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I'm popular. Just not in North America.
March 25, 2008 12:38 AM   Subscribe

What are some fashion trends that are popular everywhere else but North America?

It can range from clothing to apparel to jewelry.

An example would be the yellow Livestrong bands that blasted North America but didn't really have much of an effect on the rest of the world.
posted by 913 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (58 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
You want trends popular in NA but not anywhere else or popular everywhere but not NA? Your question is the latter but your example is the former.
posted by junesix at 1:01 AM on March 25, 2008


I'd like trends popular in places other than NA. My example was of NA, because I only know trends here. Thanks!
posted by 913 at 1:09 AM on March 25, 2008


I was just discussing this earlier today, but it is very common in Asia to wear a face-mask when you suffer from allergies (during prime pollen season) or when you have a cold or whatnot, but a North American wouldn't wear one unless they were dying of something terrible. Even then it's debatable.
posted by nightchrome at 1:41 AM on March 25, 2008


The metric system. Speaking a language besides your native language.

If you mean clothing fashion, I guess I could say thongs or speedos for guys at the pool (not professional swimmers).
posted by hal_c_on at 2:31 AM on March 25, 2008


I don't think there is something popular "everywhere else but North America." Or at least, that is very hard to imagine.

I guess one possible example (though it's catching on with hipsters) is to wear those Middle-East-esque scarfs around your neck in Europe.
posted by Corduroy at 3:02 AM on March 25, 2008


Pretty much all female fashion from Japan. And Jpop! Yay Jpop
posted by Arbac at 3:06 AM on March 25, 2008


I don't think there is something popular "everywhere else but North America." Or at least, that is very hard to imagine.

Maybe if we could rephrase the question a bit?

"What are some fashion trends that are popular in large parts of the world but not North America?"

Then we can answer, "This is really popular in Europe, but not NA. That is really popular in Japan, but not NA." (which is, I think, how most people are interpreting it...)
posted by gregvr at 3:25 AM on March 25, 2008


When on holiday in the US last year I noticed that it was virtually impossible to get deep V neck casual tops - they were primarily round and if v neck very high cut. In the UK you get a much wider range of neck shapes it seems.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:34 AM on March 25, 2008


That's how I interpreted it, too, gregvr. I just wanted to make sure that the OP did not mean everywhere but North America.
posted by Corduroy at 3:56 AM on March 25, 2008


Man purse, man bag, whatever you want to call it. I recall these all over Europe as far back as the '70s. Never cought on jere.
posted by Gungho at 4:21 AM on March 25, 2008


I think nothing. The world is not divided into North American vs the rest of the world. The rest of the world is very different from each other - Europe and India have little in common compared to Europe and North America.
posted by markovich at 4:21 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll take everywhere else as Europe which is what I can talk about. Even if I'm generalizing but I suppose that's the spirit of the question.

Smart cars are popular in Europe.

The germans Tokio Hotel are HUGELY popular among European teenagers. Don't know if they can beat Hannah Montana over there.

The Eurovision song contest is hugely popular among gay european men. All the way to Israel.
posted by lucia__is__dada at 4:57 AM on March 25, 2008


Like Livestrong, there is a black-and-white bracelet to battle racism in football (soccer).
posted by smackfu at 5:14 AM on March 25, 2008


If you mean "everywhere else other than NA," then that's going to be tough to find. The non-NA world is hardly homogeneous. If you mean "in another non-NA country or region," then the list is limitless, because fashion is heavily culture dependent. (Burkas!) If you mean "Europe," you might get some good answers, because there's fair amount of cultural overlap between there and NA. Can you clarify?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:22 AM on March 25, 2008


legwarmers...
posted by dawdle at 5:27 AM on March 25, 2008


This fashion blog might give you an idea of how people dress outside the US.
posted by mand0 at 5:50 AM on March 25, 2008


'Normal' adults don't seem to wear shorts very much (as compared to NA) in Europe and India (based on anecdotal observed evidence) even when it's pretty hot.
posted by sandmanwv at 6:00 AM on March 25, 2008


Soccer jerseys.
posted by trace.log at 6:02 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


