for pictures of American fashion from the 50s to present date and you will be blown away. You would see that Americans did in fact wear tight jeans, tight shirts, and custom made outfits and that is still true to this very day. America is the richest country in the world and we pick and choose fashion based on how we feel, look, experiences, and how think clothes look on others people. America is the only place where you can take anything and make it look good. American’s can take the European look and make it work, but Europeans can’t do the same. It doesn’t fit them. That’s is why American’s fashion is so diverse and dynamic. Now, with all that said I do agree that many people do dress alike in many areas, because everyone wants to be cool and fit in. That is an on going problem these days. It would seem that in a land where everyone wants individual freedoms, they would also want to dress differently from one another. Well that is the time we live in. Again, I would argue that Europeans do not dress better than American when you look at the overall fashion of both lands.

V/R

C-Dreamer

Susan

Totally agree with you, Bangs!! Unfortunately, however, I have to strongly disagree with some of the things C-Dreamer said…

“America is the only place where you can take anything and make it look good”
– Ever been to Paris? Or Milan? Or London? Clearly not if you believe this incorrect and outlandish statement.

“American’s can take the European look and make it work, but Europeans can’t do the same. It doesn’t fit them”
– I could be mean and take a dig at the American obesity problem being the reason American clothes don’t fit Europeans….. but I won’t. Instead, I’ll refer you to what I said above: Paris, Milan, London.

“American’s fashion is so diverse and dynamic”
– Maybe to Americans, but not to Europeans. Like you said yourself, lots of people (particularly young people) dress alike in the States… clones are neither diverse nor dynamic.

“Europeans do not dress better than American when you look at the overall fashion of both lands”
– I am honestly shocked that anyone would believe this. European fashion is so much more dynamic, innovative, creative, impressive, and totally original… and if we really look at the “overall fashion of both lands” this is blatantly obvious.

To conclude, a short list of the most creative, inspiring fashion designers of all time (ALL of whom are European): Coco Chanel, Donatella Versace, Stella McCartney, Diane von Fürstenberg, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen…

Kate

Anna Wintour is to blame for North American females dressing badly. That Brit, I tell ‘ya 🙂

Perry Paris

Hey lovely, Canadian faggot here (love you M.C.C.!!!!), and I think it’s fiction. Yes T-dot is blah, such a boring city as is most of Ontario. Concrete and dull as hell. New York is overrated, but we have our own thing going on over here. Montreal is fucking hot, perhaps the North American Mecca for fashion …(but then again, it is a very European city) and Vancouver, perhaps the cleanest city of the north with the trendiest and finest of everything. Yes Paris, London & Mulan have the biggest names in design, but I am sure that most people don’t go to work in an Alexander McQueen or Vivian Westwood gown. I wouldn’t be caught dead making Salvatore Ferragamo my everyday footwear, that shit is for looking fine! Maybe it’s the gay in me, but I can assure you, my ass looks tight in my pants, my shoes are polished, and my ties are Hermes. But then again…I am probably the exception…it is only Halifax! On another note, I work in esthetic and restorative dentistry. I know I am going to ruffle some feathers here….but, perhaps I am wrong about my thoughts with respect to European vs North American fashion, but I do know, I am right with respect to Western world dentistry. FACT: North Americans have better teeth!

Caress Lepore

As one of the most fashionable people in the world lmao I would have to agree. I am from Georgia and I cringe looking at people dress here. Everyone always looks at me all crazy because I refuse to look like everyone else. And no you don’t have to spend an assload of money to look nice trust me I know because as much as I want every piece Balmain and Alexander McQueen makes I can’t afford it but I know I would fit right in in Europe. All you have to do is open a magazine or look on the internet it’s not that hard people. American’s we have to do better.

Claire

Love it.

I am always fascinated by people who say they don’t care about fashion. Caring about fashion is different from being interested in what is happening in the fashion industry. Everyone should care about putting effort into how they dress, at least 50% of the time – minimum. I don’t mean spending a lot of money, or trying to keep up with trends, but dammit, people who dress in any old rag are not rebelling against anything but their own sense of self-worth. There are hicks in caravans all over the world who consider their flannel shirt & overalls combo before they put it on, so stop kidding yourselves.

New Zealand is terrible with fashion as well. I shouldn’t bash my homeland but I had no idea how to dress well until I came to London. I see pictures of school friends who live back home and they have not changed their style since we were doing exams together. I visited home after more than three years living in London, shopping money in hand (and OH that exchange rate!) only to come out with NOTHING. Not a single item. There are few high street stores and the they all sell the same thing. Which is what they were selling in London, circa 2001. Not good. If I dressed in my London clothes back home, people would either think I was a style guru (which I’m not) or would whisper snidely behind their hands that I clearly thought I was hot shit (which I am).

So I agree with your point. London and Europe are, if anything, ahead of the game in regards to fashion, and even more importantly, are more open-minded in regards to personal style. I remember being excited when I moved to London and realised I could wear a hat without people mocking me. Now I realise I could wear anything I wanted and nobody would bat an eyelid.

Thanks to this freedom I have now developed a personal style of my own, and to prepare for the day when I return to my home shores, I am learning to make my own clothes. It’s the only way I’ll not lose my mind.

C-Dreamer

LOL Susan,

I actually live in Italy and I have been here for two years and I have been up and down Italy, I have been to Paris several times, as well as London, Munich, and Barcelona. To go into more details, Americans just don’t pick clothes, they invision the clothes through the whole process, from the pants, to the shirt, to the shoes, and right down to the accessories. Everything has to go together, match, coordinate, flow with eachother. Now, with that said not all Americans do this, but the majority do, especially individuals with fashion scense. I would give it to you that most of the top designers are European, but they thrive because of the huge market that the US provides them. My case in point. LVMH received 23% of its revenue from sales in the United States in 2008[3], the largest proportion from any single country. from http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/LVMH_Moet_Hennessy_L.V._(LVMUY) just in case you want to do your own research. Gucci Division – Fourth Quarter Results

During the fourth quarter, Gucci Division achieved an impressive increase in revenues worldwide.

Break-down by geographic area: In the United States, revenues increased by 17.2% boosted by an increase of 27.9% in United States mainland retail sales. Overall, net revenues in Europe were up 12.8%, due primarily to a 12.5% increase in retail sales (up 17.6% on a constant currency basis) on the back of strong local demand as well as of increased tourism driven by the favorable US Dollar/Euro and Yen/Euro exchange rates. from http://www.nove.firenze.it/vediarticolo.asp?id=a0.03.23.08.03. So, if Americans can’t dress or then I guess we need to stop buying Prada, Gucci, Versace, etc……. Needless to say, American’s provide more revenue streams of many Europeans best fashion products, because we indeed dress better than Europeans. Which in fact makes us more diverse and more dynamic. Well the facts don’t lie, so if you come up with some facts Susan to support your case, then I will yield and accept defeat.

V/R

C-Dreamer

Frenchie

this is one of the generalizing posts that i hate so much. yes i live in the US.. i’ve seen some of the atrocities you speak of. also, some of my favorite brands are european..

everything i’m saying supports your argument doesn’t it?

i’m american.. i have great taste in fashion.

fuck you!

x3

Susan

Dear C-Dreamer,

I don’t think I need to back up my own personal opinion with facts and figures… but I will say that this post is about dressing better, not spending more money on clothes. You may (or may not) be aware that America is pretty highly populated… more people = more money to spend on clothes. However spending a large amount of money does not equate fashion diversity… the most fashionable people are those that can walk into Primark and walk out looking like catwalk models. Oh, and for future reference, you should probably try to find your facts and figures from somewhere a bit more reliable than Wikipedia…

Sincerely,
Susan

C-Dreamer

Susan,

You made my point, you made a point about the top designers are European and I do not disagree with you, but since you made that point, I just wanted to say well if they are the top designers and Americans buy most of their products, then Americans can clearly dress, if in fact we are wearing some of the world’s most finest designs. That’s all. I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Well we will not budge on our opinions, maybe the next post my bring about common ground or maybe not. With that said Americans still dress the best.

V/R

C-Dreamer

PS to all of those Americans denying the fact that Americans dress better than Europeans, need to pack up and leave the greatest country in the world. LOL. J/K

Bangs and a Bun

STEVE – Amen!

EWA – Ahh trust me, I feel your pain of being a European living in North America and having to deal with the clothes. It ain’t easy!

SMARTY – Yeah, I can’t get my head around how anyone can say they don’t care about their appearance. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

IAN – Especially for a trend setter like you!

MAMUJE – Word!

TYRONE – I hear you. I’m not saying people have to be dressed up all the time, there’s just certain ways to finesse an outfit and I feel we do that better in Europe.

MARCUS – Couldn’t agree with you more. And you’re very observant!

ANNA – That’s a very good way of describing American fashion actually ‘a high school hangover’ – haha!

HAHA – Ahh damnit, you got me!

NICOLE – You’re right, it’s true there are some cool designers out of Toronto, but it’s just a shame that they’re not promoted in the right way. Not enough people are wearing them, everyone’s just relying on the default uniform.

NATS – I was right there with you and I KNOW you speaketh the TRUTH!

MICHELLE – I hear ya sister! I totally styled out the uniform though, accessorized the shiznit out of it to the point it didn’t even look like a uniform anymore!

BRIAN – Will you marry me?

IRENE – Bwahahahahaha! LOVE YOU!

SUSAN – I love you and couldn’t agree with you more!

KATE – Haha!

PERRY – Well hey there sweetcheeks! I agree, Montreal is pretty rockin’ with their fashion. And you’re right, not everyone over here is rollin’ up to work in designer gear, but as you know, fashion isn’t about designers. I don’t need to wear couture or labels to have a sense of style. Style isn’t about money or what designer you wear. But yeah, I’m with ya 100% on the teeth thing! 😉

CARESS – Just another reason why I love you.

SHANDYYYLAND – Yay!

CLAIRE – I have no idea how you’re gonna cope when you go back to New Zealand. Should I send you care packages with the latest trends in?

SIMPLEELEGANCE – Every country has their own kind of uniform to a degree.

FRENCHIE – Haha! LOVE YOU!

SUSAN – Again, I love you!

Susan

Cher C-Dreamer,

Clearly you didn’t read my last comment at all. I didn’t deny that the US buy a large amount of (mostly European) designer clothing, I actually agreed with that statistic, as the US is FAAAAAR larger than any European country and thus has a greater buying power.

However, I did say that fashion is NOT brought about by spending a lot of money on clothing. In fact, the least fashionable people are those that buy ridiculously overpriced clothing, but are totally incapable of customising anything. MONEY CANNOT BUY YOU FASHION SENSE AND THAT IS WHERE MOST AMERICANS GO WRONG!!!

I hate to say it, but you sound like a stereotypical, ignorant, clueless American in all your posts, regardless of where you live. You need to chill out and realise that criticising American fashion is not criticising America, as a country – merely its style, which leaves a lot to be desired.

Also, I would really think twice before stating that America is the greatest country in the world, because that is clearly not true… far from it.

I doubt I’ll be replying to anymore of your unintelligent, unfounded, inconsistent comments – I have better things to do with my time. I realise that you are stubborn and will not accept that your arguments don’t have any basis. Feel free to continue believing that fashion sense and spending power are interlinked… I am totally uninterested!!

Have a nice life,
Susan

ps: Bangs and a Bun – I love you right back 🙂 xxx

C-Dreamer

LOL, Susan,
I would strike back in reference to your petty comments, but in true American fashion I will let it slide. You’re dead on, money can’t buy you fashion sense, but I guess money can’t make up the lack of fashion sense Europeans have also. I give two examples and I’ll move on. I have been around Europe for quite some time now and I can’t figure out why Europeans love showing their plumbers cracks. It’s not sexy and it’s downright disgusting. Moreover, with all of the fitting clothes, Europeans definitely lack curves. I mean it like watching a re-run of sponge bob square pants all over again, because Europeans are square to the tenth degree. I think what you guys (not designers), but commoners actually equate to fashion sense is off center and you really need to walk around town and take a real good look at the locals in your city and think twice before you say Europeans dress better than Americans. Walk around your shopping malls or spend a few minutes at the local cafe, or go to a football match, and you will see what I see every day in Italy. The same shit every day. Nothing new, nothing outstanding, and definitely nothing to make you say “damn that’s a nice outfit I wonder where that person bought that from.” With that said much love to you and your opinions. Oh, I’m definitely having a thrill of a lifetime staying ahead of the recession and experiencing everything the world has to offer. I hope you and everyone else are doing the same. Ciao!

V/R

C-Dreamer

Irene

Susan,

it’s comments like this:

“you sound like a stereotypical, ignorant, clueless American in all your posts”

that is gonna make people ignore your argument. I don’t agree C-Dreamer, but taking it there was so unnecessary.

Irene

Oh, and btw c-dreamer

Shut up with that “greatest country in the world” bullshit. You’re making us intelligent Americans look bad.

