(DANANG, Vietnam) — It’s become a tradition of sorts for world leaders at Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summits to don matching jackets for a “family photo.”
Leading up to the summit, there was a question of whether President Donald Trump, who is rarely seen in public without his signature suit and tie, would partake in the tradition.
But he put that speculation to rest on Friday as he walked into the APEC gala wearing a dark-blue, silk button-down shirt. He shook Russian President Vladimir Putin’s hand before posing with 20 fellow world leaders for a “family photo.”
World leaders have Bill Clinton to thank for starting the annual tradition back in 1993, when he hosted the summit in Seattle and gifted world leaders in attendance with matching bomber jackets.
The next year, the tables turned on Clinton, and it was his turn to don a traditional Indonesian shirt selected by the summit’s subsequent host country.
Since then, the trend has continued with many other hosting countries also following suit in continuing the tradition.
Former President George W. Bush had a reputation for embracing the lighthearted tradition in good humor. He donned everything from a poncho during the 2008 summit in Lima, Peru, to a traditional blue silk “ao dai” at the 2006 APEC summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, over the course of his eight years in office.
The tradition has remained strong ever since.
President Barack Obama made no secret of the fact that he wasn’t such a fan of the tradition with his decision to nix it when it was his turn to host the APEC summit on his home turf of Hawaii in 2011, after previously threatening in jest that he would make world leaders wear aloha shirts or grass skirts.
“I had looked at pictures of some of the previous APEC meetings and some of the garb that had appeared previously, and I thought this may be a tradition that we might want to break,” Obama said at the time. “We gave them a shirt, and if they wanted to wear the shirt, I promise you it would have been fine. But I didn’t hear a lot of complaints about us breaking precedent on that one.”
Though Obama may have managed a temporary break from the tradition, some fashion habits die hard.
At the 2014 APEC summit in China, Obama donned a deep-red silk jacket for the group photo that drew comparisons to Star Trek character Jean-Luc Picard.
Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.