A few things I've noticed living in Latvia (I can't speak for all of Europe/Eastern Europe, but perhaps someone else in the area can confirm):

- young men (say, up to 30) are much more comfortable with different materials and patterns: patent leather shoes, screen-prints on jeans

- hairstyles for both men and women are more extreme than in the States: teenagers might have racing stripes/cheat lines shaved into their buzzcuts; older ladies seem perfectly happy to have hair an unnatural shade of red

- artificial tanning is a pretty big deal here
posted by mdonley at 6:02 AM on March 25, 2008


A friend whose husband is European says a lot of men in Europe wear these really really tight button-up jeans that I don't really see here unless I'm missing something...
posted by robinrs at 6:03 AM on March 25, 2008


For the most part, in N.A. people feel fairly comfortable showing up to class (for students) in sweatpants... I have yet to see a pair of sweats on a European body! so there's a reverse one for you.

As for fashion everywhere else, I find neck scarves are really popular in Europe, the bigger the better, and in every possible colour, pattern and fabric. While some of us north americans DO wear neck scarves, we are usually told that we look "very European" while wearing them. This despite the fact that scarves are not really necessary clothing in the boiling hot countries like Spain and France, but are quite necessary in the frequencly cold countries like, say, Canada, where it sometimes considered very uncool to wear mittens, scarves, or hats on any day that is warmer than -10*C, unless you do it in a way that makes you look "European". does this make sense? no, probably not.

Also, driving on the other side of the road never really caught on in N.A. the same way it did in England :P
posted by Planet F at 6:18 AM on March 25, 2008


I should mention: a European body that is not participating in a sporting activity at that point and time.
posted by Planet F at 6:19 AM on March 25, 2008


mdonley spoke up for Latvia, but I have to say I think those are pretty spot on for the UK as well.

More generally, men here seem to be more comfortable expressing themselves through fashion and grooming. Hair styles are more elaborate, man bags are common, jeans are tighter, trousers are better fitted, shirts are more graphic and aren't limited to t-shirts, and you'll almost never see a baseball cap.

As one lone data point, I went back to the States over the holidays and for an evening out I wore a shirt, vest ("waistcoat"), short black shorts and black tights. In the UK, that look is about a dime a dozen but I felt I stuck out a bit in San Francisco. *shrug* might be different in New York, which I've found the fashion to be similar to London.
posted by like_neon at 6:26 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm an American ex-pat living in Japan. Among tourists, I can pretty much spot Americans right away. Some generalizations about what Americans wear:

1) light-colored and bright clothing
2) big, baggy, loose clothing. Pants and jeans with pleats.
3) if the temp is anywhere near 70 degrees F and up, Americans wear SHORTS and T-SHIRTS
4) Tennis/sports shoes

Europeans and Japanese are comparatively similar in daily fashion: they generally dress up more, darker colors, generally more fashion conscious. And if I can squeeze in one more stereotype--I can also spot Chinese tourists in Japan...they tend to dress a lot like Americans.
posted by zardoz at 6:29 AM on March 25, 2008


I'd say that Hummers and other large SUVs are accessories that never really caught on outside of the US. Even people who can afford to drive them generally buy more "tasteful" cars over here.

That's sort of an odd position, given that both Saab and Volvo make SUVs, and I'd argue Volvo XC90s are popular enough in Stockholm to have caused the same kind of debate as American SUVs do in the States (emissions, parking, special taxes, etc.)
posted by squid patrol at 6:40 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm going to assume by "everywhere else" you mean "everywhere else with lots of white people" or "everywhere else in the first world".

So my understanding, as zardoz mentioned, is that American men wear much baggier pants than elsewhere.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:45 AM on March 25, 2008


Publicly funded media (especially film). Hollywood is so enormous that our government has little perceived need to have the equivalent of PBS for film.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:55 AM on March 25, 2008


Also, looking at a lot of these answers, it occurs to me that NYC (and NYC can't be alone in this) gets quite a bit of trickle-down from European trends, whether it's from pretense, being cosmopolitan, or having some of the same practical concerns as European countries - for example, man bags are quite common in NYC, because it's impractical to keep stuff in your car (if you even have one, which you most likely don't).
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:03 AM on March 25, 2008