That is all.

Bella

C-Dreamer.

Facts and figures to back up an opinion, NOT an argument mind! = Interesting!

Allow me to introduce myself.
Top Tier Exec for LVMH Group. International Commercials. Based between London & NY.

Your opinion is wholly misinformed, largely due to the fact that you are unable to clearly decipher our territorial fiscal breakdown.

You research and argument was long yet shallow; packed with seemingly fascinating facts & bumpf, which when not explained on a competent standard industry level, is much like expecting that hollow Easter egg to be filled with delights only to find out that alas, it is not.

Fashion forecasting / analysing is simply not your forte. Please refrain from attempting to school the masses with general public info, which is backed by acres of further, more specific info.

Isabelle

Catmandu

My,my . . . this is an interesting discussion. I am an American and done quite well for myself, with several successful ventures. Money is not an issue. However, for the most part, I could care less about my clothes and what I wear – unless, of course, it counts (i.e., when traveling within the “seen and need to be seen” crowd). I love to wear baggy sweats, T-shirts (yes, T-shirts, but I detest T-shirts that must advertize some awful or ridiculous statment or joke), boots baseball caps (pull-eaze, NOT backwards). Oh, yeah, did I mention military wear as well? Blue jeans are a staple. I have nice Italian suits, tailored perfectly, but I like the uber-casual look and feel. The beauty of it is that I don’t give a flying rat’s behind what anyone thinks! Am I the quintessential down-dressed American? Don’t know, don’t care. I am happy, successful and live and dress the way I want and that is all that counts as far as I am concerned. Lovies to all.

akilah

Well, I love fashion and having good fashion sense (I’m american) and I would love to see the men I work with dress like our co-workers from London. i swear I wanna call each of them Tom Ford cause they look that hawt when they show up…lol but I’ve also noticed they didn’t care about their teeth as much as their clothes (o_O). Great post by the way 😉

C-Dreamer

Ciao Bella,

Wow, I would go on to guess that being a Top Tier Exec for LVHM Group is a sweet gig. Congrats, but if you are truly a Top Tier Exec, then I’m sure you see the figures of revenues that streams through your company. With that said, I know without a shadow of doubt that the overwhelming majority of revenues that stream through your country is generated from the United States of America. If I am wrong then prove it. On another note, I forgot in my last post. I notice that Susan said American population is much greater than Europe and that is why our purchasing power goes along way. Not true. Europe combine boast a population over 700 million, but if I want to keep it simple France, Italy, England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and for the fun of it Portugal combined have about 313 million. The British pound and the Euro, I think that is the top two currencies in the world, so I think the buying power is on the Europeans side. Back to fashion Bella, I am really interested in reading your opinions about fashion and who you think dress the best without being bias. Well I will be waiting, because I’m sure you will come up with some fascinating opinions that will tickle my fancy. Oh, Irene I said what I said and meant it, I guess you must have a 4.0 GPA, because dumb little C-Dreamer‘s 3.8 GPA and his comments doesn’t makes the rest of the intelligent Americans look bad by himself. That’s without saying the United States 18th place education system isn’t to blame for why other countries think Americans are ignorant or those crazy left and right loons that fill the TV screen everyday with bogus claims. C’Mon Irene you make American’s look bad when you don’t know the difference from humor or just having friendly banter with each other.

V/R

C-Dreamer

Irene

C-Dreamer,

First off, is it: “I said what I said and meant it” or is it: “you don’t know the difference from humor or just having friendly banter”? You can’t have it both ways. You either meant exactly what you said or you were joking around. Pick a direction and stick to it.

Secondly, was your 3.8 GPA earned at the school of ‘I’m too stupid to get into a real college because if I did I would know that it’s “the difference between” and not “the difference from”.’ Your language skills are laughable, at best. And yes, I know the difference BETWEEN typos and just plain STUPID.

Thirdly, your knowledge of, well, everything, appears to come from the #1 junior high school resource – Wikipedia. As you grow up and become an adult, you will find that Wikipedia is not an acceptable source of information in the real world.

I am done with you.

#thatisall

Thirdly, your 3.8 GPA must have

C-Dreamer

LOL! Susan,

Great comeback, but you’re lacking your lame GPA, because you can’t honestly say that you even came close to a 4.0 or a 3.8 GPA. LOL. I’m not perfect, but I can say that my Business Management degree with a concentration in information technology hanging on my wall at home says much about me and my language skills my friend. Oh, I did go to “I am too stupid to get into a real college” (Newberry College). Check it out and think again.

V/R

C-Dreamer

The Jaded NYer

Did the Madonna fans join in the discussion? LMAO!!

My 2cents? I don’t care about all this subject at all. As long as my clothes fit and are clean I could care less if it’s a pair of jeans from the dollar store or a ready-to-wear Nicole Miller. I can appreciate high fashion and I even used to write about it *waves at Irene* but it’s not a priority in my life.

If I could, I’d wear my flannel pjs and furry socks everywhere. I’d ALWAYS rather be comfortable than fashionable. *shrugs*

le fist

Darling, style is obsolete. Majority of people dress the same, be it in Paris, London, Milan or New York. Also, let’s get one thing clear. New York isn’t America, London isn’t England, Milan isn’t Italy and Paris is most definitely not France. City’s have pockets of the style conscious but the idea of French Chic and Italian Polish is a myth. The French, especially the women, play up to vacuous cliches. Their saving grace is that they invest in good basics that work well together. They need to be perceived as in control. End result – stuck in a 50’s/ 60’s time warp where Serge Gainsbourg croons, Yves Saint Laurent stitches and Catherine Deneuve plays dirty with a Galuoise. Obvious.

Italian women vary between dressing like “whores” or like lesbians – Versace vs Armani.They also have access to discount outlets so they can buy old stock and look expensive. Italians are obsessed with two things. Eating and looking “Lusso” – luxuirous. Trust me, I lived there for over 5 years. The men are like sheep. Notice how if a puffa jacket is deigned the “It” jacket then every man, woman or child will sport it. Well dressed? Sort of. Unimaginative, un huh.

Now for the Brits. I’m British too so I guess I can speak with some authority on this. Eccentric? Oh, please. Cheap? Bang on the money. People are so obsessed with looking cool and different they all end up looking like one another. Take a trip down to Hoxton and see the sea, haha, of lumberjack shirts [guys], leggings and flats [girls – and some guys!]

This concept is tired. Style is becoming extinct save for a few mavericks that could live anywhere in the world. Absolutely anywhere. As for the rest, its just one big ole generic mosh pit of ubiquity. Amen!

lefistnoir.wordpress.com

Bella

Mr Dreamer,

You insist on this nonsensical argument, and I don’t know who exactly you think you are but – with respect – I am not obliged to explain anything to you when it is very clear that you are not capable of grasping, furthermore regurgitating basic published figures.

You appear to be rather out of your depth here. Perhaps because one would define you – in research terms – as being something of a ‘spectator’, who’s real extent to which you invest in our global brands, typically does not and would not stretch beyond a bottle of Moet or Hennessy. Who knows?!

In any case, whilst I find it wholly unnecessary to expand further on public records, I would like to draw your attention to the obvious reasons why your fact-finding mission is elementary at best.

1) You are quoting BASE revenue figures from 2008, which was collated in mid Q3 of the said fiscal year. Obviously this was the exact point which we call the pre-recession quarter. It is now 2010, figures for the last several quarters paint a more realistic picture of the market and our revenue, so it goes without saying that you’d have been more accurate demonstrating your opinions with more up-to-date figures FOR A START!

2) Out of the 23% Revenue sales from the US (plgs 2008), which you attempt to discuss, do you ACTUALLY know what is the exact % of those sales which are attributed to fashion clothing (not including leather goods which are bags, wallets and such) items ALONE? No you don’t because those very specific figures are NOT published in its entirety to the public which is why it is grouped with Leather Goods for general research purposes. I believe this is the particular piece of information you would need to discuss your opinion, which you were hoping to make into a point.

Finally, if you are really very interested in reading my opinion of fashion and who I think dresses the best, I think it would be very fitting to begin with the breakdown and critique of YOUR style in the first instance. I’m sure you’ll be VERY happy to provide a photograph of yourself in your finest threads or just everyday attire since I’m confident that for all your talking you must be an incredibly sharp dresser who won’t mind the world lining him up against the wonderful Tom Ford for best dressed male award.

Well, we’ll be waiting, because I’m sure you’ll come up with some very fascinating reasons and opinions that will surely tickle OUR fancy!

Ciao, ciao –

Isabelle

Michelle

Oh, honey, you just sound like you were having the homesick/culture shock combo to contend with while in the US. For the rest, dear, I’ve been to the UK. I’ve seen the same spectrum there as I’ve seen here in the US. Chavs and yob culture? Right. Less said the better, huh? Ruins your argument. Also, take a gander at lookbook- yeah- seems to me that teens and twenty-something the world over (even in the US) seem to be into the same trends. I walk out my door on any day and I see all sorts of folks that dress all sorts of ways. Some dress well and some don’t.

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HM

C-Dreamer besides your obvious delusional views on American fashion, you appear to have a very limited appreciation and understanding of LVMH, when you quote that 23% of their sales came from the USA this is a little misleading. LVMH is a conglomerate, which in case you don’t understand means that it owns multiple luxury brands in fact over 60. These range from hard luxury such as watches and jewellery to soft luxury (fashion/clothing) and more diverse luxury such as Wine and yachts. (Brands include: Dior, Tag Heuer, Hublot, Louis Vuitton, Jaeger-LeCoultre)

Therefore your quoted 23% is not all derived from fashion sales. If you dissect the fashion element of their revenue you will find for example that in 2009 sales for Louis Vuitton (fashion and leather goods) in the US was 18% this is the same as Japan. Europe makes up 29% with Asia principally China constituting 28% of their sales. 8% of LV sales are made in France given how small the French population is compared to the US it puts things in perspective in terms of how few Americas buy Fashion.

This also applies to Gucci Group who themselves own multiple brands.

Cubano

I couldn’t agree more with this post. I recently moved to Toronto from Europe and hate shopping for clothes here. If on a rare occasion you do end up finding something decent for a reasonable price you never end up finding a size that fits properly. Everything tends to be a baggy fit. The clothes that are nice here happen to be European and very over priced.

L.

I just think it’s funny how the article talks about how a lot of Americans don’t care enough about how they look, and then two or three Americans post comments here saying they don’t care about how they look. LOL. Point proven…hysterical.

Attic Rat

Fashion is an illusion, and it has been since the dawn of time. Why should I pay more to wear someone else’s opinion of what looks good?

Go pose in front of your own mirror. Enjoy yourself.

Annice Shipp

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Charles

I totally agree. I do my best to look very nice every day here in New York and people look at me like I’m from Mars. Everyone, both men and women, look lazy and they look like they just don’t care about themselves. Being a straight man, I have actually been told that if a women here sees a man who’s well groomed and dresses well, they will think hes gay. Please, someone save me from this city.

Damage

I definately agree with you here.
I’m from London, so I’m surrounded by a myriad of different styles. When I visit family in Canada, I’m genuinely pleased every time I see someone who isnt wearing Hollister, American Eagle or Abercrombie and Fitch. And of course I get stared at, even though the outfits I take with me tend to be pretty tame by London standards.
although I do occasionally see someone in more daring outfits, and I make the effort to stop them on the street and compliment their outfit because I think they deserve it, surrounded by people who may not necessarily appreciate their style.
xx

Jonathan Ocscar

First of all dear European. Sorry to burst your jealous bubble but we Americans have nothing at all to prove. You wear what make you feel comfortable and so do we. Americans are not exactly European and or African. Americans are a quite mixed group. Very exotic and born gorgeous. There is no need to put clothes in such high priorities. We have other things to concern ourselves with like personal hygeine. So why is it that you guys bath so infrequently?? Why is it that you all use less deodorants, yet love to ride the TGV and other public transportation. Judge not lest ye be judged is what I live by. Get a clue buddy!!

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Springing Forward with Style!

