Nobody has nor probably ever will accuse me of being on the cutting edge of fashion. Heck, I'm usually not even in the same time zone. That said, since coming to Bangkok I've seen some clothing choices that have boggled even my chic-deficient sensibilities. Things like running shorts--you know, the really short kind that marathoners wear, with the side vents that go waaaaaaay up--with a short-sleeve button-down, dark socks, and loafers. I'll go out on a limb and say that dude was European. And since I saw him at the Skytrain station my first question was, "Where does he keep his train pass?" And then I stopped thinking about it because I had just eaten lunch.
By the way, what's with the backpackers wandering around Bangkok unshaven, wearing those thin, tight t-shirts with all sorts of gaudy screenprinting, manpris, and flip-flops? Seriously...
I must tread very carefully on this next topic, because next thing I know I might be running from an assembled group of Thai women with pitchforks and machetes. But let me just say that I have seen some truly...unique...ensembles for women here. I have to confess that I find some personal enjoyment walking along the elevated path between the Chitlom and Siam Skytrain stations because I see some very interesting clothing choices. Skirts come in various lengths, most of which begin at the knee and migrate north from there--I'm willing to give something of a pass on the length, though, because it's really hot here. And I think they're called bubble skirts, but I see a lot more of those here than I ever saw in America. In my opinion, not very flattering look, but I'm a man, so what do I know. Ruffled blouses are far more common than in the States, too. Sometimes the ruffles are big enough that I'm afraid a strong gust of wind might pick some poor woman up and spirit her away to environs unknown. Oh, and high-waisted skirts/pants with pleats apparently never went out of style in Bangkok. Same goes for MC Hammer pants. For women. I'm not kidding.
I really shouldn't complain. The variety is far preferable to the cookie-cutter dark business suit fashions that I was inundated with working in San Francisco and Washington, DC.
For all the adventure in female fashion, men here trend towards conservative business-style attire--I should probably note at this point that it seems most professionals here have custom-tailored clothes that fit very nicely. It's quite affordable to do here--even a caveman like me has two custom-made suits. Increasingly common here (for men and women) are polo shirts that are a uniform for the company; banks and travel agencies seem to be the most common, but that might just be my observation based on the business district I frequent. Most men wear plain, dark slacks, usually with a white button-down shirt. But most Thais are smart enough to wear the collar open and leave the necktie at home. Oh how I envy them!
Shoulder pads for women might be making a comeback, though. You read it here first.