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

The ~fashion~ is clearly the best part of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. Clearly.

Originally posted on
Updated on

One of the under-appreciated highlights of each year is 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, former President Barack Obama prepares to discuss the idea of personal space with Russian President Vladimir Putin


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 outfits over the years.

25. 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.

24. 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.

23. 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.


22. 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.


17. 2016 - Lima, Peru

Martin Bernetti / AFP / Getty Images

Well this is just slipshod. Go big, or go home, Peru, don't just have everyone drape some fabric — albeit lovely fabric — over your shoulder and call it a day.

16. 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.

15. 2017 — Da Nang, Viet Nam

Str / AFP / Getty Images

President Donald Trump's first year attending the summit saw the leaders looking both stylish and comfortable in silk. The deep blue is definitely eye-catching and seeing Trump in a shirt that actually fits is both odd and welcome.


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.

11. 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.


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.


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.

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.

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Hayes Brown at

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