[…] known as the “lazy pants” for Americans, and that is pretty sad. I recently read this article written by Bangs and a Bun, and I have to say that at first I was rather offended. But then I took a step back, looked at my […]

kristy

A-FREAKIN’-MEN! someone sent me this article and asked for my opinion and i’m practically beside myself with giddiness.

i was born in america, i grew up in california, i lived in new york for five years before moving to milan and now i’m back in new york. by nationality, i’m greek. and when i was young, i lived in greece for several years.

so i’ve seen this FIRST HAND. when i returned from greece and started going to school in california again i was ABUSED by all my fellow classmates in their white tees and too-short jean shorts because i wore cute little ensembles with *gasp* PATTERNS! and COLORS! everyone in school looked the same and i was harassed so badly, i think to this day i still have difficulty with patterns.

when people call new york “the epicenter of fashion” i get so ticked off. in milan i was CONSTANTLY inspired by the fashion of others. in new york, finding someone who looks halfway decent is a challenge. i’ve been trying to capture more pictures fashionable passerbys lately and am truly shocked by how difficult that is. i thought that maybe i just wasn’t looking hard enough. often times, the people i find to take pictures of i later hear are speaking a foreign language.

there are definitely some americans who have great style. but overall, i think you hit the nail on the head. =)

Kristy Eléna – Full Time Fabulous
Vogue Gone Rogue
Twitter: @kristyelena

Follow Full Time Fabulous on Bloglovin’

Mulika

I am biased being UK based but I think what the North America market does best is to allow itself to influenced by style the way we do it but diluted to fit the sensibility of the masses, masses that don’t feel comfortable being different. And what we Europeans do not mind being is DIFFERENT.

In Europe we are all about how different we are as a make-up whereas America is united in its mono-vision view…Maybe American are programmed to be not as fabulous as we, their European counterparts!!

Mulika
http://www.mycapaciousbottega.com
Twitter.com/mulika

THE-LOUDMOUTH

I think this post is amazing and I completely agree with you! I’m a born-and-bred American from the Midwest, which is known as the most conservative and unstylish area of the country… and I was given strange looks if I wore a skirt. Um, sorry that I want to look good!? I moved to Los Angeles, and it’s much better here, but still…

I don’t understand why people are taking offense to this, honestly. Just because you’re not fashionable doesn’t mean you’re not smart or pretty or have other things to offer. This is a statement about fashion, not one’s character.

And for people that are complaining that they don’t have the money to dress well — unless you are homeless and living on the street and only have one outfit, there are plenty of secondhand and vintage shops where you can get amazing-looking clothes for cheap. Or borrow something from somebody! We all have friends… right?

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[…] bangs and a bun – Europeans Dress Better Than Americans: Fact: This is, I hope, the first of many Link Love submissions by Madison of Fashion Tales! She decided to nominate the post because “the lovely Muireann elaborated on her viewpoint of European style vs. American, and though she raised some great points, it was even more interesting to also read the comments/feedback left on this post by others.” I tend to agree with much of what the author said. How about you? […]

AJ Salu

Wow no idea how I came across this.
I only have two things
1) how much money does fashion make me?
2) why would I care what you think of me?

Just to add on it… You do not have to be fit for the cloths to fit proper
Guys – tailor all your pants even dress slacks and buy the right size belt
Ladies – if you don’t have the body then give it up or the fat

I really don’t care what people put on…. Less self and spouse. I do however not care for people who dress to unimpress.

College in USA = anti-christ of Fashion

Shorts, flip flops and a T-shirt, that’s the Californian “style”, if you call that a style.
Why do you think American girls LOVE Euros and American guys DESPISE them and call them “gays” ?
The simple answer is because most Euros know how to dress, and women in general love it when a men knows what to wear. It shows confidence and manhood. Now ask yourself, why do euros get 100000x more ass than americans, no matter what country they are in ? 😉

William

Liked the article, but a button down shirt refers to collars that literally button down. It has nothing to do with how it fastens.

Laura Kennedy

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Tom

THE EXPRESSION IS ‘I COULDN’T CARE LESS’ NOT ‘I COULD CARE LESS’. SOOOO ANGRYYYYYY!

Azngirl

I’m an Europhile so I agree with your sentiments. America is a much younger country so it lacks the hundreds of years of culture, upbringing and style Euros possess. Many Americans define themselves through their jobs so the “uniform” look is not surprising. We also dress for comfort much more so than our European counterparts. Whereas in Italy, for example, you wouldn’t be caught dead not looking put together. You are judged by your clothing and how you carry yourself.

Katherine

I’d just been half-joking to my sister that I wanted a European woman to dress me because they all seem so much more capable of putting together a great look.

Go-Go Rach (@gogorach)

So TRUE!

Americans are lazy and FAT! It’s embarrassing! I have been known to wear jeans, tee shirts and flip flops on occasion, but I do love my scarves, dresses, hose and fancy shoes when I have reason to wear them, which is less and less these days!

Vegas was a fun city because I got to dress up all the time. Now that I am in the south, I find myself over-dressed more often than not, even in a jean skirt! It’s a bit, um, SAD!

I do have an open invite to move to LONDON whenever I decide to do it! The thought crosses my mind on a daily basis. Hmmm…

I love your style and willingness to tell it how it is! xoxo

Mary

In Europe personal dignity includes dress, in America no. There’s a deeper cultural difference here than stated.

Few people can afford tailored clothing. At least I know I can’t. It is even more difficult to find classy,comfortable women’s footware, and that forces more women to wear pants instead of dresses.

FormerExpat

Oh puhleeze.

British girls dress like a magpie’s nest. The more sparkly and gaudy, the better. They love to show off their muffin tops and ghastly pale beer bellies. Their trousers are far too tight, but that’s a hundred times preferable to the skirts far too short for the stumpy orange fake bake legs. They think spending 10 quid on the latest rip-off from Primark makes them fashionable, and race around trying to follow trend after trend instead of stopping to consider whether that clothing item actually, y’know, suits their body or coloring.

For all that is holy, Brits obsessively worship WAGs as fashion role models. Y’all are responsible for the terror that is Posh Spice Beckham – we rejected her in the States. Not to mention your gagging over Jordan/Katie Price. Case closed.

Brits may go to Europe but they stick out like sore thumbs. They aren’t fashionable at all compared to the French, Italians or Spanish. And, sorry, sweetie, but Missoni – who just sold out Target – is Italian, not British. I’ll give you that Italians dress well. Brits, HA! The sense of national style is as rotten as your teeth.

When I went on a tour of Champagne with a British group, my husband and I were the only ones who dressed up for an evening out and didn’t wear black socks with our (American, natch, because the Brits make rubbish sports gear) trainers. (We were also the only ones who spoke French, and didn’t point at the menu and loudly say, “Which one means steak then?”)

And let’s talk grooming. Americans know how to take care of themselves. Our nails are polished, our toe nails too, our skin is exfoliated, our hair shiny. Oh, and we don’t smell like a barnyard because we aren’t afraid of showers and deodorant. Seriously, Brits & certain other Europeans, it’s the 21st century. Indoor plumbing and personal hygiene have been invented, there’s no need to emulate the Dark Ages. And our teeth – well, some stereotypes are exist for a reason. I could always pick out American girls on the Tube just because their skin glowed with health. That’s probably because they weren’t binge drinking down the pub and puking on the street for two hours straight the night before.

Americans aren’t afraid to be comfortable. And we aren’t so massively insecure that we need to have seen our outfit in Grazia or Look before buying it. We don’t need Sir Philip Green deciding that Kate Moss is now a fashion designer (snerk) and tell us what to wear. We’re not mindless wind-up fashion automatons who are afraid of being ostracized if we don’t look like Miss Selfridges’s window. Americans aren’t sheep, in other words. The Brits – baaa.

And of course Americans have style. It’s effortless, it comes from the inside, it comes from having confidence and verve. British mags are obsessed with the American red carpet; they follow Jennifer Aniston and the Gossip Girl girls and New York Fashion Week with bated breath. I was there for the frenzied opening of Abercrombie & Fitch in London, as well as Anthropologie and Banana Republic, and the Gap is well shopped in the UK as well. Kate Middleton has been photographed in BCBG.

And I’d put Marc Jacobs – who designs for Louis Vuitton as well as his own lines – against any poncy Continental European designer. (He crushes any British designer hands down.) Same for Tom Ford (former designer for Gucci.) Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren – the list goes on.

And one only has to look to Michelle Obama to see that American women have effortless, classy and individual style: http://powerwall.msnbc.msn.com/politics/michelle-obamas-favorite-american-designers-8836.gallery

So you Brits go back to dressing like everyone else on the high street and call yourself stylish. We’ll be laughing on the other side of the pond.

And stop confusing slavishly following the fashion rags with style. Oh, wait. Too late.

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Rose

In general, I agree with this article. However, it’s imporant to take notice of nuances and thus among the comments, I agree the most with with the one posted by “le fist” (who commented March 31st, 2010, for reference).

Being from Minneapolis, but having lived in different parts of the U.S., as well as in Russia, Latvia, and the U.K., I have found inspirations for style everywhere I’ve been. It is a matter of knowing where to look, though. It’s not about money – it’s about making the most of what can be found, about being creative, and about taking pride in oneself to a certain extent.

That being said, I am often dismayed by the lack of effort many North Americans seem to put into their appearance and their health. While I know quite a few people here in Minneapolis/St. Paul with wonderfully quirky, eclectic, and beautiful appearances, the norm is quite the opposite. Boring. Mis-shapen. Unsexy. Slovenly. (Not the same as being artfully messy, which is a whole look unto itself). 😉

In my experience, those in Eastern and Central Europe have it all over many Western Europeans and North Americans, style-wise. Lots of artistic creativity decorating the streets of the Baltics, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary…and Russia is getting there too.

Sadly, outside of London I have not seen much overall style inspiration in the United Kingdom. As in North America, there are some lovely, shining exceptions, but the norm is rather gloomy (and also mis-shapen, thanks to an obesity problem in the U.K. that is mirroring that of North America’s).

However, there is still a lot of interesting and exciting artistic fashion going on everywhere in the world! It’s global corporate monoculture creating a mediocrity that is the real enemy here, and not just of fashion (which is but a reflection of so much).

P.S. What is with some Americans here cruelly criticizing European hygiene? Firstly, why the obsession with being absolutely scentless and sterile, and secondly, have these commenters even noticed that most Europeans today bathe quite a bit as well (and, just like the Americans, probably way too often)? What are these American commenters so afraid of – people looking and smelling like people? Get a grip on the real world!

Nick

I am a German who moved to the US 10 years ago and I love it ! I’m a proud American citizen. What I like about Americans is their easy-going attitude and their openness towards immigrants. You are mostly judged based on who you are and not where you come from. In Europe…not so much… If you live in Germany and come from some poor Eastern European country, you’re judged (at least initially) based on where you come from. But this would be topic for another huge discussion…

When it comes to dressing style though… American perform lousily. Sorry… The difference in style IMO is clear, obvious, blatant.

However, I still prefer to live in America. Style is just one (rather small) part of what makes up living in a country.

I don’t mind people not wearing designer clothes. I don’t do it either. And, I committed the crime of owning five (5) pairs of Dockers !! I guess I became irremediably American.

Americans are generally very casual people, and this translates into their dressing style. The truth though is that many of them go overboard with that casualness. I live in Orange County, California, which is supposed to be a part of the country more stylish than others. However, the reality is quite different.

Casual, comfortable clothing is one thing, sloppy clothing is a totally different thing.

Flip flops are not “comfortable”, are sloppy. Dirty black foot soles clearly visible in flip flops are not cool. The awful fleece pajama pants (whatever they are called) are not “comfortable”, are sloppy. You hear a woman saying “I don’t have the time”. Bull ! Next time you walk into a store to buy some “comfortable” outdoor pajama pants, just grab some other pants. Anything…just not the pajamas… Jeans, if you don’t know what to get, just not the pajamas. Never pajamas!

A few days ago a woman was in line in front of me. Maked up face, arranged haircut, nice bag….and awful, awful bottoms…. She had the time to fix her head (face and hair), but when it came to dressing time ran out, right…? I see examples like this daily; face painted, hair nicely bleached, but clothes atrocious. I’m not suggesting designer clothes, all I’m saying is “no sloppiness”.

And, for Pete’s sake, get some sandals instead of flip flops. They take two seconds more to put on, but they look a hundred times better.

All in all, many (not all!) Americans are sloppier than Europeans, but I still prefer living amongst them.

Chucko

I just got back from a business trip in Italy (I’m from Boston) and I couldn’t agree with you more. I felt so out of place (in a fashion sense), it was almost unbelievable. However, I’m not sure I agree that American style is lazy. If I wanted to, I could buy the nicest clothing, sacrifice a little comfort, and pay my rent all while looking good….but, I’d rather buy a house, dress a little more comfortably, and spend time with my family. What you call lazy, I call a better financial decisions. These people must spend thousands on their wardrobes. My whole wardrobe is probably $1000 and took me 2 hours to pick out. I’m not lazy by any means, I just prefer to purchase better things than clothing and spend my time in other areas. Take your skinny jeans back to your flat, if you need me, I’ll be lounging in my jeans and T-shirt, barbecuing steaks with my friends and famiy in the backyard of the house I spent my money on.

