Obama: APEC Summit Dress-Up Canceled

11/15/2011 01:50 pm ET

APEC's annual summit, the meeting of leaders from countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum, tends to make for a spectacular dress-up party. Following a 20-year tradition, each year world leaders don the traditional dress of the host country.

But there won't be any of that fun this year!

U.S. President Barack Obama, who is hosting the 2011 summit in Hawaii, kindly asked world leaders to drop the tradition.

"Where are the Hawaiian shirts?" Chilean President Sebastian Piñera reportedly asked before walking up to the photo platform. "We are ending that tradition," Obama said.

Why is Obama thwarting the makings of a spectacular photo shoot?

The U.S. president reportedly decided to ditch the Hawaiian shirts after looking at photos of previous APEC meetings. "I suggested to leaders, we gave them a shirt and I promise you if they wanted to wear it that would have been fine but I didn't hear a lot of complaints about breaking precedent," he told reporters.

To be entirely fair, Obama isn't the first to bypass tradition. Last year's host, Japan, also failed to provide world leaders with costumes, AP notes. "Not enough time," they said.

According to The Guardian, American President Bill Clinton originally came up with the idea of a costume photo shoot during the 1993 summit's photo call in Seattle.

Many years of fabulous fashion followed, with ponchos in Chile in 2004, silk gowns in Vietnam in 2006, and leather jackets in Australia in 2007.

Take a look at photo calls from past years in the slideshow below. Now that Hawaiian shirts are off the table for this year's meeting, vote on what the leaders should wear next year.

Costume Ball


Apec Summit
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