Photograph by Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

No President Rocks APEC Fashion Like George W. Bush

When President Barack Obama on Monday strolled into a photo op wearing a purple silk shirt at this year's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in China, he was preserving one of the silliest traditions in global diplomacy. In 1993, Bill Clinton kicked it off for giving a bomber jacket to each world leader in attendance. George W. Bush embraced the tradition with open arms, proudly modeling the host nation's fashion every year. Obama, sadly, has been more reticent, eschewing the usually hilarious in-costume group photo for boring old suits in 2011. Thankfully, the costumes returned for the conference in Indonesia last year, and Secretary of State John Kerry was a good sport. Here's a look back at some of the ensembles from over the years.

  1. China, 2014
    Photograph by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
    114

    China, 2014

    Obama gritted his teeth and joined in on the fun this year. But he should be having a lot more fun than this.
  2. Indonesia, 2013
    Photograph by Dita Alangkara/AFP/Getty Images
    214

    Indonesia, 2013

    In hindsight, we know why Obama sent Secretary of State John Kerry in his stead: Johns have more fun.
  3. Singapore 2009
    Photograph by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
    314

    Singapore 2009

    For his first APEC, Obama went with the flow in Singapore, barely.
  4. Peru, 2008
    Photograph by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
    414

    Peru, 2008

    At his very last APEC, Bush went out in style, imbuing the Peruvian poncho with his confident swagger.
  5. Australia, 2007
    Photograph by Will Burgess-Pool/Getty Images
    514

    Australia, 2007

    This one didn't even require a trip to the Secret Service scanned changing room. He just threw on this Australian riding jacket and started stomping towards the cameras.
  6. Vietnam, 2006
    Photograph by Jonathan Drake/Bloomberg
    614

    Vietnam, 2006

    This one is the best by far—if you left for another site right now we'd completely understand. You'd also regret it because George W. Bush in a poncho is coming up very soon.
  7. South Korea, 2005
    Photograph by Paul J. Richards /AFP/Getty Images
    714

    South Korea, 2005

    What is South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun smelling here? Does Bush want to smell it, too? Even when he's not posing, our 43rd president is the best at this game.
  8. Chile, 2004
    Photograph by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images
    814

    Chile, 2004

    Did Bush and Putin very nearly bring the humble poncho back in 2004? No, but we all thought about buying one just for a second after seeing this photo.
  9. Thailand, 2003
    Photograph by Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images
    914

    Thailand, 2003

    Things weren't going so well for Bush in 2003, though that didn't stop him from this beautiful moment.
  10. Mexico, 2002
    Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
    1014

    Mexico, 2002

    The R. Kelly was off the charts in 2002. In a good way.
  11. China, 2001
    Photograph by Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty Images
    1114

    China, 2001

    The beginning of a beautiful eight years of APEC pictures.
  12. British Columbia, Canada, 1997
    Photograph by Win McNamee/AFP/Getty Images
    1214

    British Columbia, Canada, 1997

    Bomber jackets have actually made two appearances at APEC—deservingly so. This was the second.
  13. Indonesia, 1994
    Photograph by Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images
    1314

    Indonesia, 1994

    In Indonesia, leaders made many advancements, including how to mix patterns without clashing.
  14. Washington State, 1993
    Photograph by J. David Ake/AFP/Getty Images
    1414

    Washington State, 1993

    What started it all: Clinton's bomber jacket in Washington.