Good COP Bad COP: fashion


Today I’ll kick off the first in a short series of observations of everyday life at the COP, as seen through the eyes of an outsider, just so everyone at home can get a feel for it. I’ll start with one of the most visible (if superficial) topics – fashion.

COP seems to have a really heterogeneous style of dress. Men pretty much universally wear suits and collared shirts. You can spot some corduroy jackets and vests – those are the university professors. Jeans are only appropriate for certain NGO events.

Many women wear suits as well, but I’ve noticed that COP actually has its own style. To pull off the look, wear dress pants and a solid-colored shirt, with a handmade scarf (preferably from a developing country) tied around your next or carelessly draped over your shoulders. Maybe it’s because we’re in Poland, spending all day in a drafty convention center, but I’ve never seen so many scarves!

Having said that, there are certainly clothing variations, including several people wearing traditional or indigenous dress. There are also some scruffy students from youth delegations, although I have to say our Yale group is dressed to impress.

As for hair, I have no clue whether men do anything special or not since it always looks the same. Most women wear hair down, but not necessarily blow-dried, since

A. you were up so late at meetings that you wanted to squeeze in a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning and didn’t blow-dry, and

B. you didn’t want to blow-dry anyway since it would be frivolously adding to greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere that you will just have to figure out how to pull back out anyways [Ug].

Accessories. Men – messenger bags and computer bags. Women – I’ve seen a lot of jewelry handmade by indigenous people, likely originating from their home country, collected Adrianfrom many trips abroad, or many years in Peace Corps. I brought a backpack, but apparently that was a bad call, since it screams STUDENT and can be unwieldy during networking events, when you wouldn’t want to knock over a delegate’s wine.

The COP gave out cute biodegradable totes that we see a lot of. They contained buckwheat honey, wooden pens, and fleece gloves and scarves. It also included a 1 GB hard drive bracelet! I’ve never seen anything like it. Haven’t seen anyone one sporting one yet, but trendsetters, stay tuned. . .

Topping off the look are PDAs and lap tops almost universally worn on hands and laps. Everyone is looking at them obsessively. Concerned or harried facial expressions = optional.