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The return of ‘silly shirts’ to APEC

US Secretary of State John Kerry (C), wearing an "endek," a traditional Balinese woven fabric, poses upon arrival for a gala dinner hosted for the leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. (AFP/ DITA ALANGKARA/Getty Images) Secretary of State John Kerry, celebrates the return of the APEC silly shirts.  (AFP/ DITA ALANGKARA/Getty Images)

Secretary of State John Kerry debuted a new look Monday while attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali. It’s a far cry from his usual suit and tie — or even his more casual khakis. Kerry’s donning of the costume — a shirt made of colorful “endek,” a traditional Balinese woven fabric —  marks a return of what had been one of the highlights of the annual event: seeing world leaders dressed in goofy duds.

The tradition of concluding the meeting with a “silly shirts” photo began in 1993, when President Clinton presented attendees with matching leather bomber jackets. But President Obama nixed the costumes when the U.S. hosted the meeting in Hawaii in 2011. (So no aloha shirts or hula skirts, alas.)

Now, it looks like it’s back. Here’s a look at the “silly shirt” through the years:


Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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