Arts + Culture

What Not To Wear: Dress Codes Worldwide

by Eimear Lynch


At a meeting: Men, you may never look as good as a Greek does in a suit, pressed cotton shirt, and Hermès tie, but you might as well try. Women, forego glitz and gold buttons for dark Armani suits, strappy heels, and smart leather bags.

On the street: Jackie O's legacy lives on in the legions of Greek women wearing linen trousers, nice tees, sweaters tied around the shoulders, and oversized shades. Both women and men "aim to look like a Gap ad," says Olga Merck Davidson, a Brandeis College professor who spends part of her year in Greece. Mr. Onassis has his own followers, who wear jeans and Ralph Lauren shirts, sleeves rolled to the elbow.

At a party: Clothes are secondary to jewelry, especially the chunky, dark-gold baubles and bangles worn by so many Greek women. If you can look past the sparkle, you'll find skirts, tailored to mid-thigh, under fitted jackets. Scentwise, women strive to smell like rosemary, not like roses: They'll only use organic products (such as the locally made Korres). Men wear dark pants and starched shirts.

P.S. No baseball caps, no Birkenstocks, no billowy fake-hippie skirts. Ever.

Next: What Not To Wear in Italy ›

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