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Guest

Lack of money is no reason to dress in the disgustingly plain average boring style that most Americans do, even the celebrities (just look at Beyonce and JLo and the bunch in Hollywood…jeans, t-shirts, albeit thousand dollar jeans and t-shirts, they still manage to look like crap with all their money). It doesnt take much money to buy a stylish European wardrobe – a winter coat, a summer coat, a few wool/silk suits, some shoes, some handbags – maybe 5k. And these timeless quality pieces last for 5 years or more. Lack of money is not an excuse (unless you are very broke).
And for those that don’t care about fashion, that is a valid decision everyone has a right to make. Some people just don’t care how they look and that’s their right. And some can’t afford, and that’s just life.
But to argue that Americans dress better than Europeans…did anybody here even try to make that argument? Absurd…I will keep laughing at the Beyonce’s and JLo’s of North America, with their platform shoes and weaves and jeans and tasteless ensembles, and keep admiring the superior beauty, style, and natural class that radiate from Charlotte Casaraghi, Princess Diana, and many European fashion models.

Cjcherri

Fashion is cultural and personal! There is nothing wrong with American fashion nor is there anything superior of European fashion. Fashion isn’t universal, so do culture, food, arts, and language. Because it holds it’s own uniqueness and value to people who own and practice them. As long as one feels confident, comfortable in one’s own skin, either European or American fashion shall sufficient one’s desires and needs.

Charlotte

Wow. This is THE stupidest thing I have ever read. EVER. Get down off your high horse! I am so sure (sarcasm) that you dress amazing. Look girlfriend, there are TONS of fashionable people in the US. It’s a huge-a** country! I’m so sorry all the really fashionable people in this country of millions couldn’t live on the same street as you. Did you really write: “But there really is no excuse to dress badly in NYC – there are boutiques selling nice clothes (which, I’d like to point out, they import from Europe), but I guess JC Penney or whatever, is easier for most people. God forbid you make a little effort or stand out from the Gap uniform!” WOW. JUST WOW. Do you really expect everyone to have tons of money???!!!! Some people don’t even have the money to buy food!!! And just so you know Gap is a different company from JCpenney. Oh! I see! you didn’t get an education! You are so full of it, and how is this a fact??! Last time I checked, facts were not biased! Many Americans dress creatively and nice, and I’m sure many Europeans dress sh**ty. Everybody that agrees with you are also just as obnoxious and stupid as you. You should not publish this sort of cr** on the internet. You are obnoxious and full of sh**.

Charlotte

OH one more thing. When did interview thousands (not even enough to make it unbiased) of Americans to see that they think these things that you are trying to pass off as their thoughts??!!!

Charlotte

Alright I’m still not done…Why do you care so much what people wear? What about their personality? Do you really judge people and choose friends based on how they dress?

Cjcherri

Charlotte, some people (apperently more Europeans than other culture) do judge others from what they wear and how they present themselves. Just as you and I dig men who are well dressed and criticize women pass us by who dress badly. It is cultural ( because they were raised to believe and think in a certain way and because they grew up watching how their mothers/fathers dress to impress). We all take from our parents and our society. It is not Europeans are vain or Americans are lazy. We are different, accept it with respect. There is no need for a conflict which isn’t necessary to start with. OP is expressing her view, that’s all.
Think of going to a high end shopping mall, are you not being treated better when you dress up a little? I recall a seem from the movie ” pretty woman” where Julie Roberts was denied of service despite her wealth simply because she did not dress to impress. It is necessary to dress up for some occasions. But most importantly, be confident. Self esteem is the key to happiness! For everything else, dress in anyway that enhance your confidence and pleases you!

Cjcherri

P.s: it is so not true that fashion doesn’t cost money. It does! Even at h&m, Zara, or forever 21. However, if one knows one’s personality and style. Using the basics, one can develope a woredore with minium items. With sales going on, I often spot great items at Nordstrom rack, Marshalls, tjmaxx that cost no more than regular items from Target. The key is to shop for quality not quantity. If one absolutely can’t afford to eat, fashion is the least in mind. That’s basic phychology referring to Marslow’s Hierarchy so I think your argument of the poor can’t afford fashion doesn’t stand a chance here. Just my opinion!

Devon

When I come to America ho deam! It’s like all the stores were selling the same clothes . Jeans and sneakers baseball hats they don’t even know what beauty means and they clothes never fit when I try to buy some clothes they where to big its like everybody were fat I ask to the lady hey there’s not clothes 4 skinny tall people she said ho sorry our costumers don’t fit n the kind of clothes that u r wearing fatty ppl

Hannah

Just came across this post Bangs and could not agree with you more. I was in New York the other week and I noticed a distinct lack in style, EVERYONE was dressed the same, and badly at that. Not once in my week there did someones outfit make me double take, something that happens frequently in London. I’ve spoken to other people about this and they also agree that NYC has no style. Europens definitely do it better.

Pip

Well, while I agree with some of this (mostly that us Americans are getting more and more obese) and that we are too lazy to take our asses to the alterers to make our clothing fit us better, I also want to add that we are the hardest working country out there, so our time is truly limited. Most of us don’t sit and live in luxury and work whenever the heck we feel like working, and go home early and call it a day at 2:00 pm just because. This post just shows us yet again how (other) countries feel about us and look down on us for laziness and whatnot. At least our teeth are nicer!!!

Kazak3

I don’t know what you’re talkin bout saying that blacks and Latinos wear rocawear, I live in NYC and the most popular brands among blacks and latinos in NYC are true religion American eagle abercrombie aeropostale polo and Ralph Lauren, and they wear the shirts and jeans normal sized, and sometimes sag the jeans.

Carlos

Regarding style and fashion, overall, Europeans may be more experimental and daring, but at the end, they, as Americans, seem to be dressed in uniforms (even though the “European uniform” is much more stylish and not overdone).

North Americans tend to overbuy and the clothes just do not fit them well. IN the case of the US, there is lots of nice thing for people who have the eye for style and try things on and make sure they fit and suit them properly.

mandos de garaje

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Patrick

Oversized this, oversized that, I don’t get it. TOM lol that does make me angry too, it is “Couldn’t care less” C DREAMER more like keep dreaming, the most important thing about clothes is fit, without it clothes will wear you instead of you wearing them. Ha ha, shirts undone over t-shirts…. I’ll leave you all with that hideous image.

collet'

you know whats hilarious . people are smashing poor americans , i am american proud to be in fact , we dress like this yes due to obesity but i dnt think our schooling has to do with fashion , if it did we’d all be wearing dresses made from rulers or what ever . about obesity , there are fat asses in every freaking country , america just has more so piss off . yes as an american i love blue jeans , khaki’s , button downs , yadda yadda . its no competition okay , we are continents away , our cultures are different , in fact america has the most changing and unstable culture since we have so many EUROPEANS , africans , asians and those in between coming to the land of the free and the home of the brave . so no were not gonna have a whole bunch of tailor made shit , were busy ! and im sure there are more of the retail stores you europeans seem to hate so much then there are educated and skilled tailors , this is america we dont have room for that shit . we mass produce , you know ford and the assembly line , eli whitney and interchangble parts , that kinda stuff . now im not gonna lie and say that europeans are crappy dressers , your not , before your ancestors came over to north america and started killing the indians you already had what you considered reasonable fashion implanted in your brains , you still do . look up for proof . and america was populated by white or anglo or what ever , hell europeans of the old world , then came african slaves , and the natives were already here . this mix of people created a distinctly american kinda dress , with hints of european , african , asian , and native american . america has went through a cycle of what is fashionable and what is not , while europeans still wanna go to fucking tailor , good for you ! in the 70s it was afro’s and bell bottoms and platform shoes , that was dynamic and fukadelic . the 80’s was fades for the african americans , dashiki’s , leg warmers , finger less gloves , dressing like a box of skittles , catch my drift . that is refreshing and unique and strictly american . now we americans may not go to the tailor every friday [insert exaggeration] but we do have some style , even if it is uniform . hell i though cute japanese teens in uniform was hot , or when you got to schools you wear uniforms its okay there’s nothing wrong with wearing stripes with stripes . but if you europeans like wearing flamingo , cuckootoo , and ostrich feathers with pentagons and vertical lines , enjoy your selfs be happy , but americans are gonna keep struggling to fit our nice fat obese american asses in jeans and flannel button downs . problem , were a blind fold cover your eyes , LOOK AWAY ! i’ve said my piece , i think americans dress american and europeans dress european , live with it and dont throw sissy fits cause we wear jeans and sneakers .

JJ

You are so right! I am an American and constantly get infuriated when my husband and I go because other people who wear hoodies, jeans and t-shirts to fine dining restaurants, cultural events, etc.. It’s bad enough to dress like a slob, but the overall American atmosphere is too causal. Americans are lazy and it shows a lack of respect. I have read comments where ppl blame lack of style on weight issues, etc, but that is just an excuse. I know and have known larger ppl who still dress themselves well and know what fits them. Also, have people in the US never been to a tailor? I’m a petite and my seamstress can make clothes work for me!

Seth

Absolutely true. Dressing aesthetically does not necessarily mean dressing up, or formally, or uncomfortably, or expensively. It simply means considering aesthetics, and making an effort to make the world more beautiful – for others, but first of all for oneself. It’s another small pleasure that makes life more enjoyable, like well-prepared and beautifully served food, comfortable and beautiful furniture design, etc etc etc. Why not make a little effort to beautify your life?

Katharine

I couldn’t agree more with this article! Dear Former Expat, I am British, and I can assure you that my personal hygiene is impeccable. My nails (hands and feet) are manicured, and polished, my legs and other body parts are shaved (yes, even in the winter), and my parents made sure that I had regular dental and orthodontic care as a child. My teeth are white and straight. My skin, while it may not glow, because I am a redhead and fair-skinned, is certainly smooth, clean and blemish-free. Oh, I also speak French, and German, and my Italian will definitely suffice for a restaurant.
My husband is American, and we currently live in Washington, D.C. Yesterday, we attended Easter Mass in Georgetown (not the university), and being a somewhat regular attendee of this church, I know that the parishioners are far from poor. Despite this, the majority of men wore very ill-fitting clothing: baggy trousers with pleats that were cinched together with a belt; suit jackets and blazers that could easily hide a small child; and even most shirts (in the cases where they were visible) were far too big around the collar, the chest, and the waist.
The women, on the other hand, wore mostly well-fitting clothing. However, the overwhelming number of black outfits made one feel as if one was attending a funeral service. Can somebody please explain this unfortunate propensity to wear black for any and all occasions?

Knowing your waist size and your neck circumference has nothing to do with not having enough money and/or access to a tailor. It’s as simple as buying a tape measure (they cost approximately $3), and measuring yourself. You can get nice 100% cotton dress shirts at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx for $20. The same people who claim they have no money to “waste” on nice clothing, will easily spend ten times as much for a pair of jeans or a pair of trainers.

Last but not least, I would also like to address the common misconception that any attire that is not jeans and an XXXL T-shirt is uncomfortable. I am not sure how this perception was born, but I can personally vouch for it not being true. I hardly ever wear jeans, because I don’t think they are as comfortable as everybody claims them to be, and there is not a single big T-shirt to be found in my wardrobe. I much prefer tailored wool trousers, skirts and dresses. There is nothing more comfortable than a nice summer dress on a warm day.

Katharine (who adores stylish vintage hats and gloves)

Heidi

I agree. I love Europe and how nicely people dress. My husband is English but we live in Colorado US. I love to dress nicely but always get weird looks from other women and sometimes men. ( usually the men notice in a good way by opening the door for me and treating me like a lady) the dress code here is dull jeans and most look as if they are about to clean their garage out. We will move to the south of France in a few years and I’m lookin forward to that. Thanks for the article.

Gem

I’m English and living in Indianapolis. I find it really hard to find clothes I like over here. I did get some nice skinny jeans from American Eagle but in general I find that there aren’t that many shops that sell much other than t-shirts and hoodies and the rare ones that do are more expensive than the shops at home. Even the shops I liked back home like Jane Norman that ship to the US bump up the price on their clothes. Never thought anything would be cheaper in England. Also noticed that over here you get denim shorts everywhere but it’s difficult to find a denim skirt (I know that’s a bit random but it’s something I found interesting.

Alexis

Im European, I love my fashion and i love europe! My partner is american we live in Europe, We have a goos laugh when she walks down stairs on a morning and says “like what im wearing” and im rolling around laughing. But im european she is american and we have different style (Nothing wrong with that). She loves european fashion but doesnt feel comfortable wearing it but she looks gorgeous in a pair of ripped levi’s and a tank. On a response to some other comments on here, On about teeth Im european never had a filling teeth are thick and healthy but no there no pur white (nor do i want them to be) My partner has gleaming white teeth but there not healthy all the years of water full of floride has made her teeth weak almost all her teeth are capped and sealed, lovely teeth to look at but health wise there bad! Also most american orignate from europe somewhere along there ancestry so arent we all the same would this world not be dull if we all dressed the same? As for america apparently being the best dressed because of sales as someone quoted yes you may but our designer clother but those designer cater to americas fashion just like they cater to european so sales do not make you more fashionable. I was shocked to hear the same person say europeans dont have curves and you stated you have spent time in europe, French, Italian and spanish women have been voted some of the most beautiful in the world! Italian and spanish are definatly curvy! To end this i think europe has edge and are far from fearful when it comes to fashion america like to feel comfortable in the levis and hoodies. We all differ. Does it really matter wear what you want to wear! Love yourself and your clothes!

alex

Americans dress well. simple. European men spend the amount of time girls should spend dressing. nothing against it, just looks and sounds feminine.

