Posted by: whatallisonsees | June 28, 2008

Is America too casual?

On my way to the Shenzhen airport, I was taking some pictures and looking at everyone outside the window, noticing how relatively dressed up the Asian people were. Button down shirts, nice blouses, real shoes, and then I thought about how causal Americans are.

To work we will find what’s around and throw it on. For dinners, jeans and a clean top will work. Or church, a polo or “nice” jeans are widely accepted. For formal occasions, a tie or some heels are enough to suffice, and people aren’t surprised by how low key we are – it is expected. The All-American, T-shirt, jeans, and flip flops “look.”

And then, no lie, as I am glancing out the window, there is a mass of 30-40 Chinese waiting for a bus and then this one ex-pat dude. (Ex-Pat, ex-patriot, is a name for anyone not Chinese, not from China.) He HAD to be American. Dude fit the bill perfectly! Oversized grey T-shirt with some logo on it, baggy gap jeans, and leather American Eagle flip flops. I tried to take a picture, but we drove by too quickly.

So, are we too casual? Or is it just our … culture? Ugh. A culture of casualty and disrespect for occasion? No thank you.

All American Dude



  1. hello! so found your blog and thought I would say hello! I am jealous that you get to hang out with Avery! I havent even met her! stupid living in London…. anyway,

    just thought i would say as en ex-pat in the UK, you can always pick out the Americans. we are CASUAL! but in a good way. i have found people over here find us less pretentous. we are how you find us. granted, i have changed style a bit, becoming more fancy and occassion appropriate. but all in all, i think its great that Americans are casual. we know when to dress up but dont have to put on a fancy face everyday! 🙂

    hope all is well with you…leah mentions you and updates on what you are doing. keep in touch.

  2. I found your blog looking for something else about Hong Kong. I’m not too sure about Americans are more casual than other nationalities. I’ve grown up in several different countries around the world, and whilst I have to say that it’s pretty easy for me to pick out Americans from a crowd, I can’t really say Americans are casual in appearance for most of the 1960s and ’70s that I remembered them. I did see many Americans loosened up in the 1980s, but the “downgrading” basically just started when the Internet took off, maybe around 1993-95. Since then, Americans are getting more and more *badly* dressed *in public* (as opposed to more *casually* dressed). But, hey, what do I know about being well-dressed … I wear cowboy boots all the time in Hong Kong …!!? Nice blog – well done.

  3. I attended an evening wedding last night and I have to agree, Americans are getting TOO casual! Women in leggings and casual capri pants with casual tops and flip-flops; men wearing pants that looked like they were hauled out of the laundry basket and tee shirts….I was shocked! Most of the men at least wore dress shirts and slacks and some ties but the women….so many of them looked like they just dropped what they were doing….[Johnny’s ball game, the grocery shopping, whatever] and showed up at the wedding. I admit, I haven’t worn a dress in years but there is a difference between a dressy casual outfit and just plain bad dressing. I thought it quite disrespectful to the beautiful bride and groom. Anyway, very nice to find someone else that is also noticing that Americans are slipping from “casual” to just plain sloppy!

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