In the Czech Repulbic and Austria last summer I saw a lot of men wearing what I would call capri pants. I'm pretty sure no red-blooded American male would be caught dead in them.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:06 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm not sure if this is still the case, but my initial thought was (SMS) text messaging. Virtually everyone in Europe - even my 90 year old grandmother - has a mobile phone, and almost everyone sends text messages. Most of my friends are far more likely to send me a text than an email.
posted by afx237vi at 7:11 AM on March 25, 2008


Capri pants for men are pretty widespread through Europe, and to those who claim that European adults don't wear shorts I would counterclaim the Low Countries and Germany.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:13 AM on March 25, 2008


As previously mentioned, I noticed alot of neck scarves in Belgium/Netherlands/northern Germany when I was there in the last month.

Also, interesting layering of clothes, such as 3 or 4 layers of tank tops and long sleeves in different colors and patterns. In the US I see it in places like the Urban Outfitters catalog but rarely on an actual person, and even then it's only on like 19-year-old girls. I noticed quite a few adult women sporting the look in Europe. (However, it could be more prevalent in NA and I'm just sheltered.)
posted by cabingirl at 7:14 AM on March 25, 2008


Kylie Minogue

Tea (as opposed to coffee)
posted by mkultra at 7:34 AM on March 25, 2008


Oh, and Speedos.
posted by mkultra at 7:35 AM on March 25, 2008


Stubbies: hotpants for Australian men. Straight men. Manly men.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:40 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


1.) Soccer, the sport not just the jerseys, obviously.

2.) Crowded House.
posted by thomas144 at 8:06 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just came back from Germany and was a little surprised by the exotic eyeglasses (weird wire frames, goofy designs/colors) both men and women were wearing. That certainly hasnt caught on here.

It also probably goes without saying that western europeans havent bought into the american-style casual revolution so you really dont see too many schlocky shorts and t-shirts as being acceptable casual wear for adults and business attire is usually at least one step up.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:41 AM on March 25, 2008


I rarely see men in caftans in North America. Or penis gourds, for that matter.
posted by billtron at 8:42 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming that the OP intended a fairly limited definition of North America (i.e. Canada, the USA, and Mexico).

hal_c_on: "The metric system. Speaking a language besides your native language.

The metric system is used in Canada and Mexico, and speaking both English and French is fairly common in Canada (though some have both as native languages).

lucia__is__dada: Smart cars are popular in Europe.

They aren't immensely popular, but they aren't uncommon in Canada. I think that they just started to sell them in the USA.

Sticherbeast: "Publicly funded media (especially film). Hollywood is so enormous that our government has little perceived need to have the equivalent of PBS for film."

Not true of Canada.

thomas144: "1.) Soccer, the sport not just the jerseys, obviously.

Mexico.
posted by ssg at 9:20 AM on March 25, 2008


Volvo XC90s are popular enough in Stockholm

True but on nationwide scale they are not. If people buy a SUV in Sweden they buy something small like a Honda CR-V. I don't think you can easily find cars heavier than 2500 kg's anywhere outside N.A. But my point is only valid if you believe (like I do) that large cars are simple fashion accessories.

I would say something about American beer as well but I guess the differences in drinking culture has little to to with fashion.
posted by uandt at 9:44 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm getting cheeved that this thread has become "all cultural consumer differences" instead of clothing, apparel, jewelry and fashion as specified by the OP. It's making things quite noisy in here.

Planet F: I have yet to see a pair of sweats on a European body!

I've certainly seen them in Ireland/UK, on women. Europe doesn't seem to be immune to the knocked-off-Juicy-tracksuit look. (unless you meant "on a continental European body," over which I haven't spent enough time to attest)

squid patrol said: "I'd say that Hummers and other large SUVs are accessories that never really caught on outside of the US. Even people who can afford to drive them generally buy more "tasteful" cars over here."

Again, maybe on the continent, but there are plenty of yummy mummies carpooling the sprogs to school in their huge gas-guzzlers in Ireland and the UK. Maybe it's an enormous Range Rover instead of a Hummer, but it's a large SUV by any standard. They aren't the norm, but they have certainly become the same ostentatious show of wealth that they originally were here.
posted by pineapple at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2008


Japan has moved to completely e-mail based mobile messaging. After having my first ever mobile while living in Japan I find SMS mindbogglingly stupid.