Michael Mallinder MacLeod

Hi, I am Michael (British)
I love this post and i thought id give an insight on what i wear, and what is typical of British fashion at the moment.
I’m always in skinny jeans, red, green, black, blue, i always have shirts or poloshirts on. Tight fitting. I like jewlerry, like mens necklaces or bracelets (jesus bracelets and other colourful accessories). I wear vans(different colours), doc martens(no im not some punk) and toms. Ankle showing with 0 socks all the time. I have an “indie” look which goes with the sort of music i listen to and is big in the uk. I love bow ties and smart shoes like brogues. British fashion is amazing. Vivienne Westwood and Boy London with their stand out clothing. Jack Wills is fabulous and offers cable knit jumpers and amazing clothes. I do love Hollister, Abercrombie and Ralph Lauren though. Hollister for their shirts, Abercrombie for their cosy hoodies (which i tie up with the string that goes round the hood) very in!, and Ralph Laurens shirts and polos!, jeans are good at abercrombie too, now that they have skinny coloured jeans!, UKUKUK. but British rules.. Topshop(Topman) Urban Outfitters(UK) (Jack Wills) (Boy London and Selfridges) Vivienne Westwood, Links of London, River Island, Schuh and Office, John Lewis, Ted Baker, French Connection, Fred Perry. ITS ENDLESS!, Smart is the way in Europe, you always have to look your best. NO ROOM FOR BOOTCUT JEANS UNLESS YOUR A MIDDLE AGED OLD MAN, UK fashion is amazing.

Maggie

I don’t really agree with your post.

I think when you look at our big cities in America such as LA, New York, or even Chicago, San Francisco or Seattle, you will find many fashion forward people and high fashion options. I think American fashion is an exciting fusion of many different cultural styles and Americans have always been known for their contributions to the world of fashion. We did, after all, invent Fashion Week.

I can see where your point comes from and I love European fashion. I will speak from anecdotal experience in England and say that I was horrified at how slovenly the people were. There are fewer gyms, tanning salons, beauty salons, and clothing stores in the UK then it’s comparable American counter parts. They are far less concerned with appearance then we are. Most of their people wear hand me downs and recycled clothes, dark and simple colors are much more common, and standards of dress and hygiene that we take for granted are not quite as adopted over there (although they probably have a few tricks that we don’t think about either in fairness).

Johan

I’m quite staggered at some comments asserting that people outside America don’t bathe or use deodorant. Do the people asserting this live in some sort of parallel world? Or is it just a severe psychological aberration?

And just to cap it all, after admonishing others for this ‘Rose’ then states that “most Europeans today bathe quite a bit as well”! As if we somehow caught up. Hygiene was going on in Europe when America was still Native American country, and largely an empty nature reserve. I have news for you all: bathing and showering goes on quite frequently.
If you are bathing every day or twice a day, then you probably live in a place not meant for human habitation or ‘airco’. Drying out your skin all the time and rubbing some oily unguent back into it is not “cleanliness” it’s dermatological idiocy.

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Rosabell

Nice artice, I agree with most of it. I think the comments are somehow even more attractive than the OP itself. I am European, from Central Europe, and I will share my view on the topic:
– it seems Americans live in a culture where clothes do not matter. They call it freedom and being non-judgemental. I can accept that. Yet, they semm pretty sensitive to what other people/nations/cultures think about their look. If they really DO NOT CARE, then why they DO react? If they couldn’t care less about their look, why are they commenting to the OP? I can’t understand it all. If they are really above all this shalow and vain clothes/appearance thing, what is it that makes them shout&cry on what WE, across the pond, might think about them? Is it maybe because they wrongly think all people, all over the world, are just like them and should think 100% just like them? Maybe we live in culrurally different societies, where our perceptions and thinking processes are very different. I don’t thnik anyone says Americans SHOULD dress different. No, they have the right to dress all the way they want. But when we look at them and we asses them through our thinking and mentality we do it our way. We are firstly amused and/or intrigued and then we voice it and it is our right to do it. This won’t change. They have to understand or right to voice what we think. It does not mean they have to change anything, just that they have to accept that this is how we see them.

– people in Europe de not dress to impress ( not all of them, anyway). And it is not that we mimic what our parents used to do when we were children. It’s just that in Europe, a sloppy clothing means disrespect to the people arund you. It is very simple. There are many sayings about this, in all European cultures, which shows it is a staple in European mentality, outside of national borders. To go to school/work/walk dressed as you say, “comfortable” may be fine in America, but to most of Europeans it would also signal a strong dis-respect for the society. Yes, we know look and appearance is not everything. We are not that shallow, mind you! We know what inner beauty and personality is. Just when we meet someone, the first thing we see it’s his/her appearance. If she/he doesn’t care what she looks like, then why would I care AT ALL about her/him? If she/he does not respect me at all, why should I respect him/her more? If she/he puts himself a negative the label, why on earth would I spend 5 minutes of my time to see deeper? This is how it works in European society. I’m not saying it good/bad, but it is like this, and as long as Europe will be, most of the people here will think/react like this. Yes, we know you can be wonderful and smart and educated, but we don’t understand why, being like this, you make almost everything you can to mask it with a sloppy/crappy appearance.

-now regardding teeth: big, white, sparkling, perfectly lined teeth DO NOT look natural. Normal teeth have minor imperfections. Normal teeth do not meen veneres. Veneres look like fake, plastic teeth. Americans seem to love those. Well, we don’t. When we see most of your movie stars with that “hollywood smile” most of Americans envy and cheer, we say : “She/He is so atractive but she/he’s having ceramic teeth!” It would be acceptable to have such fake teeth for someone who lost them in an accident, but not for a healthy, good looking person. Please, do not understand that I’m supporting bad teeth hygene, I’m not. But overly white, regular and/or bleached teeth are ridiculous. They stand out, and the whole face of the person is dominated by those teeth. Normal, cleaned, healthey teeth, yes, bleached + veners, never! I understand you find that appealing. Most of us don’t. But we understand you like it this way. Can you please practice you non-judgemental culture and stop being pissed off because of what we think?

Thank you!

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Michelle

To start with, I’m a British 28 yr old female and I live in the UK.

Firstly I’d like to state that in the UK, it is a social stigma to have poor personal hygiene. I’m offended by some of the comments and would like to clarify that the vast majority of people are aware of personal hygiene, although there will always be some (like in any country) who may not by as hygienic as others. With regards to dentistry, in the UK we have the NHS so all dentistry and select orthodontics are free/reduced in price to all who reside in the UK. With such good access to dentistry, I think its clear that we are not all slovenly when it comes to our dental hygiene. I’ve lived in many cities in the UK and can safely say that you cannot turn a corner without seeing a hair salon or beauty parlour, so many that I’ve no idea how they all stay open.

OK back to the article, I love British fashion and style, I particularly enjoy the more ‘lady like’ approach worn by Kate Middleton, tailored dresses, skinny jeans and beautiful embellished garments. Boring some may say but I always feel smart and well groomed! Britain does have great style which tends to be smart, quirky and innovative, we also have a massive choice on the high street & Internet. Fashion is a MASSIVE industry over here it infiltrates every aspect of daily life, maybe due to the materialistic notions that many live by. However, you only have to go out on Friday night and you see super short skirts, fake tan and hair extensions. WAGS and the shows like TOWIE/Georgie Shores have infiltrated Britain’s style and it’s not a good look in my humble opinion, however you also see this look in America with tans/fake boobs on shows such as Real Housewives of the OC and similar shoes – It’s everywhere. We also have a throw away culture, buying cheap and throwing out after a few wears (Primark being a key example), we should take a leaf out of the French style books, buying quality, timeless pieces to keep and wear over and over again.

I also love American style and fashion. When I think American style I think Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, MaxMara, BCBG (there are lots of them) I love the preppy, groomed, athletic look. The designers I speak of may not be as innovative as French Haute Couture however have their place in world fashion and I love it. You could also say that not everyone in America dresses like this(like we in the UK don’t all go round prancing in Vivienne Westwood to the supermarket)! I like the vivaciousness of italian designers such as Versace and the way the French pull of chic simplicity. Buy I’ve said it before, not everyone in these European countries follow stereotypes.

So to clarify there is good and bad style in every country and continent!

Tmus

Perhaps it’s the European obsession with fashion that’s gotten them in to this fiscal mess. I couldn’t say I’m just a fat uncultures poorly read American with no idea of the geopolitical climate outside my shanty. But my view on it is I don’t need to dress it up it already looks good enough plain. “High fashion” and a metric ton of makeup seems to me to be a way a distraction.

William from Maxwell Scott Bags

I frequently fly all over the world. My litmus test on this argument is simply analysing (and admiring) the attire of fellow passengers at various airports. Italy has them all beat – fact! I also think is important to realise that most designers of high fashion (couture) clothing originate from Europe (please note i said most….not all).
Ciao William
http://www.maxwellscottbags.com (we design and manufacture in Italy so a little biased)

Sophie

How on earth can you generalise like that? It’s despicable. There are people who have style, great taste, chic in every country in the world! Jackie Kennedy was a huge style icon and she was American. Sofia Coppola is American and oh so stylish. And what about American designers who are just as successful and fashionable as European ones like Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, etc. the larger part of the populations in most countries just don’t have any dress sense, i have seen people wearing horrendous clothes all over Europe, in the US, and other places too. But what does it matter really? Who cares? What matters most is that each individual feels good and happy with how they are and what they wear.

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The Average American Girl

Many Europeans say that Americans dress lazy and have no since of fashion. Which is true in many cases, but is also stereotypical and offensive. They blame it on our obesity and how jeans are more comfortable than dress up clothes. Now, I’m not saying obesity isn’t the problem, but just because we all aren’t super models or anorexic, doesn’t mean we are all obese. Here, unlike in Europe, the average teen between the age of 12-18 don’t smoke or drink on a regular basis. But in Europe they do. Here in the U.S.A. we might be a little bigger than people in Europe but we are certainly more active, other wise we wouldn’t win the Olympics practically every year! We are a more sporty culture and not so worried about fashion as a whole, because of it. What most Europeans can’t understand is that most americans are expected to stay in school longer than 10-11 years but most in Europe can get a good job in that amount of education time. The length of education can wear away at ones physical physique. Just because we don’t all find interest in European designers doesn’t mean we all don’t have taste. We don’t usually enjoy spending $10,000 dollars on a Gucci hand bag. (We have college loans to pay off!) And yes, Europe is quite the fashion capital of the world but it tends to forget that many Europeans immigrated to America in the late 1800’s and influenced us in the late 1800’s. People in the U.S.A. accept people for what they wear and feel more freely about what they wear here. I feel more comfortable in yoga pants sometimes than my skinny jeans. I’ve hosted foreign exchange students from Italy, Germany Denmark, Ecuador, and the Netherlands. They all say the same thing, “I feel more free about what I wear here, and accepted”. I have also been to Europe, and have had a pass port since I was in 2nd grade… I shop and know designers both American and European. I don’t wear Abercrombie, and despise store like like it. I am an individual and I am ORIGINAL!

Dee

I don’t really have an opinion on American vs European fashion, but do find it odd that people talk as if jeans are only worn by Americans. I’ve lived in several countries and currently am living in Europe. In every one of those countries except in West Africa, the majority of people I’d see under age 35 on any given day were wearing jeans. Maybe half wore sneakers with them — and not necessarily colored “fashionable” sneakers but white athletic shoes. I wonder if when talking about fashion, we all aren’t referring only to a certain class of people in our respective countries rather than a broader cross-section of the population that is more representative.

Gemini

In general, the masses tend to dress alike… regardless of where they hail from. If you don’t have the income you don’t really have the time, or money to get everything tailored. So, you are forced to buy the mass production of crap designers now a days call fashion.

I myself and pretty much annoyed with everything I see coming out. Fashion, everywhere seemed uninspired. Pretty much the same styles repeated over… and over. I don’t see what this has to do with where someone lives… more so their income.

