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The Definitive Ranking Of Costumes World Leaders Have Forced Each Other To Wear At APEC

The costumes are clearly the best part of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. Clearly.

Tuesday marks the end of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. During the summit, leaders from countries who have a coast on the Pacific gather to discuss important economic matters and pressing issues.

Alexi Druzhinin / Via RIA Novosti / Reuters

Here, President Barack Obama prepares to discuss the idea of personal space with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Together these men and women lead a group that is responsible for 40% of the world’s population, 44% of global trade, and more than half of the world’s GDP, according to APEC’s website.

Kim Kyung-Hoon / Via Reuters

But what clearly matters is the fact that every year, these powerful people bow to the whims of the host country and don whatever items of clothing are demanded of them.

Paramount Picutres / Via tumblr.com

They are then forced to pose in what is actually referred to as a “family photo” while wearing the host country’s garments of choice. Here is the ranking of the best of these amazing costumes over the years.

Kevin Lamarque / Via Reuters

23. 2011 — Vladivostok, Russian Federation

Alexander Nemenov / Via AFP / Getty Images

Vladimir Putin was the first to violate the cardinal rule of APEC’s pictures, in place since 1993: No ties. The tradition was supposed to better foster a sense of trust among the members.

22. 2015 — Manila, Philippines

Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

If you were expecting a thrilla in Manila, today is not a great day for you. Because this is a whole checklist of things that APEC pictures should try to avoid. Ties? Check. Plain old dark suits? Check. People unsure of whether they should be waving or not? Check.

21. 2012 — Honolulu, United States

Kevork Djansezian / Via Getty Images

Barack Obama — in an attempt to end the silly shirt tradition the summit had become known for — passed on the opportunity to put everyone in Hawaiian shirts. The disappointment continues to this day.

20. 2010 — Yokohama, Japan

Alexander Nemenov / Via AFP / Getty Images

Staid suits (but at least with no ties) marked the first time in years that there was no “traditional” outfit for the world leaders. BORING.

19. 1999 — New Auckland, New Zealand

Phil Walter / Via Getty Images

Was this really the best you could do, New Zealand?

18. 1997 — Vancouver, Canada

Win McNamee / Via AFP / Getty Images

Matching jackets? Dull.

17. 1995 — Osaka, Japan

Rodolfo Manabat / Via AP Photo

Are you actively trying to be boring, Japan? Because you’re succeeding.

16. 2009 — Singapore

Pool / Via Getty Images

A solid effort from Singapore, but nothing to write home about.

15. 2000 — Bandar Seri Bagawan, Brunei Darussalam

Rick Bowmer / Via AP Photo

This year’s summit was at a polo club, so you have to be a little bummed that the leaders weren’t made to wear polo shirts.

14. 2007 — Sydney, Australia

Alexander Nemenov / Via AFP / Getty Images

The Australian Driza-bone jackets are great and all, but the fact that only Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper chose to wear the sweet hat that goes with the outfit diminishes this photo.

13. 2005 — Los Cabos, Mexico

Spencer Platt / Via Getty Images

The guayabera shirts are great, but the overall outfit has something of a waitstaff feel to it.

12. 1993 — Seattle, United States

Therese Frare / Via AFP / Getty Images

The first year that the “no ties” rule was in effect, Clinton opted to keep it simple with leather bomber jackets for everyone. To be fair, Seattle’s grunge look in the early 1990s probably wouldn’t have gone over too well. But Chinese President Jiang Zemin in plaid would’ve been so good.

11. 1996 — Subic, Philippines

Shizuo Kambayashi / Via AP Photo

The white, tieless shirts called barong tagalog look really easy and wearable but aren’t all that eye-catching.

10. 2005 — Busan, South Korea

STR / Via AFP / Getty Images

The traditional Korean overcoats, called durumaki, worn this year are awesome if for no other reason than the intricate knots holding them closed.

9. 1998 — Kuala Lampur, Malaysia

VIncent Thian / Via AP Photo

Vice President Al Gore doesn’t look very comfortable in his traditional Malaysian batik shirt, but that kind of makes the picture better.

8. 2003 — Bangkok, Thailand

Luis Enrique Ascui / Via Getty Images

The silk shirt game in Thailand is on point.

7. 2006 — Hanoi, Vietnam

Hoang Dinh Nam / Via AFP / Getty Images

The flowing traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai clothes’ bright fabrics are fantastic.

6. 2014 — Beijing, China

Kevin Lamarque / Via Reuters

China’s choice this year of traditional silk shirt for the male leaders drew comparisons to Star Trek uniforms. They also look ridiculously comfy.

5. 2013 — Bali, Indonesia

Pool / Reuters

Impressive, though nobody wore the traditional Balinese “endek” as well as Secretary of State John Kerry.

4. 1994 — Bogor, Indonesia

Toru Yamanaka / Via AFP / Getty Images

You wear that Indonesian shirt, Bill Clinton.

3. 2001 — Shanghai, China

Eriko Sugita / Via AFP / Getty Images

Yes. Just yes.

2. 2004 — Santiago, Chile

Tim Sloan / Via AFP / Getty Images

PONCHOS.

1. 2008 — Lima, Peru

Pilar Olivares / Via Reuters

The only thing that could top Chile’s ponchos? Peru’s ponchos.

correction

These rankings have been adjusted accordingly after correcting an earlier version of this post where the photo for the Sydney meeting originally showed that year’s Finance Ministers Meeting. Peru’s ponchos remain number one.

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Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at hayes.brown@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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