Why Zelensky dressed informally for the meeting with Biden | Popgen Tech
Volodymyr Zelensky’s relaxed attire sparked a debate after his historic meeting with Joe Biden yesterday.
Ukraine’s president is understood to have made his first trip outside his country since the start of the Russian invasion in February this year, flying to Washington on Wednesday to meet with the US president.
The 44-year-old Ukrainian leader arrived at the White House where he was greeted by President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden before heading to address Congress.
While his 20-minute speech was widely praised and was repeatedly interrupted by standing ovations, the clothes he wore sparked discussion.
In a post published on Vogue’s Instagram, Zelensky was pictured posing next to Biden and the first lady, and while the US president and his wife were dressed in formal attire, the president in a suit and the first lady in a dress with a button-down coat. The Ukrainian leader was dressed in an olive-green sweatshirt, cargo pants and stiff boots.
In the comments, many social media users questioned whether this outfit was completely appropriate for a meeting with the US president. But there is an important reason for President Zelensky’s choice of outfit.
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What did President Zelensky wear to the meeting with President Biden? Posing for photos alongside President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, the Ukrainian president wore an olive green jumper with the coat of arms of Ukraine, khaki trousers and chunky brown boots.
What did the president and first lady of the United States wear? In stark contrast to Zelensky’s casual ensemble, the president wore a sharp navy blue suit with a brown and yellow striped tie. His wife chose a formal pale blue coat dress with large buttons.
Zelensky’s clothes caused some criticism. Some felt it was too casual for the president of the country and not formal enough to meet the president of the United States.
“He’s coming to the White House on a presidential visit and he’s dressed like he’s going on a hike,” wrote one Instagram user.
“With all the money we give them, I’m sure he could afford to wear a suit. I don’t care what the situation is, and I don’t care the reason he has to wear this ugly outfit, you’re welcome to the White House Dress Appropriately.”
“Gosh, someone could at least put him on,” another user agreed.
“This man needs a suit,” another person commented.
Others supported Zelensky’s choice of clothing. “I really appreciate that he’s not dressed down,” one fan commented on Vogue’s Instagram post. “He’s showing that mentally he’s still with his country and he’s still in a military mindset. He is not here to fool or prove anything. He is only here to ask for help from his people. I respect him like hell.”
“Even in politics, fashion plays a big role with reason,” another user added. “Could he wear a suit? Of course. But he is in the US to talk about what is happening in his country, the clothes are appropriate for the whole situation. It’s good that he’s making a statement.”
“I love Zelensky and his cargo pants,” another simply wrote.
What is the meaning behind the outfit? Eschewing the more traditional business-casual attire we’re used to seeing at meetings of world leaders, Zelensky chooses to face all government officials and his men dressed alike in an olive green T-shirt or crew-neck jumper and cargo pants.
At the same time, Zelensky uses his clothes as a symbol of the conflict that his country is currently facing.
While his appearance is undeniably casual, he remains a constant and a visual representation of the nation he represents continuing a war with his people fighting for freedom.
The contrast with President Biden’s formal suit further reinforced the message.
The choice of clothing of the Ukrainian leader has previously caused criticism. Earlier this year, economist and stockbroker Peter Schiff questioned Zelenskiy’s decision to ditch formal clothing. “I understand that times are hard, but doesn’t the president of #Ukraine have a suit?” Schiff tweeted.
But its distinct look was defended by many, including experts in historical clothing.
“He wears clothes that connect him to the armed forces without looking militaristic and make it clear that he is focused on practical matters,” Rebecca Arnold, senior lecturer in the history of clothing at the Courteau Institute of Art in London, told The Independent. .
“The color is particularly important for this – the clothes connect with ordinary people, making him part of their struggle too, but the color and repetition of these clothes make them a uniform for his leadership and suggest that he is ready for action.”
President Zelensky’s signature look is becoming popular. It is believed that President Zelensky was wearing an M-TAC jumper for the historic meeting with Biden. M-TAC is an American clothing company that produces Zielensky’s olive green fleece sweatshirts.
At the beginning of this year, the jumper became so popular that the brand ran out of stock, promising to restock only after the Ukrainian “victory”.
Meanwhile, one of Zelensky’s iconic jumpers was sold at an auction in London for an incredible £90,000.
Zelensky is not the first leader to send a message with his outfits. During World War II, Winston Churchill was famously photographed wearing his black hat and cigar. Post as usual.
And when Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister, she changed her signature style to include power suits, potentially in an effort to appear more masculine in the male-dominated Houses of Parliament.
When will President Zelensky change his corporate style? Earlier this month, the Ukrainian president said the Financial Times that he would continue to wear his new outfit, ditching the suit, until the war was over.
Journalist Christopher Miller reported on Twitter that the Ukrainian leader personally spoke with him about the choice of equipment and growing a “military beard”.
“Zielensky told me that he will not go back to suit and tie and shave his beard until Ukraine wins the war,” Miller wrote about it on Twitter.
So it seems until Russia withdraws from Ukraine, Zelensky will continue to champion the iconic olive green color.