Emily

I would just like to mention probably half of the people arguing against these points, are indeed, American. I am an an American, and I am seriously embarrassed about our lack of fashion sense. It isn’t so much of that our designers don’t produce stylish products, but I couldn’t agree with you more about the “lazy” and “comfy” thing. I cannot even believe some people go out in public the way they do in North America. It seems like (especially for women), the norm. has become sweatpants and sweatshirt or t-shirt, no makeup, and no hairstyle (not even a brush or comb before they go out). Now I have nothing against people not wearing makeup or sporting a more “natural” look, but you can really tell when someone just straight up, DOESN’T care. It is really getting old. So old to the point where I actually want to move to Europe for this reason (and MANY more). It’s really disappointing to me seeing so many beautiful women (and men) just not take care of themselves or have any sense of pride or style. You don’t have to be a style guru or fashionista to look good when you go out, so people that are going to argue that exact point, you’re just fighting a losing battle. It’s even more sad when I see someone out in town that is dressed really nicely, 95% of the time they are from Europe or Asia, which just proves how badly American fashion sense sucks even more.

JC

I am an American male living in North Carolina, I don’t have three pairs of khaki chinos, I request my 5.37 euro

So

Hmm… American style is not lazy. It is casual. Our style is fun and varies. It’s just not practical to wear heels and three piece suits and expensive boutique items if that is not your lifestyle.

This entire post was a bragging rant and I hope you feel better about yourself now.

Just because people dress differently the you do it doesn’t mean that their style is lazy. Think of better words to use and look beyond the surface.

John

You’re also forgetting a huge key difference: people in North America don’t giive a shit about what other people think! We don’t always care about being “trendy” or “in style”, we just want to be comfortable! Europeans seem to live this luxury life (in stereotype), and North Americans work extremely hard to get where they are and get a decent life (stereotype as well), and I feel as though those stereotypes carry into our daily lives. I’m from Ottawa (capital of Canada), and people dress to impress professionally, not fashionably.

On a side note…while Europeans care about what they’re wearing and try to “push the limits”, people in North America generally view Europeans as snobby and vain…and this article is a prime example why. Clothes shouldn’t even matter, it should be the person that does. WE USE CLOTHES TO MAKE OURSELVES NOT NAKED! I don#t understand why they have to be uncomfortable and weird looking…

jbauer

I live in a small town in Austria. The style and fashion is old, conservative,and very boring. I imagine that more than half the people in Europe live in such small towns and don’t have access and don’t care to have access to the hip, trendy fashion you rave about. Furthermore, Europe is very diverse and also includes countries such as Romania, Norway, etc. Have you seen the fashion in these countries? How about the countryside of Holland. Not exactly great… As a tourist I have visited large, cosmopolitan European cities which I find are not
necessarily representative of, in terms of fashion, what all Europeans dress like, etc. So, the idea that the people dress better in Europe than North America is actually ridiculous. I lived in San Francisco for 10 years and the variety and quality of fashion was light years better than where I live now.

I think this type of commentary represents only a very limited, unorginal mindset which can only think in stereotypes and serves only to inflate the egos of the author and the author’s fashionista nazi readership.

Debbie

I have to agree that when I travel to Europe, I do appreciate their style because the look is much more sophisticated and classic…NOT because they “experiment” much more. Come on…it can’t be both right? They’re certainly is a homogenous look everywhere you go, I just happen to prefer the European look. I love that make-up is minimal.

I live in Orange County, CA and what makes where we live a paradise is also a tradegy…warm beaches and constant 75 degree weather. It just looks silly to wear what’s on the September issue. I PRAY for 50 degree day just so that I could wear the scarf my husband purchased from a UK boutique and my boots. Instead, in the autumn I’m forced to wear comfy non itchy clothes because this time of year means 96 degrees and hot/skin irritating Santa Ana winds. I do think in Southern California, we do summer and spring really well. Cute summer dresses showcasing beautifully tanned legs (sans fake bake), cute dressy sandals baring their perfectly pedicured toes (count how many nail salons there are in a 1/4 mile radius), and broken in fit levis paired with a simple cute accessories and white tank revealing their toned arms (probably from bikram yoga, bar pilates, or some other expensive boutique gym).

You see how I did that without the slightest bit of arrogance? I appreciate many things about Europe…mainly the history that is so beautifully preserved as well as their fashion. But, I spend the other half of my time obsessing over pictures of homes that Americans take a lot of pride upkeeping and maintaining. I also never take for granted that we are the beneficiaries of immigrants from around the world, where we could experience food from all walks of life without leaving our borders. I absolutely love travelling…but we do have it good in the states making it tempting to stay here indefinitely

Hassan

It’s definitley true that they dress better in Europe, but I prefer the trashy style of America.

Catherine

Why do people equate dressing well with expensive? You can dress well with the same budget you use to dress like a slob.
Why do people equate dressing well with dressing uncomfortable? You can dress for comfort and not look like a slob.
This is not about fashion- this is about style, and most Americans don’t have any. However, this is NOT the American way. For many years Americans dressed quite nice; take a look at photos of Jackie Kennedy or Grace Kelly or look at any episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” or even “I Love Lucy.” Somewhere along the way we Americans just stopped giving a crap- stop pretending it’s anything other than laziness.

fred

women dress like slobs or sluts these days. please return to wearing simple and pretty skirts and dresses which make you look more feminine

American

It’s your opinion, try not to be so vain in the future. I’m not planning to go to the UK anytime soon… if ever for that matter. Deal with it, mate.

Joseph

I’d like to start by saying that I really like Americans. I’ve been to America several times and I’ve met some of the nicest and friendly people I’ve ever encountered.
However, I do think that you get judged on the way you dress there and wearing anything well fitted, stylish or with stand out colours makes people think you’re gay. When I’m in bars in england i will often get girls come up to me, but in America, with the same clothes on, it tends to be gay men.
It seems to me that people don’t feel like they can express their tastes and styles for fear of being judged. I’ve found a lot of stylish American branded clothes in England that I couldn’t find in America. I think it’s because there are some stylish Americans that design the stuff, but there isn’t really a market for it. It’s a bit sad really. Hopefully America will one day let people ambrace their tastes through the means of clothing.

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Cyn

I don’t even live in a big city here in the U.S., but when I got to the mall, I do encounter head-turners…Of course the majority of people dress alike, everywhere. It’s usually a minority of people that make you want to stare. Are you telling me all Brits will make my tongue wag?? I doubt it. Maybe at a high-end event, not on the street. I recall Kelly Osbourne when she first moved to the states. Her look back in those days could utterly be described as “slob” – she wore clothing too tight for her, loved showing us her buttcrack, love handles, and bulging stomach…and she didn’t get it from here – she brought it here. I don’t mean to pick on Kelly, but this article makes it seem as though the U.S. is the only place where you’ll find tacky style.

katelyn

It’s has to be with the general lack of cultural sophisication not only in fashion, but in food, culinary culture, interior design, architecture, cultural lives, manners and etiquettes. It has everything to do with social and historical difference. One simply can’t compare the degree and sense of cultivation between the new world and old world. People simply have different wants and needs for what’s considered as good and quality living. one can still find the refinement and sophisication closer to European sensibility on the East Coast.

Cymech

Funny how you claim American clothing is “too baggy”, to which I’ll say is the exact opposite: most clothing is too TIGHT, and in the worst-ways imaginable. Maybe you Brits like feeling chained down, but quite frankly I cannot stand clothing that nags at me every fucking moment while I’m doing anything or nothing at all.

Katharine

To SO:

No, my dear, your country men’s and -women’s attire of choice is lazy! Wearing your house slippers and pyjama bottoms to go to uni or the local supermarket is a sign of laziness. Changing into a pair of actual shoes, takes seconds whilst slipping on a skirt, a dress or a pair of trousers requires perhaps a minute or two. If somebody does not take the time to do so, they are indeed lazy.

To my namesake, the other Catherine 🙂

I absolutely agree with you. Americans used to dress nicely. Granted, they had been more casual dressers than Europeans since the 1920s, but they dressed well, and the many beautifully dressed women (Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and even the average woman of the 1960s and earlier) were proof of that. However, when the American waistline ballooned (over one third of their population is now obese, and another third is overweight according to their very own Centres for Disease Control) their attire on the whole, and there are exceptions, went from casual to sloppy. In my opinion, there is a clear connection and a causal relationship between lazy clothing and the lazy, sedentary (no walking, biking, physical activities) lifestyle that led to 68 percent of Americans being overweight or obese.

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BLAZE MOTHER FUCKIN GARDNER

so many people degrade the youth because we look strange and different weather it be loose baggy pants or tight skinny jeans they look at us as if were trying to cause trouble when in fact there the ones who are blinded by there own discomfort of something they can’t understand and thats why i will never become one those people who hate our youth because they look strange because in the end were all human. and this is what you people are doing everything has to be a well i dress better than you so that makes me better than you no i have heart and i have soul that makes somebody a real person a man and you are just like hitler in a way like for instance hitler said blond haired blue eyed people are better than those “jew rat’s” and here you are pretty much sayin europeans are better than americans because they “have style” you are a very ignorant person

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Samantha

I am an American but I think your right, most people here always copy each others style. I don’t really pay attention to it but I’m usually out of the house and I see many lazy day people walking around in what looks like their pajamas. I’m not on the Americans “side” just because I’m one, but….. They can’t do anything if your speaking the truth

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Maybe its just that we re not fags who have something better to do in life

Jackie

First of all you OVERGENERALIZED EVERYTHING, I grew up in Florida and visited plenty of states, and let me tell you the fashion there especially at my old college was all Abercrombie&Fitch, Hollister, Guess, Armani Ex, ect. No one wears GAP or Banana Republic, lets face it, its lame. Now I Iive in Paris, France and everyone is always saying, “Wow you wear Abercrombie, its so expensive and cool.” Everyone here that I have met loves Abercrombie and Hollister which is AMERICAN, so no its not all Europeans. In fact they like our fashion and hate the fact all the clothes here are so expensive, everyone here who is not rich wears H&M, Mango, TATI’s and Abercrombie, and some other stores, and most europeans wear jeans, heels, regular shirts, and the same nice trench coats. Basically there is no difference its all personal preference and yes they do wear more tights and skirts then we do but, EVERYTHING YOU SAID IS A GROSS GENERALIZATION THAT IS OUTDATED, ONLY UNEDUCATED PEOPLE STILL BELIEVE THAT OLD MYTH. AND YES THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE OVERWEIGHT BUT STILL EXCLAIMING ONLY EUROPEANS PREDOMINATE THE FASHION WORLD IS RIDICULOUS, ALSO YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE TRUST ME THERE ARE PLENTY OF SLOBS HERE AS THEIR ARE IN AMERICAN, CANADA AND ALL OVER THE WORLD.

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Gerald

Although, everyone is entitled to their opinion, I find yours quite biased and uniformed. Your argument against NYC fashion is way off. NYC fashion and culture is defined by its neighborhoods. Sure, if you lived in Harlem, you’re likely to see the general population wearing a so-called Rocawear/Baby Phat uniform. It’s simply the style of the hood. If you’re on the Upper West Side, you’re more likely to come across the yuppies in Gap/Banana Republic “dress pants” attire. Go a little south to Hell’s Kitchen/Chelsea hoods and you have your fashionista gay population. I could keep going,but since your observation of fashion in NYC appears to have been limited to two neighborhoods, I won’t waste any more time on the subject. I’m sure depending on where you live in London, fashion trends are different…as with any city/country. Yes, many people dress poorly in the US, but the same goes for people in European countries. I’ve been living in Barcelona for 4 years now, and I think that based on your assessment of what constitutes as good fashion, you would consider the people lazy and uniformed because of it’s super casual way of dressing. One last point.. there are many American labels that are quite trendy in Europe as well. So much so that they are ridiculously overpriced compared to what one would pay in the States.

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Grace

I am an American girl, fifteen years old. I completely agree with this article. At school the vast majority of girls wear a t-shirt, jeans, and ugg boots or moccasins every day.

On a typical day I may see up to three girls besides myself who have put effort into their outfits, not just wearing jeans and a hoodie. Usually, though, I will be literally the only girl in school just wearing a dress. From what I’ve seen, my style would generally fit in more at England than it does in America, at least my town.

And, unfortunately, it gets worse than the extent of those “fashions”. Many girls will wear pajama bottoms in public and to school regularly. I really don’t understand how Americans can dress so lazily. And yes, America is a nation that has a lot of overweight people, the amount of which is rapidly growing.

ACE

true true in the most part. what about asia? iv heard men in seoul, tokyo and other places dress really nicely and so do the females/girls/ladies/women. my one issue was that “most americans don’t have passports” that’s actually probably untrue ’cause i live near by boston and know a lot of ppl in the states… and trust me. all of them have passports.

Ryan

you all are wrong everyone around the world dresses differnently because of culture so get facts straight, your all retards!

Dan Riders

Ryan, if you’re going to call someone a retard, have the courtesy to check your own grammar. You’re means ‘You are’, your is possessive and means ‘Your shoes’ for example.