Japanese men tend to have really big non-folding wallets.

Cellphone straps are very popular in Japan and other Asian countries.
posted by robofunk at 10:27 AM on March 25, 2008


Chinese people (probably other Asian people as well) are known to wear cellphones around their neck on a lanyard.
posted by mutantdisco! at 10:38 AM on March 25, 2008


I'm assuming that the OP intended a fairly limited definition of North America (i.e. Canada, the USA, and Mexico).

My guess was that the OP was a Canadian who asked about North America rather than the "United States".
posted by thomas144 at 11:27 AM on March 25, 2008


In Asia all types of cell phone accessories... things that dangle from your phone
posted by Bunglegirl at 12:15 PM on March 25, 2008


Those are popular in the U.S.
posted by pineapple at 12:18 PM on March 25, 2008


Like NYC, Montreal is big on European fashion.
posted by sgrass at 12:19 PM on March 25, 2008


Fannypacks and mullets.

(This is assuming that you are using "North America" in the Canadian sense to mean the US and Canada. Mexicans love fannypacks and mullets as much as the rest of the world)
posted by fermezporte at 12:31 PM on March 25, 2008


In the UK, I see quite a lot of girls with mullets deliberately cut into their hair. I have not yet seen this in the US. Also, seconding what someone else said about older ladies with pink/blue/green hair streaks, but I will also add nose piercings to that. This is something that people here never really seem to look at twice.

High fashion (such as catwalk styles) seem to catch on over here in a more widespread manner over here (UK, maybe Europe), with everyone and their mother running out to snap up the latest trend or whatever Kate Moss has been spotted wearing. Sometimes with disaterous results (gladiator sandles), sometimes with great results.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:34 PM on March 25, 2008


In the UK, I see quite a lot of girls with mullets deliberately cut into their hair. I have not yet seen this in the US

I should clarify, that I haven't seen this done in the US in the ironic manner (as there are plenty of non-ironic mullets in the US), which is how it seems in the UK.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:37 PM on March 25, 2008


I seem to recall seeing a number of people on blogs like Facehunter esp when he was based out of Paris, wearing harem style/drop crotch trousers. Maybe the trend came and went.. I've never seen those in the States. I see a LOT of kaffiya scarves on teenagers here in DC.. the hip hop crowd wears them now..

In northern Italy back about 5 years ago I saw so many kids with super bright Invicta backpacks. like, all of them. Never saw that anywhere else.
posted by citron at 4:07 PM on March 25, 2008


Seriously. Caftans.
posted by billtron at 4:52 PM on March 25, 2008


Jean jackets, worn with or without jeans, are much more popular in Europe. People don't seem to mind wearing a full-on jeans outfit, unlike in the US (where I heard this referred to as a "Canadian Tuxedo" when I once mistakenly emulated the look).
posted by Jemstar at 6:22 PM on March 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


PAL-format video.
GSM phones.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:21 PM on March 25, 2008


pineapple wrote: squid patrol said:

Actually I was quoting uandt, with whom I disagreed. I think you and I are in agreement that Europe is no longer a SUV-free zone. :)
posted by squid patrol at 9:22 AM on March 26, 2008


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese wrote: GSM phones

A fashion accessory to be sure, but of course AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM providers in the US. Every iPhone you see in the states is GSM.
posted by squid patrol at 9:24 AM on March 26, 2008


squid patrol said: "pineapple wrote: squid patrol said:

Actually I was quoting uandt, with whom I disagreed. I think you and I are in agreement that Europe is no longer a SUV-free zone. :)
"

Totally right, sorry about that.

Also, I just left the insane quoting above because it's funny. It's like an episode of Friends. "They know, that we know, that they know, that we know, that they know!" "I KNOW!"
posted by pineapple at 9:34 AM on March 26, 2008


I have seen the layered t-shirt (long and short sleeve) and tank top look here in BC, Canada.
posted by deborah at 11:53 PM on March 26, 2008


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