November 10, 2014 7:57 PM EST It’s not every day when the pageantry of leading the free world looks so specifically like an actual pageant. But indeed, when Presidents of the United States don the traditional garb of the country they’re visiting, just about anything can happen.
From the hilariously uncomfortable (Putin, Bush, ponchos) to the kind-of-awesome (Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter’s colorful threads in Ghana), here’s photographic evidence that sometimes diplomacy requires more wardrobe changes than a Cher concert.
During a State Visit, Queen Elizabeth II rides her horse in Windsor Great Park with President Ronald Reagan in the United Kingdom in 1982. Tim Graham—Getty Images Wearing traditional Indonesian batik clothing, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders wave during a photo session prior to their meeting in Bogor, Indonesia in 1994. Koji Sasahara—AP Ghana's President Jerry John Rawlings, left, President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, both wearing the Kente traditional Ghanaian dress, and Ghana's First Lady Nana Rawlings, right, greet a crowd of over 200,000 people assembled in Independence Square in Accra, Ghana in 1998. Greg Gibson—AP President Jimmy Carter, left, and Cuban President Fidel Castro wear a traditional guayabera in Havana on May 13, 2002. Gregory Bull—AP President George W. Bush, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, wear traditional Chilean ponchos prior to the leaders' group photo at the 2004 APEC Summit in Santiago, Chile in 2004. Itar-Tass/AP President George W. Bush speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, wearing Vietnamese 'ao dai' silk tunics, during the official photograph for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Hanoi. Vietnam in 2006. Jim Young—Reuters President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn are honored by the Dagumba people with a gift of traditional attire in Tingoli, Northern Ghana in 2007. Louise Gubb—The Carter Center President Barack Obama stands with China's Premier Wen Jiabao, center, as they wait to take a photo at the East Asia Summit Gala dinner in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali in Indonesia in 2011. Susan Walsh—AP Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, his wife, Peng Liyuan, and President Barack Obama walk before the ceremonial reception held for members of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing on Nov. 10, 2014. Michael Klimentyev—AFP/Getty Images More Must-Reads From TIME Meet the 2024 Women of the Year Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment In the Belly of MrBeast The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap How Long Should You Isolate With COVID-19? The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time