Secondly, if you’re going to ramble on and be too lazy to use proper punctuation, i.e. capital letters, then crawl back into your dumbphone texting cave.

alissa

Let me guess you live in the uppity high class neighborhoods huh? Well honey I can tell you for damn sure that’s why all the fashion is the same! And there is a difference between ‘tailored” and tight okay? North Americans are not lazy we simply prefer simple is that bad? And besides how can you say that brits dreess more fittingly? Y’all layer EVERYTHING no way in hell could I get a glimpse at your real body! Is it so wrong to like being comfy? Nothing wrong with simply throwing on jeans and a teeshirt. Why? Because here in America if you were raised right you’ll dress nicely but comfortably. And you’ll know how to pick your friends and you’ll simply surround yourself with those who don’t care if you look like you just woke up and threw something ob cause all they’ll care about is getting to spend time with you!

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David

Its all about “armor”, sister nothing more.

We wear clothes of all different styles. Yes, I agree NA’s are rather relaxed about “style”, but, my in laws from Germany who dress up to take out the trash, find it quite liberating” to hang out in jeans and plaid shirts in NA (North America) with us. I have travelled more than you. I’ve had the ladies in European shops, “do my colours”, and fit me in tailored purple pants and moxy tailor shirts with $ 300.00 EURO shoes…..

Nothings cheap there. Like Italian ice cafes, there great but, additive, if you take yourself too seriously!

A Suburban Afro-American Teen

The reason we “dress so badly” is because few people in America have time or money to wear designer clothing and dress like a damn model. Most black people can’t afford anything besides rocawear or baby phat. Keep your ignorance on that sideof the Atlantic, you bougie uppity wench

Just a Voice

Being overweight does not equate with being lazy, and most Americans I know are not lazy. The reason why most Americans are overweight is because food corporations put too much salt in sugar in our diet, and most people have never been taught adequate nutrition. My older sister works way over 70 hours a week as a ER nurse. She is constantly on foot and works most weekends with only 3 holidays off . My youngest sister is a sports coordinator at her local university. My younger brother works 12 to occasionally 18 hour days as a chef. My cousin works construction and landscaping. My best friend has two jobs, and goes to school to work on her Masters degree. I work as a theatre lighting tech, and have various side projects. Some of these people I mentioned are still overweight.
The reason I’m not in line for the latest fashion at what’s its name boutique or go to tailors is because I don’t have the time or money. My line of work requires me to comfortable yet DURABLE clothing. So jeans and a tank for me, thank you. Please, limit yourself on the lazy American stereotype.

kay

All right, here’s the deal, “Bangs.” You are a Brit, technically European but more like a poor man’s European. British people are entirely different from the Eastern Europeans, the ones with the fashion sense. You are not as classy as you think over in sunny old England. I don’t envy you that you were able to travel all over the continent as a young child, but must call you out on your delusional belief that traveling to foreign lands makes you equal to a native of that country. And PLEASE, enough with the fat lazy American stereotype. As a happy thin American I can tell you that obesity is largely cause by poverty: people who can’t afford to eat fancier than McDonald’s. It starts in childhood and gets worse from there. OR there is an underlying medical condition which causes the sufferer to gain weight. We are not sitting on our asses eating fried chicken all day like your small misinformed mind has you believe. You are very ignorant, my friend. America is also a beautiful country and *I* am lucky to have been able to see the real America and meet all the kind and hardworking people who call it home. Did you even leave NYC when you came here? I know it’s hip to hate Americans, and I don’t care if you conform to that trend, this is just my two cents.

Personally, I love fashion and dress very feminine. I know what looks good, I know what fits, and I own it. I also have *true* Eastern European ethnicity and family and many people, before hearing me speak with my American accent, believed I was from Eastern Europe because I look the part. But yes, I do own a pair of jeans and some very comfy t-shirts that I like to sleep in. *GASP!*

So all in all it sounds like you are an uppity Brit riding on the coattails of the truly fashionable nations you are *not* a part of. Also, is that you, Bangs, with the two-toned rats nest/beehive on top of your head? Oh, honey, I have no words for that. Just no.

Sorry if I’m a little cruel here, but I’m just defending my country. There IS a reason we wanted to get the hell away from you Brits all those centuries ago, and I just figured it out. 😉 ‘Ave a nice day, love.

Cdog

Laid back and functional doesn’t mean we lack fashion sense, it’s just not that important! If you seriously think pink skinny jeans, Toms, and a ridiculous plaid shirt is cool, more power to ya, but for most people here it just looks stupid and like your trying to attract attention! Sometimes less is more!!

U.S.A.

I have no idea what Gap, Banana Republic, or Baby Phat or anything like that is. Though Banana Republic sounds like a brand, which wouldn’t make sense. Brands aren’t clothes, you can’t wear them.

But I also don’t care enough to look it up.

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Anthony

The thing is, caring so deeply about how one looks is a very old-world type of thing that grew, in part, out of a desire to be distinguished and when honour and respect (Western) and FACE (Eastern) concepts were more important in defining a person’s value.

America used to be this way as people have pointed out — in the earlier 1900s. Fortunately, in my opinion, we have mostly grown out of it – thanks, in part, to our very young history, lacking much of cultural ‘baggage’ that weighs down other, old countries. It takes a certain maturity to realize (yes, it’s spelled with a “z” dammnit!) that clothes don’t make the man. And, look, the most productive countries in the world are NOT the most fashionable, I can assure you – North America & Scandinavia. 😉

Who honestly gives a fuck what often insecure and relatively unproductive people wear? More important things in the world — like wearing a gooddamn t-shirt and comfortable khakis and pleasurably scratching one’s nuts.

Felicia

I agree that there are some people in the US who don’t put any effort into their fashion but…I’ve also seen some pretty badly dressed Brits as well. AND WHAT’S UP WITH THE BRITS AND DENTAL WORK? They’ve missed the boat on that one! LMAO

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D.K.

Perhaps if you decided not to bow down the the great cultural slave driver known as high fashion, you’d have more than 5 quid in your bank account. lol Trying to keep up with European fashion trends is too expensive, too time consuming, too complicated, and too pretentious.

Smartly Dressed American

Americans dress badly. Accept it. I am American and am appalled by much of what I see in terms of “personal style”. If you can call it that. It is possible to wear high quality, well fitting clothes in any budget. Stop shopping at Wal-Mart and Target and start shopping in consignment shops and eBay. Find a seamstress or tailor in your neighborhood to alter your clothes so that they fit properly. Take pride in your appearance! Stop making excuses!

JM

I’d like an example of this person’s personal style and how we North American’s are so out to lunch with fashion. I would find it very interesting to see what she considers fashionable. I find it a bit difficult to completely agree with her when she’s making a huge blanket statement about all North Americans here. I’ve lived in cities that weren’t fashion conscious and a couple that were very aware of the latest trends. I think its rather unfair to say all NA’s don’t know how to dress.

Taylor

I am, and always have been, a minimalist. My fashion choices are primarily driven by my strong desire to not stand out. My clothes fit me well and I want to look okay, but I often choose soft or muted colors. I *like* being a wallflower. I also prefer to dress practical. Having spent the whole of my 20s in rainy Seattle without a car – yeah, I basically lived in jeans and hoodies. I wasn’t trying to set a fashion trends, nor have I ever wanted to. I just wanted to be comfortable. Still do.

That being said, I do think people should dress formal for special occasions, fine dining, etc. Even at my most casual, I always had at least two nice dresses and pair of cute shoes to pull out if ever needed.

My brother-in-law wore jeans to my wedding. Jeans! He told me that they were fine because he bought them at Men’s Warehouse. Look, I wouldn’t care if they were made by Armani – they were still JEANS. It has been a year and I’m still irritated. 🙂

I think Americans (myself included) need to stop being so casual, and stop being so defensive about it. We should care more. It’s not like we have to start dropping full paychecks on expensive clothes – but it’s important to leave the house looking like we care.

Christina

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Alex

How comes every single European teenager is trying to dress like a Canadian boy … US made pop star ….

I wont even mention every single girl trying to be like… miley or whatever her name is….

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Edward

Pity you have New York and Toronto for comparison with Europe. I know, why don’t you throw in LA or Miami? that should do it. Why not include Las Vegas? Or D.C? Too bad for you, you’ve never been to the United States. No one here thinks NY is fashionable. And we’ve seen europeans on vacation here. Nice people, no fashion sense whatsoever.

Jen

I could really care less what anyone else thinks about the way I dress. I wear clothes for me, not for Europeans that think I need to be wearing Armani or Versace.

And considering that our household runs on one paycheck, I hardly have the money to spend $100 on a nice pair of slack or $50 on a dress, when I can be quite comfortable and functional in a $20 pair of jeans, which ARE more comfortable to me than having to wear a dress and hose on a daily basis. And there’s no way in hell I’m wearing ‘nice’ clothes to work in my yard. I think it’s silly to feel the need to dress up to go grocery shopping or fill up your tank on your car. Yes, I have a nice pair of slacks and one dress that I wear for special occasions. But to say that someone shouldn’t wear comfy clothes like jeans and blouses/tshirts because they should have a sense of self worth or want to feel good about themselves? I don’t need European/dressy clothes to do that. I can have self confidence and a crap ton of self worth just fine in my jeans/blouse/sandals. Of course Europeans dress better, they just have to spit to find a clothing store from a name brand designer. They have France and Italy as their neighbors. People need to put emphasis on the type of person they are instead of what they wear. I’ll take being a nice person who wears jeans and tshirts any day over being a judgmental, snooty person who wears fashionable clothes constantly. Judging people just by the type of clothing they either choose to, or have no choice but to wear is childish.

And I’m not writing this because I feel the need to defend America as a whole for fashion. We do dress more comfortably and casual over here. Deal with it. I believe that’s what a lot of your posts on how bad America dresses say. You want us to ‘Deal’ with the fact that we dress worse than you? I say you should ‘Deal’ with the fact that we don’t and most of us don’t care. Households don’t always have the money to afford a personal seamstress or tailor. The only thing I need to ‘CARE’ about is mine, my child’s and my husband’s happiness. And I don’t need dress clothes to do that.

A.E.P

I do agree in that fact that a great many Americans have little style, often relying on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. This can be irritating, yes, but in contrast, European style can be a bit much. Both areas seem to be slightly off fashion wise, one doing too much while the other does to little. The edgy look that Europeans are known to have and that I have seen are a bit too trendy, and, in a way, are rather clone-ish too. Everyone wheres furs or leather jackets, really taking away from the creativity. A happy medium needs to be found, where casual is fabulous, but still not doing to much.

Blatant

I have come here from the year 2014, your near future, to make the following points:

1. America’s fashion sense is corporate.

2. My weight fluctuates too wildly for me to be tailoring everything I own. If I did THAT shit I’d be showing up to work naked.

3. Americans don’t live anywhere near as well as Europeans so our tendency to comfort eat and not give a shit about some things makes perfect sense.

Monty Hall

I am an American who would like to THANK YOU for crafting this wonderful, deadly accurate article, and especially for including Canada. Madame Arnault notwithstanding, even those in Montreal are missing something critical with their general lack of oomph.

Your article has given me the cold slap in the face I desperately needed! Despite the ire expressed in several of the comments, I’ll wager your article will get more than a few to think twice before donning sweatpants to go shopping. A few times, at least, before they go back to giving up.

Because it’s all about how much you value your life, isn’t it?

Queer As Turbofolk (Part I): "Eastern Europe Is Homophobic" | Balkanist

[…] Amazingly, I’m not talking about the sort of faux-lesbian antics designed to titillate straight guys that are the bane of Western pop culture. While American and British music videos and advertising bombard us with images of semi-dressed nubile young women on a daily basis, to the extent that those of us not aroused by these images have come to accept them as our society’s wallpaper, Serbian music videos feature just as many scantily clad men than women – if not more. I think the region’s Southern European macho culture enables this considerably: lingering shots of shirtless hunks and glistening musclebound torsos are a common and acceptable sight in media, and are not interpreted as “gay” as they typically would be in the West. Gleeful male objectification is common and real: at the last Serbian concert I went to, in a diaspora venue, the male singer of the house band let women queue up to squeeze his butt and be photographed with it after his performance. An hour later at the same event, headliner Jelena Karleuša pulled a guy out of the audience and stripped him down to his underwear on stage. In the West, these kind of shenanigans would be too gay to fly (for much the same reasons that American men won’t wear speedos or tight jeans). […]

Gabe

Latin Americans are a combination of American and European some dress comfortably and some dresses elegantly but in Latin America is not a matter of fashion or comfort, it’s about money and price.

CrimsonB

It’s not just because Americans are lazy. They truly have no discernment when it comes to many things. And yes, it is important. Why? How you present yourself on the outside is often a mirror image of how you perceive yourself and your worth so please everyone let’s stop already with the “fashion is not important” rhetoric. Go ahead and compare Michael Kors to Chanel or Betsey Johnson to Lulu Guinness. Laughable! Yes, I am an American and know how to dress. These poor women here stateside will literally come running after me as I walk down the street and ask “where did you buy that outfit” or “Who did your hairstyle” of “I used to dress like you” as if there is still a dying ember of what American women used to be and the higher level of class and dignity they once had. So you see this is not an indicator of only bad fashion but also a gauge of our self worth. Incredibly sad.

