Quotation by Alison Lurie

America has a history of political isolation and economic self-sufficiency; its citizens have tended to regard the rest of the world as a disaster area from which lucky or pushy people emigrate to the Promised Land. Alternatively, they think of other nations as mere showplaces for picturesque scenery, odd flora and fauna and quaint artifacts. The American tourist abroad therefore wears clothes suitable for a trip to a disaster area, or for a visit to a museum or zoo: comfortable, casual, brightly colored, relatively cheap: not calculated to arouse envy or pick up dirt. Britain, on the other hand, remains in imagination a world empire. Its citizens go abroad as representatives of the Top Nation, concerned to uphold its reputation and present a good example to lesser races. Britons therefore dress up rather than down for travel, whatever the local conditions.
Alison Lurie (b. 1926), U.S. author, educator. "Fashion and Place," The Language of Clothes, Random House (1981).
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