CrimsonB

Let me add as well that it has nothing to do with what a person can afford. When I was making a lousy $250 a week in a menial job I still knew how to put together an ensemble. Let me also add that even the American women who are wealthy will still have the worst fashions sense. Money certainly does not buy class. Style on the other hand, knows no boundaries.

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Ever consider how it would feel on the other end of those comments? EVER consider that people would be offended? Stop acting like you are better than everyone else PLEASE. It paints an unflattering picture of your personality.

Anonymous

Gracias por explicar con tanta claridad sobre este tema.Hay muy frecuentemente que la gente lia y lia para explicar con claridad las mismas y creo que solamente consiguen es fastidiar al lector. Un besito

Anonymous

Menos mal que hay alguien que charla claro de este tema…. acostumbres se dan muchas vueltas para explicar cualquier g?nero de tema y hacen que no nos enteremos de nada. Un besito

suzanne

THERE IS BUT ON LEGITIMATE POST HERE, AND IT WAS WRITTEN BY LE FIST.

suzanne

I spend my time on my children, family, friends, creating healthy meals, enjoying small moments, learning new skills, reading, expanding financial ventures, travelling and, well, staring at the clouds over the self-absorbed venture of covering my body in clothes that try to impress others. Its a waste of precious time. We only have so little.

Polly

This post is sadly very true! I wear vintage dresses and skirts from the 40’s and 50’s, along with low high heels, red lipstick, and curled hair. I dress like this everyday, even when just running to the grocery store. I think our clothing conveys how much we respect our own body, and how much we respect others. So many people stare and give me nice compliments, it’s like they have never seen a woman in a nice dress before…and that is very sad.

Polly

…I thought I should add that I am a young mother of 4 children, and I homeschool them. I have not let my busy days and lack of sleep be an excuse to dress sloppy. Dress to make people smile! : )

Peter

I’ve been to europe and have seen women in clothing that is less than desirable. go through some of the smaller towns in european countries.

i stand by what i said. its regional and also has to do with your city. if you go to nyc, dc, etc. you aren’t going to see people dress like the OP described but if you go to other cities you will see it.

i just do not think that europeans dress better. its about even, depending on where you go. when i was in germany everyone had red hair and platform sneakers or whatever. when i was in austria the ppl dressed really nice. in germany some ppl dress nice. italy too. some ppl in italy don’t tho. its just like the u.s.

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Karaoke ugh

We are too busy to focus upon fashion. Fashion is a cultural thing. Is one country superior to another because of dress? I think not!

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Australian

Are you serious? In Australia we play “guess the european” we guess them by their terrible dress sense, wearing converse on a night out and girls not knowing what a skirt or dress is.

Anon

You’re nothing but a spec washed away into a sea of infinite different opinions

Mark

You’re absolutely right. American style is basically some version of “casual slob”. It’s depressing.
Here in NYC, you do so many exceptions, but most frequently those exceptionally stylish individuals are foreign-born.

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Livy

While I agree with several statements, there is one thing that I think has forgotten to be mentioned. While American’s tend to dress more casually and European’s tend to dress edgier, it is the South Koreans who dress the best. I have had the opportunity to travel to several countries in Europe, many states in America and South Korea and hands down, South Koreans will win every time. Everyone, from the young to the old is chic and classy.

Lisa

Wow, so unbelievably rude. Where do I start? The reason why americans dress the way they do is because they work extremely hard and dont really have the time that europeans do. Americans dress up when they go out to dinner etc. We dont get dressed up just to sit in a pub all day long, no job to be had! No life, dont have shit to do! Its a good thing we dont worry so much about how we look or else we wouldnt have the time to give half of our income ti charity to help prop up your corrupt governments. You should be thanking us for being so lazy! 🙂

Annette

Just got back from Europe again and feel in general they do dress far better than the N Americans.
Americans dress teribly. I dont think wearing baggy clothes. Hick jeans and T shirts is stlish.
Lazy and frumpy!!!

Shauna Hos

I’m assuming you didn’t spend any time in the Midwest, small town America. After a 80 hour work week on the farm, part time job in town to make ends meet, and caring for family…being a fashionista is low priority.
However, I do enjoy the attitude of superiority that shows in your writing. I’ve been privy to it in the past, when traveling oversea; it never fails to amuse me.

PM

Fun fact: “Button-down shirt” actually refers to a shirt where the points of the collar button down, not to the fact that the shirt buttons.

Samuel

this is a lie. Europeans dress boring! “fine” living such as dress in suits and look 1950’s 1960’s is boring and I am tired of living in Europe everyone dress boring. I have to import my dress from America. JNCOs and prints on T-shirts and baggy and over-sized with a lot of colors are cool.
Europe is uncool. I refuse to buy dress at the local european stores. I import it from the US.

The Hippie

True to the core. As an American Male I hate the way most clothing fits me. And there’s not much option when it comes to sizing. Iam very tall and very skinny and I be damned if I find anything to fit me in the mens department that looks like it wasn’t made for some one over weight.xl shirts bell out and never fit and don’t get me started on pants. I’ve taken to wearing woman pants just because they fit me properly.

Lim

Just came back from Rome and Zurich and I agree with your observations. Part of it is the lack of maturity in the US. Some aults dress like kids because they have not really grown up yet. Hence the t-shirt and jeans. Listen to some of the illogical and inarticulate conversations. Fashion is reflective of that here in the US.

Learning from how other Cultures Dress | 24timezonesblog

[…] “I think the concept of tailoring has completely escaped North Americans. Men’s pants are always too baggy. Naturally, American men refer to European style trousers as ‘gay’ because they are what they consider to be ‘tight’. In actuality, those are how your trousers are meant to fit,” according to bangsandabun.com […]

Kassie

I absolutely agree, I’m from America and the typical American wears ill fitting clothes tennis shoes (trainers) and baggy t-shirts with stupid, childish cartoon characters…There is litteraly nothing for men and boys clothing.

I been to Asda’s in the UK and wanted to cry at the nice stylish clothes they had for my infant son. This is the same company affiliated with Wal-Mart who also carries the George line.

It’s a sad comparison but the American market is filled with cheap looking crap…and I’m a bit angry that the clothes by George in the UK looked like H

mark saniez

Having a brother living in the states thus having visited quite a lot of times the USA,It’s true that Europeans dress better than Americans ( no hard feelings)and I’m not european born either,I’m just explaining the facts !)Take france for instance I dig their sexy “LINGERIE” CORSETS WITH SUSPENDERS-LARGE BUTTON ON OR CLIP ON SUSPENDERS for men &women and especialy their lovely NYLON BUTTONED HOUSE OVERALLS ,in thay crispy nylon and in so many colors too,and they can be long or short ( take a look on the 2 french sites ( amazon.fr “blouse en nylon” or on ebay.fr “blouses en nylon” aswell.Now concerning Germany ,of course it’s all those LEDERHOSEN WITH SUSPENDERS ‘in thick leather for all the family ,man,women,kids,and of course the lovely DIRNDLS with their laced blouses long dirndl with the long laced aprons too ( really feminne,there too you can go in English stating” german dirndls on ” EBAY.DEUTSCHLAND” ” lederhosen & dirndls.Now you take italy,they have such lovely long bib aprons with suspenders in the back,not talking of their leather suspenders they sell for men and women too!JUST ANOTHER EXEPLE ?TAKE THE uk they have such lovely PLEATED skirts for girls and women with BUTTON STRAPS ( suspenders in the USA),not to metion braces with leather ends too…so there you go ,perhaps you may not like it ( bur having lived on 5 CONTINENTS EUROPE IS FOR ME THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE?5 AND ESPECIALY THE POLICE ARE EXTREEMLY VERY LESS BRUTAL THAN IN THE USA !!!

Oliver

I totally agree. I’m from France and actually i don’t like teh way most people wear hare: the current fashion of too tight pants for example.
My own style is 60’s/70’s inspired but classical at the same time. I prefer
kind of Levi’s 501 fit, not too tight. I hate sport shoes. But when i see TV shows with californian people, i’m just amazed how bad people are wearing: like teenagers, no shirt, only rdiculous t-shirts, basket shoes and awful tatoos. And of course, too much obese people.

Joey

In general I agree with you, but I do think there are nice, unique and legitimate American styles, and there are people who do them well – boho casual on the west coast, cowboy/cowgirl in the south and preppy on the east coast. Ralph Lauren did a lot to export the neat, well-fitting casual American style to other parts of the world. He showed that casual dressing could be attractive if done well. I have noticed that when one get to good neighborhoods that you see more better dressed people. On relatively recent trips to Europe, I have seen young people who look just the same as the ones I see around here (Ottawa, Canada) – sloppy, T-shirts, sweatpants, distressed jeans, sneakers….. And I have seen young people here dress neatly and well – it catches on for some of them while they are at university or college, and they learn to do a casual, but well-fitting with relatively good quality clothing well, in a style that eventually transfers well into the workplace.

Note that “button-down shirt” does not mean a shirt with buttons down the front. It means that the collars have buttons which fastens the points of the collar to the shirt. It is an inheritance from the Ivy League style which grew into the preppy style in the 1970’s. A shirt with buttons down the front is usually called a collared shirt, to distinguish it from something more casual without a collar.

HumbleAmerican

Such snobbishness and immaturity. Highly judgmental.
I love European culture and history, but I don’t like their superiority complex towards North Americans. (Non-Nordic) Europeans have a thing or two to learn about modesty and humility. I’m also not a fan of the conspicuous consumption common among southern Europeans, particularly Italians. The flashiness is just off-putting to me. Tight pants are extremely uncomfortable, not to mention hideous. Latin and Slavic Europeans place too much value in outward appearances. The term “button-down” is a reference to the type of collar, not the actual shirt buttons. Someone needs to do a little more research on fashion, SMH.
As for me, I wear polos, oxford shirts, khaki chinos, penny loafers, oxford shoes, and boat shoes–the fashion of my parents and grandparents and great grandparents. I wear navy blazers, tweed coats, and own several suits. Almost none of them are European! I get all my clothes from Brooks Brothers, and some from Burberry, Loro Piana, and Lacoste. I have a wardrobe the cost of some American homes and inherited a swiss watch the cost of a mid-range car, yet I would never judge anyone else on fashion. I was raised better than that. I’ve met multi-millionaires who dress like homeless people. I’ve met billionaires who buy their clothes at Target. I highly doubt they care about anyone else’s opinions because they’ve already “made it”–no need to impress anyone.
I hope that perhaps you’ll one day graduate to a level of maturity that is accepting of other people’s station in life and personal life choices. I don’t care about what the person next to me is wearing, unless it’s circumstantially inappropriate. I only care about what *I’m* wearing. Period. There’s far more to a person than the pieces of fabric sitting on his/her skin. And there are far more important things to do than get hung up on clothes–you know like, earn money? Help the poor? Write novels? Develop mathematical solutions to world problems? Compose music?

Halle

I am a Canadian and I totally disagree with this post. I am 12 years old and I think that my fashion sense is very good, and I wear a lot of european made clothes. I think that both the places each have there own unique style that have different backgrounds and I think that Canadians dress more diverse than anybody else. Do not sterotype countries and places because no one person in the world is the same. Before you open your mouth and say our style is unoriginal than maybe you should come to Vancouver and see that we actually dress nice and we actually are very fashion forward. Stereotyping is stupid so don’t do it.

Jovel

Totally agree with your points, the delivery just made you look like an ass though. *rolls eyes like an American*

Dave

Blah Blah I am from England and I will hate on Americans and Canadians just because I live closer to Paris than they do. Wow.

Dave

Oh I wish I was a Parisian too. Can I write a blog about how Northern Hemispherians dress better than Southern ones just so that I could include France into my poor dressing world? Of course we snobs in the Northern Hemisphere use Paris as our playground.

See the irony? You have done the same thing with your tracksuit wearing British brethren.

Polly

Those horrible horrible pleated chino trousers with a polo shirt tucked into them and a belt is the least sexy look ever for men of any age.

heck

good clothes cost good money, something most americans dont have. give us free heathcare and free day care, a living wage, then we can care about fashionable clothes.

Tony

I am from America and I totally agree with everything you said about fashion. We had one woman at my work from Europe who dressed nice every day. The contrast she displayed between her and other women was obvious. I drove by an elementary school today and one of the moms looked like a hooker. Sheer leopard print top and way too short white shorts or was it a skirt. Doesn’t matter, American women have some work to do for fashion’s sake. Us men, same thing. We wear a version of prison wear here in the States. Baggy, slacker, road rage bum wear. Good insult about New York. The new black, ha!

Kelvin

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Ruth

I am european women and I dresses very smart every day I think that american women dress like trash

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